Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Worms in the Water

In this report, Malika Aidarova looked at how a village survives without a supply of clean drinking water.
Boroldoy, a village in Kemin district in the northeast of Kyrgyzstan, has gone three years without a fresh water supply. There is a well nearby, but there is no money to pay for a pumping and supply system.

Residents are forced to draw unpurified water from a canal that would normally be deemed fit only for livestock.

“If you take a good look at the sediment you can see enormous disgusting worms,” said resident Anara Muratova. Although she boils the water, she says that “the children are nauseous, and the doctors say it’s the worms”.

Government water department officials say the villagers themselves are to blame for their problems. Water supply networks have undergone major refurbishment work under the Taza Suu (Clean Water) programme funded by the Asian Development Bank. But the donors made it a condition that each local community that benefited should pay a small contribution to the costs. Boroldoy's village council chose not to do so, so the community was left out of the programme.

The new village head has promised that all the water supply pipes will be repaired and cleaned. The village now plans to apply to take part in the next phase of the Taza Suu programme.

For a report on the Taza Suu project, see Kyrgyz Clean Water Project Under Scrutiny, RCA No. 546, 06-Jun-08.)

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