Ruzaiqa and Al-Ghasham Water Project
Ruzaiqa and Al-Ghasham Water Project opens broader horizons for water projects in Yemen
The Governorate of Al-Baidha is the poorest governorate in terms of water due to its non-porous rocks that prevent water from penetrating into underground. But this property has made the area suitable for the establishment of water barriers for catchment . Several agencies implemented successful barriers but the people kept dreaming about having water into their houses for a long time because the barriers were far away and they required pumps to lift water up to their higher-level villages.
In 2008, the SFD developed a policy on mechanized water projects (using machines for pumping and distribution), thus opening the door to Dhamar branch to contribute to improving water service in Al-Baidha having advantage of barriers. It established a number of projects that inspired specialists and have been a source of learning. Dhamar branch implemented the pilot Sanitation Al-Khuf and Al-Haikal Project that has used the anaerobic reactors technique in the treatment of sewage. For this new experience, the Water Unit organized a field visit for all branch managers and water officers to the projects of Ruzaiqa Al Ghasham Water Project (Al-Malajim district) and Al-Khuf and Al-Haikal Sanitation Project (Dhi Naem district).
This box mainly focuses on the Ruzaiqa Al Ghasham Water Project, which has been one of the SFD modern and unique projects that reflects SFD open policy towards sincere local initiatives. It has been a model project so that the visiting team was keen to learn from it and its mechanism and operation have become worth evaluation. The visiting team focused to study how their branches can build on it in their future projects.
The project consists of surface well beyond the Al-Ghasham dam and a pump that lifts water from the well to a tower tank on a higher mountain, pipes downhill to the villages, connections for household and a computer-aided control unit for service management and consumption billing, in addition to a distribution network to all households of villages in Al-Ghasham sub-district (6,300 people) down the mountain.
The project is unique because of being the second SFD project to have provided improved water from a surface well directly fed from a small dam and because its operation mechanism is electronically based that only requires an SMS from mobile phone of the Head of the Operation Committee Mr. "Nasser Bahran," sole owner of this innovation. Nasser, a villager development activist, stated that he likes electrical and electronic engineering and he has had a number of useful innovations waiting to be harnessed for the development of the society similarly like what the SFD did with his innovation. Nasser felt happy to see the SFD visiting officers cheered with joy and surprise when he sent an SMS from his house and they saw the valve of the tower tank opens automatically by itself and followed by the operation of the pump moving water from the well to the tank. Then, they saw the pump turned off and the valve closed when the tank was full after a similar SMS from Nasser. The team seemed amazed the most when Nasser told them that he could do these processes even if he was in Sana'a or Aden or anywhere in Yemen.
In this regard, the Head of Water and Environment Unit said that this simple technique can reduce the waste of water in the event of pipe refraction or if the operator has forgotten the valve open and the tank overflowed, because Nasser has invented a level indicator inside the tank, so the villagers and the operator can monitor water level as he is in his house. The whole system saves the operator's effort of going to that remote tank to meet the villages' need of water even at midnight.
The most important development in this regard is that the learning process of this project has started to become fruitful; the Rural Water Authority was briefed on this project and it started to establish similar water wells for drinking in a number of Al-Baidha areas. The SFD in contribution with the National Water and Sanitation Organization of Al-Baidha implemented a similar project in Al-Diyah and Al-Khaw'ah to utilize dam water to provide with improved drinking water for the districts of Al Hassan, Al-Sadah and Dhahibah having a population of more than 8,800 people.