On May 28, 2023, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Government of Iraq inaugurated the Al-Hussein water complex, bringing clean, potable water to more than 30,000 people in Hay Al-Hussein subdistrict and helping to ease the water crisis in Basra Governorate.
Built in 1977, the Al-Hussein water complex provided untreated water from the R-Zero station to homes, nearby industries, and military bases for over 40 years. Despite increasing water demand, the Al-Hussein water complex stopped operating three years ago because of the facility’s outdated and damaged equipment. Its closure severely affected the water supply in the sub-district and surrounding areas, leading to health concerns for residents as well as negative impacts for local businesses and agricultural production.
Rehabilitated by UNDP’s Iraq Crisis Response and Resilience Programme (ICRRP) funded by USAID, the Al-Hussein water complex is now fully operational with upgraded water pumps and treatment equipment to ensure the water that goes to homes, schools, and other establishments is safe for human consumption. Moreover, at least 45 people have resumed work upon the water treatment plant’s reopening.
“Access to clean water is one of the most pressing challenges Iraq faces. The scarcity of water and outdated infrastructure affects the health and well-being of millions of Iraqis and hampers the country’s development. The reopening of the Al-Hussein water complex is a step forward to build capacity and promote the importance of safe water and sanitation for people’s health,” says UNDP Resident Representative in Iraq Auke Lootsma, speaking at the inauguration ceremony.
“UNDP remains committed to working with our steadfast partner, USAID, to support Iraq and help ensure that its people have access to critical services and opportunities that enable them to lead healthy, productive, and fulfilling lives,” he adds.
“Improving Iraq’s water infrastructure and management of this precious resource directly contributes to the country’s stability and prosperity,” United States Ambassador to Iraq, Her Excellency Alina L. Romanowski said. “The United States, through USAID, is proud to be working with UNDP to rehabilitate the Al-Hussein water complex, which is helping improve the lives of thousands of local residents.”
Since 2019, UNDP’s Iraq Crisis Response and Resilience Programme, with support from USAID, has been rehabilitating critical water treatment plants in Basra. So far, nine water treatment plants in Shatt al-Arab, Al-Qurna and Abi al-Khaseeb districts have been completed, serving 149,000 people.