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Syria crisis: Providing water to every household in Za’atari camp

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Oxfam is the lead agency on the design of the new water network inside Za’atari camp which will provide refugees in with more equitable access to adequate amounts of good quality water by establishing connections at the household level.

Once the network is completed and the household connections are installed, the new water network will benefit every resident in the camp at 35 liters per person per day, which is currently about 85,000 individuals. The water network will have the capacity to reach 100,000 residents, leaving some room for natural growth.

Refugees in Za’atari will continue to receive water through trucking only until the water network is completed. Once the water network is built, the need for water trucking will be eliminated. This method is expensive and much water is lost during delivery, and can be impacted by external factors. The water network will save agencies money in the long run, allow for better control over the quality and quantity of the water, and facilitate a more reliable source for camp residents.

Andrew Boscoe, Oxfam's program manager in Za'atari, explained: "Until refugees are able to safely return to Syria, they must have access to quality basic services such as water. Oxfam has been working with other agencies to set up tanks and deliver water to thousands of Za'atari residents in this water scarce area. Thanks to the new network, we will ensure that refugees have access to clean and safe water in an efficient and cost effective way, that it also respectful of Jordan’s environment."

During Phase 1, Oxfam will be working on transmitting water from bore holes to tanks in each camp district. During Phase 2, Oxfam will work on establishing connections from district level storage tanks straight to households.

The first phase will be completed by September 2015. We are aiming to have the completed water network built by March 2016.

Oxfam has reached more than 1.5 million people affected by the Syria crisis.

Agencies involved have been consulting regularly with the Government of Jordan and relevant ministries and departments to design a system that best meets the needs of the camp and takes into consideration the country’s limited water resources.

The long term plan is to handover the management of the water network to the Government of Jordan. Za’atari camp has become the fourth biggest city in Jordan and part of the Mafraq governorate.

Oxfam is exploring ways of involving the community volunteers to increase ownership and to trim some of the operating and monitoring expenditure costs. The water network is being funded by UNICEF.