Control over water and wastewater

Project description

Title: Stabilisation of Water Supply and Sanitation Services for Refugees, Internally Displaced Persons and Host Communities in Dohuk Governorate, North-Iraq
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Iraq
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Planning, Kurdistan Region
Overall term: 2016 to 2021

Verbesserte Wasserversorgung in Faida


Approximately 1.3 million people live in Dohuk Province in the autonomous region of Kurdistan. Since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis and the advance of the terrorist organisation Islamic State in 2014, more than one million internally displaced persons and around 250,000 Syrian refugees have sought refuge in this region, and almost half of them in Dohuk Province. The influx of so many people has led to a dramatic deterioration in the water supply and sanitation services.

The authorities in Dohuk Province do not have sufficient internal capacity to build the necessary infrastructure. In addition, the continuing economic crisis means that the government does not have the money to purchase replacement parts or water treatment chemicals.


The water supply in Dohuk Province is stabilised and refugees, internally displaced persons and the population in the host communities have access to clean drinking water.


In collaboration with the water authority, the project team has identified particularly urgent measures that will ensure a short-term improvement in the water supply and sanitation services for refugees and internally displaced persons in the camps and for residents in the host communities. These include building and repairing wells, repairing water pumps, putting in place and repairing deep water tanks, and providing replacement parts and chemicals to improve water quality. These measures are being carried out in cooperation with national and international non-governmental organisations.

Examining water samples in Kharabdeen laboratory.

A new water supply system is being put in place in the sub-district of Faida to safeguard the supply of drinking water over the medium and long term. On the basis of a feasibility study, the team took joint decisions with its Kurdish partners on the best solutions going forward. Once the new facility is in operation, it will supply around 200,000 people with clean drinking water.  

Particularly vulnerable refugees and internally displaced persons are employed in the construction work. These cash-for-work measures thereby provide them with a temporary income.

To ensure long-term use of the new drinking water system, the entire process was planned in cooperation with the Kurdish water authority, which will in future be responsible for operating and maintaining the facility. Technical staff, operating staff and managers are receiving the necessary training so that they can run and service the facility effectively.

The Kurdish water authority is also working with the project team on devising a water strategy that builds on the positive experiences of other countries in the region. In the long term this will serve to reform the water sector, which up until now has been inefficient and unstructured.

To make people aware of the drastic shortage of water, campaigns are being organised to provide information about water and offer tips on how to use it sparingly.


These measures are providing immediate help to the local people, giving them improved access to drinking water and sanitation. In collaboration with numerous partners, the project has built new wells, repaired or replaced water pumps and decrepit water tanks, renovated and extended water networks, renovated and separated sewage systems, and maintained water and sanitation systems. Water quality has been improved thanks to the chemicals provided. This is tested regularly in collaboration the environmental authorities in Dohuk.

In Zakho district, filters have been cleaned and repaired to make an old water treatment plant operational again. The chlorination plant has also been replaced to ensure that the inhabitants have a supply of clean drinking water.

The municipalities in Erbil and Dohuk have been provided with water and wastewater vehicles for rapid, flexible use. As an emergency measure, the project has installed 600 water tanks for the population displaced from Mosul.

In total, these measures have stabilised the supply of drinking water in the region and improved access to sanitation for more than 1.5 million people.

Additional information