SNAPSHOT: Providing safe access to water

In the village of Alarrah, a pond has claimed the lives of several women and children and has been the cause of tremendous grief in the community.

In the village of Alarrah in the northwest of Amran, Yemen, people rely on agricultural production to make a living. They grow lentils, barley, beans, fenugreek, and peas. Their main source of water, however, is an old rain water pond that fills up over the summer months. They use the water during the winter for farm lands, cleaning and washing, and for their livestock; they must walk long distances to collect potable water.

The pond has claimed the lives of several women and children and has been the cause of tremendous grief in the village. There were no mesh panels to protect women and children from tripping and falling into the pond, nor a platform from which to collect the water. People climbed down to the pond on slippery, rough paths to fill their water cans. And recently, a pregnant woman who was recently collecting water from the pond fell in and drowned.

Making a difference and ending needless tragedy

UNDP and partners want to change these needless and tragic events from happening, allowing access to safe and clean water for vulnerable households and communities. In partnership with the World Bank – through the Yemen Emergency Crisis Response Project (YECRP) – UNDP has worked locally with the Public Works Project (PWP) to build hundreds of water reservoirs across Yemen, including Alarrah’s. 

When PWP first approached the villagers about building a filtered rainwater harvesting reservoir next to the old pond, they expressed their concern and fear as it may pose an additional risk to the women and children. PWP described the added safety measures such as a fence and mesh to prevent people from falling into the well, as well as water distribution tabs for people to safely collect water. Additionally, PWP built a safety fence around the old pond and installed a lift to access the water. 

PWP’s new rainwater reservoir and the changes to the old pond have made a huge impact within the small community.

UN entities involved in this initiative
United Nations Development Programme