International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Opening the “largest water system for any refugee camp in the world”

The International Rescue Committee supplies water to three of the five Dolo Ado refugee camps in Ethiopia; “Largest water system for any refugee camp in the world” 

 
ADDIS ABABA—The International Rescue Committee officially opened two permanent water systems for Bokolmayo and Kobe camps in Ethiopia’s Dolo Ado complex, home to tens of thousands of Somali refugees.
 
“The Bokolmayo water system is the largest and most complex water delivery system for any refugee camp in the world,” says David Murphy, who runs the IRC’s programs in Ethiopia. “It pumps water from a river 18 kilometers (more than 11 miles) from the camp, has a permanent treatment plant to clean the water, two pump-boosting stations, and finally another 19 kilometers of distribution piping within the camp.” In all, the system employs 37 kilometers of pipeline. “This is quite a feat of engineering,” notes Murphy, “especially in a remote region” on the border with Somalia.
 
The IRC is the leading water supply agency in Dolo Ado, where more than 184,300 refugees have settled, with Bokolmayo far exceeding the 30,000-person limit established when that camp was set up in 2009. “When the area began receiving a large influx of refugees from Somalia in 2011, we played a large role in providing water to the newly arrived refugees,” recalls Murphy. 
 
The Bokolmayo permanent water system begins at the Genale River
The Bokolmayo water system begins at the Genale River. Water pumped here is treated and delivered through a pipeline to a refugee camp more than 11 miles away.

Photo: IRC
The IRC worked closely with Ethiopia’s Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs throughout the construction process, carefully identifying sites for the various system components, including accessible locations for water points. Bokolmayo’s geography presented unique challenges: the terrain is rocky and arid, making drilling and pipeline construction particularly difficult. Heavy rains often wash out main roads, limiting access to the construction site while increasing the difficulty of delivering clean water by truck. Skilled workers were hard to find, and the camp’s remote location complicated the procurement of materials.
 
“Completion of the Bokolmayo permanent water system means that the majority of Bokolmayo residents live within 200 meters of an IRC-built water point,” says Murphy. The system also serves approximately 4,700 host community members living in the surrounding villages, where the IRC has installed six water points.
 
Now camp residents and local community members are able to collect potable water for household use on a daily basis, reducing the risk of water-borne diseases like diarrhea and contributing to ongoing hygiene and sanitation efforts in and around the camp.
 
sedimentation tank
Water flows into a sedimentation tank at the treatment plant to be purified before it makes its way through pipes to reservoirs above Bokolmayo camp.

Photo: The IRC
 
Three service reservoirs above Bokolmayo Camp hold 460,000 liters of clean water.
The three storage tanks together hold 460,000 liters (121,519 gallons) of clean water for refugees living in the camp and their Ethiopian neighbors.  

Photo: IRC
Refugees collect water from one of the tap stands in teh camp
Refugees draw water from one of 63 water points located around the camp. “Completion of the Bokolmayo permanent water system means that the majority of Bokolmayo residents live within 200 meters of an IRC-built water point,” says the IRC's David Murphy. 

Photo: The IRC

 

Bokolmayo and Kobe water systems by the numbers 

 
31 water points, serving 31,656 refugees in Kobe
 
 
2,100 Kobe host community members served through 5 water points 
 
 
63 water points serving 40,423 refugees in Bokolmayo 
 
 
4,700 Bokolmayo host community members served through 6 water points 
 
 
18 kilometers of pressured pipeline in Bokolmayo 

 
460,000 liters of clean water held in Bokolmayo’s reservoirs; 276,000 liters held in Kobe
 
 
40 persons trained in the operation and maintenance of permanent water systems 


Read More

A story from Bokolomayo: Safe access to safe water

14 comments

Comments

Thank you every body for your

Thank you every body for your appreciation. It was not easy for all of us to make this system real and support the refugees permanently. But the will of God has been with us. We did it realy by the effort of every IRC staff especially Bokolmayo EH team and the support team behind us. I am very proud of the leader of this huge complex and biggest water system in the world in case of refugee complex being as EH manager at Bokolmayo refugee camp. I have no more words to say but " Thank to Almighty God for all of our life"

I worked with IRC 10 years

I worked with IRC 10 years ago in Sherkole refugee camp. I designed and built similar but smaller water treatment project in Sherkole. It is realy nice of IRC to expand the program and I hope IRC will continue its nice work in Ethiopia.

Great thing what IRC done!

Great thing what IRC done!

IRC made agreat for these

IRC made agreat for these community. Thanks!

GREAT JOB!!!!!!!!!!!

GREAT JOB!!!!!!!!!!!

This is great job and

This is great job and success. I have observed how much the camp refugees were suffering to get water even not treated.

Fantastic! EVERYONE should

Fantastic! EVERYONE should have potable water.

Am very much happy to see the

Am very much happy to see the good work that is being done the refgees in dolo ado complex camp.IRC is actually helping refugees in all the world and let me remind the IRC that they should not forget this-(SERVICE TO MAN IS SERVICE TO GOD). My last comment but not least is can the IRC provide clean and safe water to the refugees in the Dadaab complex that hosts more than 500,000 refugees.this refugee have water problems you will find some families staying with out water for three to four days. Thank you.

Nothing on earth is greater

Nothing on earth is greater than clean drinking water. Thank you for doing what others just dream about.

No more strong words to

No more strong words to explain what IRC done at Bokolmayo Refugee camp except "WELL DONE & APPRICIATED". I was IRC Ethiopia programme staff at 2008/2009 at Assosa Sherkole refugee camp. In 2011/2012 when i was at Bokolmayo Refugee camp with MSF, i saw that IRC is on going to provide clean water for refugees living in the camp. but now a days (IRC) The International Rescue Committee officially opened two permanent water systems for Bokolmayo and Kobe camps in Ethiopia’s Dolo Ado complex, home to tens of thousands of Somali refugees. Alehegn Aschalew South Sudan JUBA

I appreciate The work of IRC

I appreciate The work of IRC by the humanitarian experience, especially by water supply of Bokolmayo drinking water.

this is realy astounding

this is realy astounding work!

We did it!!! A lasting

We did it!!! A lasting solution, the possibility to begin a new life for refugees and local host community. Thank u GOD.

Awesome, Awesome, Awesome!

Awesome, Awesome, Awesome! Thank you to everyone who helped in this great feat! What a wonderful gift - May God bless you all abundantly :)

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