Clean and accessible water for more than 500 families - EU, CENN and self-government for water safety in rural areas
Clean drinking water in villages
The village of Dilikauri, located in the Upper Imereti region, was without drinking water for years. The locals used carts, horses and vehicles to bring bottles of potable water from other villages.
“The locals faced severe difficulties especially in summer – they did not have even a drop of water. Frequently they headed to the town of Zestaponi, located 10km away to stock the water supply,’’ Shota Gaprindashvili, head of the association “Union of Chiatura People”, tells us.
He explains that in the village without surface water and springs it is not easy to gain drinkable water.
Drinkable water problem in Dilikauri
Davit Nioradze, Head of Zestaponi Municipality City Hall Administration, says that the water supply system was installed in Dilikauri earlier, but operated only several months and afterwards stopped working. A well was dug, refurbishment was begun, but due to inadequate resources they were forced to stop.
“With Shota Gaprindashvili’s help, we started collaborating with CENN. We held a meeting, exchanged information, and decided help solve the Dilikauri water supply problem together,” Davit Nioradze says.
CENN is conducting the Climate Project of Georgia with EU support in Imereti, in collaboration with the “Union of Chiatura People,” and Shota Gaprindashvili is a CENN regional coordinator.
In Shota’s words, CENN hired a group of experts to resolve the water problem in the village. The climate action group members and even city hall officials took part in the process.
It was specified that for the absence of surface water, it was only possible to gain water from the underground flows in Dilikauri. The work began in later spring.
“The drilling process happened to be too difficult. A rock was drilled in the depth of about 160 meters. The equipment stopped functioning several times, but with joint efforts, we did everything and succeeded in providing the village with water in summer,’’ Shota Gaprindashvili says.
Approximately 300 people live in Dilikauri, but as the people from its adjacent villages (Rkvia, Sakara, Boslevi, Beglevi) go to the Dilikauri school, kindergarten, ambulatory and other institutions, more than 500 people consume the drinkable water.
Caring for water safety in the backdrop of climate change
With EU financial support, CENN has been overseeing the Climate Program of Georgia (GEO-CAP) for two years now. The project aims to promote civil involvement in the development and implementation of climate change policy.
The Climate Program of Georgia is being carried out in ten municipalities of the regions of Kakheti, Imereti, Guria and Racha-Lechkhumi, in collaboration with local organizations KRDF, ACU, YPU and RLS-ADA.
One of the main goals of the program is to increase regional endurance to climate change and to improve water safety.
So, in collaboration with local government administrations, CENN conducted the pilot projects in four Georgian regions to install and repair the water supply systems in the villages.
Water in Samtisi, Mtispiri and Duisi villages
The village of Samtisi, located in Oni Municipality, also faced a drinking water problem for years.
Irina Gobejishvili, head of the Oni City Hall Economic Department, tells us that several parts of the village were partially provided with water, while others were without it: “We failed to repair the system once and for all. It functioned for a while. Afterwards it stopped functioning and required repair. We constantly faced this problem.”
According to her, the locals repeatedly made appeals to City Hall for this problem to be solved.
With the mediation of Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti Agro-Tourism Development Association, CENN and Oni City Hall agreed on water system rehabilitation in Samtisi as part of the pilot project.
Soso Getsadze, Association head and local project coordinator, tells us that for the restoration of the damaged system, it was necessary to install several water collectors to help the water flow reach to the village.
Through the project and local government administration’s fruitful cooperation, the water supply problem was also resolved in the village of Samtisi, whose population is now provided with water on a daily basis.
Unlike Dilikauri and Samtisi, the residents of Duisi (Akhmeta Municipality) and Mtispiri (Ozurgeti Municipality) were also provided with water, but the process was not smooth and the water not clean. Severe weather conditions create severe problems in both villages.
“The main construction for providing us with water is located on the bank of the river Alazani. When the water level started increasing in the river after the rain, the main construction was flooded. The area was unfenced. So the cattle often entered and polluted drinking water,” Akhmeta Deputy Mayor Vazha Naskidashvili says.
The main construction supplying three villages – Mtispiri, Askana and Mziani – with water was worn-out in Ozurgeti Municipality:
“The villages were provided with water, but polluted during the rain. No cleaning system functioned properly, so the waste was stuck inside the system. The water volume was also lost, as the main construction was very old and incorrectly installed,” Tamo Oniani, regional coordinator from the “Young Teachers’ Union”, tells us.
With EU and CENN assistance, the main water supplying construction was renovated and rehabilitated in Samtisi. In the village of Duisi, a fence was installed around the main construction, while the area around the wells was lain with clay to prevent surface waters from entering the well.
The regional coordinators of the Climate Project of Georgia tell us that with CENN support, various projects were carried out to resolve the water problem in the villages in previous years. Local government officials note that they have had a fruitful experience of cooperation with NGOs:
“We carry out many social and infrastructural projects with NGOs. We are financially supported and the people also see the results. We are grateful,” Akhmeta Deputy Mayor Vazha Naskidashvili says.
Caring for water safety while combating climate change
Climate change is one of the most important challenges across the world which the entire global population is feeling.
Shota Gaprindashvili is concerned that climate change has already had a severe impact on water resources and says it is happening faster than forecast 15-20 years ago:
“In our region there was not even a drop of water this summer. So it influenced the harvest — we had neither vegetables nore grapes. Some plants withered. The people of Chiatura faced severe difficulties.”
One of the sustainable development goals is to overcome climate change. Sustainable water management represents an important step in climate change mitigation.
“Surface and ground water is decreasing more and more because of climate change. If we do nothing, we will face a serious problem,” Shota concludes.
Clean drinking water in villages