Following ISIS' defeat, water pumping stations have finally become active in the town of al-Basira in the eastern province of Deir ez-Zour.
Although life has slowly returned to Deir ez-Zour since ISIS militants were expelled from the province, residents in remote towns and villages still face difficulties on a daily basis. The most pressing concern for these people is the severe lack of water, especially in the town of al-Basira. The lack of safe and clean water not only threatens lives as cases of dehydration and waterborne diseases rise, but it has also damaged the province’s agricultural sector.
A large part of the problem arose as the water pumping and irrigation stations in the town of al-Basira where the Khabur and Euphrates Rivers meet, went offline. This station was responsible for providing water for nearly all the villages northwards, all the way to the town of Suwar.
It went offline due to a number of factors including lack of proper maintenance as a result of the conflict as well as constant power outages. The lack of fuel prevents the generators from working throughout the day. Residents say that the water stations are only in operation for 4 hours during the day due to the power shortages.
The breakdown of the irrigation station had an adverse impact on the villages upriver, many of whom rely on agriculture to sustain themselves. The lack of water has left the farmers in these villages unable to work their land.
The lack of water from the pumping station forced residents in Deir ez-Zour to rely on water coming in from trucks. As a result, water has become expensive for rural communities, adding to the already overbearing financial pressures.
However, despite these issues, the defeat of ISIS in many parts of the Deir ez-Zour Province and the gradual improvements to security conditions have allowed Syrians to gradually return to their homes and start rebuilding their lives.
In the town of al-Basira, residents have been working hard to get the water station back online. As a result of these efforts, pumping station is back online, though at a limited capacity, and is providing water for communities in the town as well as districts east and west of the Khabur River. The pumping station operates for approximately 8 hours a day now.