Improving Water Services in Baghdad
ISTIQLAL, Baghdad – It was challenging enough to provide potable water to all 15,000 residents of the Sheikh Sa’ad neighborhood in Baghdad’s Istiqlal district. Making matters worse, for as long as anyone could remember, the single water production unit serving these residents had functioned at a fraction of its capacity—generating just 13,000 gallons per hour instead of the 50,000 gallons per hour it was designed to handle. Residents grew accustomed to the scarcity, traveling up to nine miles to collect water for their families in between visits from the municipality’s distribution truck. But this summer, resilience began to give way to crisis as the population and temperatures climbed to unbearable levels.
Before, during, and after images of the ICAP-supported project to rehabilitate a water production unit in the Sheikh Sa’ad neighborhood of Baghdad’s Istiqlal district.
Enter the neighborhood’s community action group, the volunteer association that, like more than 100 others in Baghdad, has been supported by the Iraq Community Action Program (ICAP). ICAP has trained community action group members to identify their priorities and design solutions that work, both to address citizens’ needs and bridge the gap between them and their local government representatives.
In Sheikh Sa’ad, the community action group accomplished what no other group had: it secured funding to rehabilitate the water production unit. With a grant and technical support from ICAP, the community now benefits from a unit running at full capacity—the first step to improving water service for the long term.
Such high-impact projects, driven by real need and facilitated by ICAP and its partners, have been a hallmark of the program since its inception in 2003. In the last three years alone, more than 800 such projects have been contracted or completed in Baghdad.
The Iraq Community Action Program is implemented in Baghdad by IRD with funding from USAID.