Remote communities are to receive sustainable access to clean drinking water through Islamic Relief’s latest project in drought-affected Baluchistan, Pakistan.

In Baluchistan, many small villages lack basic utilities, including water infrastructure. Women and children typically shoulder the burden of water collection, facing long treks to often contaminated water sources. The time-consuming and hazardous journey jeopardises their health and ability to earn money or go to school, and the dirty water makes families vulnerable to disease.

In addition, over the last two decades, the arid region has been particularly prone to drought. This is undermining the means by which local people can earn a living – as they struggle to raise livestock and grow crops. In the districts of Chagai and Noshki, drought has forced families to migrate in order to access water for livestock – a major source of income.

Water for Chagai and Noshki

Islamic Relief is pioneering sustainable water solutions in the region. Our latest project is seeing five solar powered water pumps installed in the Dhaak and Anambostan union councils of Noshki district. The pumps will not only provide local sources of safe drinking water for human use but open troughs for easy access for livestock drinking purpose will be built adjacent to these as well.

Communities gain a sense of ownership over the new facilities, thanks to our work to involve them in the project. Community organisations will be set up to empower local people to operate and maintain the new facilities, supported by comprehensive training designed to ensure communities have lasting access to clean water. The organisations will also promote key health messages that improve the long-term wellbeing of the communities.

Over 2,300 people will benefit from the eight-month scheme, which is funded by Islamic Relief Canada and is expected to complete this summer.

Communities elsewhere, where pumps have been installed, are already reporting wider benefits arising from better access to safe water. Incidents of waterborne diseases are said to have decreased, and household hygiene is reported to have improved as a result.

Sustainable solutions

Solar water pumps are being delivered by Islamic Relief as an environmentally-friendly, cost-effective and sustainable way to provide remote communities with clean water.

We installed our first solar pump in 2005, with the support of National University of Science and Technology, Islamabad. More than 250 people continue to benefit from the facility, and six more pumps were later installed with funding from the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund.

We went on to deliver 20 of the pumps in communities across Chaghi and Noshki, in a project that was funded by the British government. Around 4,500 people are benefitting.

In total, 15,100 people are already directly benefitting from our sustainable schemes. Current projects include the installation of 46 solar pumps, which will improve access to water for a further 10,350 local people. We plan to install dozens more across the districts in future.

In addition, since 2000, we have installed over 150 windmills and provided solar power for poor families and public buildings in some of the area’s most remote communities.