Iraq is located in West Asia, the Republic of Iraq has its capital in Baghdad and two official languages, Arabic and Kurdish. The country is a federal parliamentary republic consisting of 19 governorates and one autonomous region (Kurdistan Region of Iraq – KRI). According to WHO/UNICEF, 70% of the population does not have access to safely managed sanitation.
Through its office in Erbil, BORDA has been working in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) since 2014. The KRI is located in northern Iraq and comprises the three governorates of Erbil (Arbil), Sulaymaniyah, and Dohuk. It is traversed by the Sirwan River and the Tigris and its tributaries, the Great Zab and the Little Zab. The Kurdistan region covers an area of 40,642 square kilometers and has a population of 5.3 million (KRG 2016). The climate in the KRI is semi-arid, characterized by hot summers and moderately cold winters.
The KRI has developed rapidly during the last decade, compared to other parts of Iraq. Still, only 22 percent of its urban areas have access to the central water network for more than 10 hours per day, and sewerage management in the region has not kept pace with water provision (Ministry of Planning 2013). The majority of households in the KRI rely on cesspools to manage their blackwater. The sludge is collected by vacuum trucks and discharged untreated in remote areas outside the cities. The water and sanitation sector is under additional pressure as a result of the financial crisis and the influx of internal displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees.
According to the 2014 UN Habitat report, 83% of wastewater in Iraq is not sufficiently treated, leading to very serious environmental problems that put citizens’ health at risk and act as an obstacle to achieving sustainable development. In partnership with local institutions, BORDA develops and implements decentralized sanitation solutions for the public and private sectors using simple yet reliable and robust technologies.
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Laura Roig Senge