News Release

New Wells in Kurdistan to Provide Water to 15,000 People

Life-saving project is a collaboration between the government and Latter-day Saint Charities

Fifteen thousand people in the drought-stricken Kurdistan region of Iraq will soon have access to clean water, thanks to a collaboration between the Barzani Charity Foundation (BCF) and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The two organizations provided funds and expertise to bore new wells and deepen wells that have gone dry. 

Kurdistan-BoreholeDownload Photo

The people of the Kurdistan region are suffering from a lack of drinking and irrigation water brought on by drought conditions and the loss of water storage in dams. In addition, groundwater levels have dropped, and many wells are no longer productive. The current rainfall season is the second driest in 40 years, and Iraq is anticipating a serious drought again this summer following a particularly dry winter. These conditions promise to heighten the severity of the crisis.

Omer Hujam, whose father was killed during conflicts in Kurdistan, says his family has suffered due to the lack of water, and it has been difficult to keep his family farm operating. The first newly deepened well project by BCF and the Church will irrigate his property and other farms in the area.

“Due to the lack of rain, we have had a drought that affected the area for the past three years. The level of underground water dramatically decreased and greatly affected our agriculture and farm,” Hujam said. “I would like to show my deepest gratitude to Latter-day Saint Charities for their generous support through Barzani Charity Foundation. Their donation changed the condition of our farm completely; now we are able to use the water for both drinking and irrigation.”

Kurdistan-Borehole-GeneratorDownload Photo

The drought has forced many citizens of the Erbil Governate to purchase drinking water. The cost can be $50 for a container that only lasts a week or less. This is a great hardship for families that average an income of only about $250 a month. 

The Church provided a grant to the Erbil Governate for the drilling, and the Barzani Charity Foundation provided a project engineer with expertise in water use. The project has resulted in seven new wells and improvements to six additional ones, but the area still needs an additional 100 wells to meet the water needs of residents. As part of the project, the water department of the Governate will also receive two water detection devices to help find future locations for wells.

Water-at-Kurdistan-WellDownload Photo

Jim and Barbara Blackford, Church representatives in Kurdistan, are excited by the initial results of the project, which is made possible by the generous donations of people all over the world.

“We were able to witness firsthand the effect of drilling a well-planned hole into the scorched and rocky earth until a water reservoir was reached, and then actually see enough fresh, clean water gush out to supply a village of people in dire need,” Jim Blackford said.

“It has been a blessing for us to be able to follow the example of Jesus Christ by helping to relieve suffering for so many people,” Barbara Blackford said. “We have a wonderful partnership with Barzani Charity Foundation that makes it possible to assist the people of Kurdistan through projects like this.”

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