Kyrgyzstan: 150 thousand people drink water from ditches

In Batken oblast in southern Kyrgyzstan there is a village in Beshkent, 12 thousand of inhabitants drink water from irrigation canal is a ditch. The water in the canals is often contaminated with waste products, animals, and debris and garbage.

The chief physician Beshkent rural hospitals Abid Madalieva often have to treat those suffering from hepatitis, infections of the gastrointestinal tract and brucellosis, which is transmitted from infected animals to people through contaminated water. The level of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract in the village is twice the average for the country.

According to madaliyeva, although newborn vaccinations, he registers every month about 20 cases of hepatitis. The problem caused by contaminated water diseases “is particularly acute in the fall when deciduous foliage in the ditches causes the development of bacteria,” he said.

The problem of shortage of clean drinking water is acute in hundreds of villages across Kyrgyzstan. In the country every year 30 thousand cases of acute intestinal infections, 24% of which are associated with infestation. Up to 86% of the cases of fever occur in villages with no access to clean drinking water. Particularly difficult situation in the Batken region, located on the border with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

“If we had a centralized system and the water treatment plant, we could purify the water with chlorine, and incidence, of course, would be reduced,” — said Madaliev.

Kyrgyzstan is rich in glaciers, lakes and rivers. However, about 150 thousand people living in 390 villages throughout the country, we have to drink water from ditches, since in the areas of water treatment plants either do not exist or they work intermittently. In many rural areas built in Soviet times, the water purification infrastructure has fallen apart.

To create a new infrastructure, the locals have to find the money yourself. According to the rules, to receive assistance from the world Bank, UNDP and other investors, people first need to gather the initial capital from their own funds.

According to Vladimir Grebnev, coordinator of the UNDP programme “environment Protection for sustainable development” in Kyrgyzstan, it is in the collection of initial capital and usually have difficulty.

Kanybek Alimbekov, gidroinzhener and politician of Beshkent, leads a group of people trying to provide clean water to residents of the village. Over the last 10 years rural authorities managed to save about 12 thousand dollars (or 5% of total estimated costs) for the laying of a 20 kilometre pipeline and the construction of a water treatment plant. But due to rising prices and other economic factors the project has stalled.

Grebnev said that the requirement to collect funds from local residents is difficult. According to him, local authorities are able to contribute, but in a poor country like Kyrgyzstan, the residents are not able to Finance such infrastructure projects.

“In villages with a population of 5 thousand people, the water infrastructure would cost 200 thousand dollars”, — explained the ridge.