SEATTLE — The quality of water sources and access to them in Tajikistan is dubious at best. This problem is largely concentrated in rural regions, where access to water supply systems is as low as 45.2 percent; for context, urban area’s access is closer to 94.1 percent. Since this number is around 59.2 percent nationally, a significant amount of Tajiks do not have access to a reliable source of clean water. Generally, they obtain their drinking supply via ditches, creeks, canals, springs and wells, which have the potential to be extremely unhygienic and unsanitary.
Water Supply, Quality and Access
These problems are further exacerbated by a power supply that can best be described as poor and unstable. In other words, the developmental problems plaguing Tajikistan are detrimental in general to the water supply infrastructure. Sanitation services that might alleviate problems regarding the water supply are also extremely limited. Nationally, access to such resources is at about 15 percent — about 44 percent in urban areas and 3 percent in rural areas and villages. Significant investment is needed in order to repair a failing infrastructure that is deleterious to the nation’s water supply.
That being said, there have recently been numerous improvements to the systems that help alleviate the bleak picture of the water quality situation in Tajikistan. Namely, a government-sanctioned agency has been established that is meant to deal with these problems. In addition, the Water Users Association has been organized, and a more cohesive effort to provide a platform for cooperation between members who are responsible for water quality and usage as well as sanitation has been made. All these actions point to the notion that water quality in Tajikistan may very well improve in the upcoming years.
The work, however, is far from over. According to an assessment conducted by the World Health Organization, water quality in Tajikistan is especially poor for health facilities. Only 37 percent of the facilities assessed had an adequate water supply. This lack of water quality and poor supply, especially in health facilities where patients are being treated, increases the chances of the outbreak of diseases and infections.
A Bright Future
However, on a more positive note, Tajikistan adopted the PARMA Declaration, which means that the nation has committed itself to making the improvement of public health and consequently, water quality, a regional priority; this motion will, of course, be a benefit to its citizens.
The problems surrounding the quality of water in Tajikistan, both in its urban and rural areas, are serious and in need of immediate attention. Fixing the water issues requires an intra-national effort by the Tajiks themselves as well as an increase of aid and investment from foreign nations. Only with this combination of effort and finance will the actions of Tajikistan prove fruitful for the nation as well as benefit the public good.
– Mohammad Hasan Javed