Inside the Zaatari refugee camp in northern Jordan, there is no access to modern-day conveniences for nearly 100,000 Syrians who have fled their home country, which has been torn apart by civil war since 2011. Daily existence is a struggle in the informal city where people live in tents or prefab containers, and are dependent on daily rations and monthly food allowances.
This once vast desert is now the world’s second-largest refugee camp, which is quickly exhausting its water supply in an already water-scarce region of the world. With the camp’s existing two wells overburdened, storage tanks and pumps have been distributing water brought in daily by truck, but it’s not enough to keep up with the increasing demand.
Photo caption: Xylem’s Lowara borehole pump in action at the Zaatari refugee camp
Demonstrating Xylem’s commitment to solving water, Xylem Watermark, our corporate citizenship and social investment program, turned to Mercy Corps, an international humanitarian organization and one of Watermark’s long-term partners, to seek a solution. With initial funding from the United Nations and a $150,000 grant from Xylem Watermark, Mercy Corps worked to create major water infrastructure improvements for Zaatari.
The effort began with the construction of two new deep wells within the Zaatari camp. The wells are fitted with submersible pumps, backup generators in case of power grid interruptions, a chlorination facility, adequate onsite water storage, booster pumps, site security and amenities to increase access to fresh water. By the end of 2014, at full working capacity, the two existing wells could provide enough water to meet the daily needs of approximately 68,570 Syrian refugees—about 68 percent of the maximum population of the camp.
To further develop new infrastructure, Xylem employees from the United States, Poland and Italy worked together with Mercy Corps to drill a third well in the camp. This cross-functional team worked across geographies to provide technical assistance and donate a customized Xylem Lowara submersible pump system to address the critical water needs for the Zaatari camp. Xylem Watermark also allocated an additional grant of $100,000 to support the well construction.
The well began operation in late March 2015, and is expected to provide enough clean, reliable water for cooking, cleaning and drinking for refugees of the Zaatari camp as well as local Jordanians. The finished well site includes truck-filling stations, civil works, submersible pumps, filling station pumps and pipes, a control panel, a chlorination system and a storage facility.
Photo caption: The Xylem team poses with the Lowara submersible pump that was assembled and tested in its Strzelin, Poland facility.From left: Daniel Jastrzab, Assembly Operator; Sławomir Ryba, Assembly Operator; Leslaw Krakowski, Pumps and Motors Production Department Supervisor; Tomasz Zygadlo, Machining Operator; Rafal Kostrzewa, Master Planner, Strzelin, Poland; and Krystian Chudzik, QS Motors Assembly Leader.
The project is the first of its kind for Xylem Watermark and involved bringing together many individuals from Xylem and Mercy Corps across continents to lend their expertise to help ease the area’s crippling water shortage and improve the quality of life for thousands of people living in the camp.
This initiative illustrates the essence of our mission to solve some of the world’s most critical water challenges. Working together, Xylem Watermark and Mercy Corps have and will continue to help people in need around the world by providing access to advanced filtration systems, water-saving network improvements and improved sanitation tools.
Photos courtesy of Xylem Watermark