September field visits assess progress of WATER SUM pilot projects
In late 2016, as part of planning activities carried out under the WATER SUM project’s WaSe component, the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC) provided grants to assist the local-level implementation of identified priority activities aimed at improving local water security and sustainable development planning in targeted communities in Jordan and Tunisia.
Following the successful development of local water security action plans (LWSAPs) by local planning teams, and their endorsement by relevant authorities, eight pilot project proposals were approved for the available grants. The total amount available was EUR 360,000 (approx. EUR 45,000 per partner municipality/delegation), with at least 50 percent of total project costs covered through the contribution of in-kind support.
Implementation of the successful pilot project proposals began in early 2017 in four municipalities in Jordan (Ajloun, Al-Karak, Al Salt, Jerash) and four delegations in Tunisia (Bir Mcherga, Matmata, Nefza, Sidi Ali Ben Aoun). In September, WATER SUM project team members made field visits to each of the eight pilot sites to assess the progress of project implementation. This article summarises the findings of field visits in Tunisia.
Work on the project began on August 25, following the completion of an extremely long and complicated procedure to secure a subcontracted construction company.
The reservoir rehabilitation work consists of two main steps: first, the removal of sediment (in one case up to 1.2 metres deep); and, second, coating the inside surface. Other work includes cleaning the channels through which the water enters the reservoir. Several groups of workers are currently involved in the latter task to speed up the process. At the time of the field visit, work on five reservoirs was near completion, while the cleaning of another four reservoirs is now underway. According to estimates, work on all 40 reservoirs will be finalised in the third week of October.
Work to establish legal water supply connections was finalised on September 15. The costs of establishing 700 connections will be covered by the CRDA, while costs for 472 of these will be covered through the pilot project. Of those 472, 100 have already been built, while 60 of them are already near their respective houses.
New pipe, visible nearby the main road, is set to be laid down. This pipe network is part of the CRDA contribution.
The field work comprises the rehabilitation of reservoirs for two schools and the construction of five reservoirs for local families. As of September 7, restoration of two reservoirs to be used by schools was to be finalised by September 15.
Rainwater will be used to irrigate the garden behind the school. The garden itself has a dual purpose: it provides income for the school, and serves to continue the local tradition of engaging pupils in agricultural work.
Works on reservoirs for local families was scheduled for completion by the end of September—i.e. within the given deadline. All the structural work is finished, and the purchase of needed equipment is now pending approval from the CRDA.
A 60-day work period was started on August 25, 2017. All rough construction works were to be finished in September, with finishing work to be continued in October. As of September 7, the five reservoirs to be constructed were at different stages of completion, but excavations and foundations had been completed at all five sites. Facing a realistic deadline of October 25 for completing the work, the subcontractor pledged to try as hard as possible to finish by October 15.