, July 7, 2012

Thirsty Nimruz Residents Call for More Water

The capital city of Afghanistan's south-western Nimruz province is struggling to supply its residents with adequate drinking water, despite the plentiful Helmand River running through the region.

The residents of the capital, Zaranj, have called on the provincial government to address the problem but the local officials say it is a problem at the central government level.

Zaranj residents complained to TOLOnews that despite billions of dollars flowing to the government in development aid, it has failed to provide the basic facilities to the 170,000-person province.

Drinking water in Zaranj is only accessible from a pipeline which flows for two hours a day. The residents must line up to collect the water, but sometimes it runs out before everyone is supplied, according to residents.

"We asked the government to pay attention to our problem as most of us don't have access to drinking water," one resident said.

"I came here at 2:00 AM, but sometimes we don't get water at all. The officials are travelling in modern vehicles but we don't even have drinking water," he added.

Another complained that much of the water from the river was being directed through pipelines to Iran, which lies across the border to the west of Nimruz.

However, the local officials blamed the central government for not paying enough attention to the province, saying that a project for supplying drinking water began three years ago but they still remain pessimistic it will provide adequate supply once complete.

"Those who were meant to pay attention were careless about the drinking water project in Nimruz which has taken three years [already]. People have looked at this issue many times," deputy provincial governor Haji Abdul Qasem Khedri told TOLOnews.

He said the provincial council members have also raised their concerns regarding this problem saying that if it is not resolved soon, they will complain to the Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

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