Northern Iraq: clean drinking water for refugees

14.06.2017 – Refugees and host communities now have access to clean drinking water as wells and drinking water supply systems are built or upgraded.


Since 2014, around 250,000 Syrian refugees and more than a million internally displaced persons have sought refuge in the autonomous region of Kurdistan, almost half of them in Dohuk Province. The influx of so many people is posing major challenges for the region. For example, the supply of drinking water has deteriorated markedly, and this is affecting not only the host communities but also the refugees now living in the area.

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) is supporting the local water authority in securing the medium- and long-term supply of drinking water in the region. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), it is, for example, building wells, repairing or replacing water pumps and dilapidated water tanks, and improving water quality. This work is being carried out in cooperation with the project’s partners, the Danish Refugee Council and World Vision International.

In the district of Faida, GIZ is working with the Kurdish water authority to establish a new drinking water supply system. More than 170,000 individuals living in camps and host communities have already benefited from access to clean drinking water. Technicians, operations staff and management from the authority are being given the necessary training so that they can run and service the plant themselves in future. In the city of Zakho, also in Dohuk Province, a drinking water treatment plant is being upgraded, benefiting 225,000 local people so far. Taken together, these measures are supporting almost one million people in the region.

However, providing clean drinking water is only one of the challenges in Northern Iraq. For details of further measures being taken by GIZ to support refugees and host communities, see ‘Northern Iraq: A life after displacement’.