Red Cross Supplies Clean Water to Tsunami Victims

The 2004 Boxing-day Tsunami destroyed the water supply system in Western Simeulue, West Aceh in Indonesia. The Norwegian Red Cross now aim to make drinking water available to 4,000 people in five villages through an improved system, which will be finished before the end of the year.

Ani lives about 500 metres from the village water source, situated a bit into the woods. She and many of her neighbours in the Babul Makmur village have to carry heavy water containers back home three times every day, in addition to the heavy wet laundry for a household of five. Her neighbour Afrila’s burden is worse, her family counting seven. Chairuddin, an old age pensioner, is glad they are only three, as he lives 1.5 kilometres away, and feels the strain on his ageing body. No surprise then, that they are all looking forward to the day the new water supply system will deliver clean drinking water right to a tap at home – and in time for the wet season, saving them the extra burden of dragging the water containers along muddy roads…

The new water supply system is constructed by the Norwegian Red Cross (NorCross), as a part of their post-tsunami programme in Aceh. NorCross has partnered with the district drinking water supply authority, PDAM, and are expanding the pre-tsunami water supply from 42 households to up to 800 households, or 4,000 persons. The water will start flowing by November 2009, and initially cover 507 households and 18 public tapping stations.

Red Cross Delegate Shir Shah Ayobi is in charge of the constructions, supported by Consultant Supervisor Eddy Gultom and PDAM technician Mudarsono. Shir Shah complements the contractor, Sukamto of the Nusantara Water Centre, for quality work, which is essential when dealing with pressurised water constructions.

The water is collected from two springs, led into a pumping station and from there up to a reservoir on a nearby hill, where up to 450,000 litres are collected in two tanks. A pipeline distributes the water to the five villages through a 20 kilometres long penstock, and the capacity is high enough to supply up to 4,000 persons with 75 litres of clean water per day – a huge improvement for the population around the sub-district centre Sibigo.

Water is important for our daily lives, wherever we live. Some of us can just turn a tap and get fresh, potable water; others have to put in more effort. Chairuddin, Ani and many other people in Western Simeulue will now be able to do other things than carrying water for hours every day, like working in the field or taking care of their family. Since the tap water already is clean and can be consumed directly, they can also save the cost of energy for boiling the water, and even more time, without fearing for their health. Clean water is a precious gift, out of which life grows.

Ibu Ani lives 500 metres from the water post, and like many people in the area she has to fetch water three times a day, in addition to washing clothes there, carrying the wet clothes home again. Installation of a tap supplying drinking water to her house, as well as to more than 500 other households, is an anticipated improvement.  Photo © Basil Rolandsen (http://bouvetmedia.com)

Ibu Ani lives 500 metres from the water post, and like many people in the area she has to fetch water three times a day, in addition to washing clothes there, carrying the wet clothes home again. Installation of a tap supplying drinking water to her house, as well as to more than 500 other households, is an anticipated improvement. 

Photo © Basil Rolandsen (http://bouvetmedia.com)


Installation of water pumps in the Sibigo water station. Work inspected by (from left) Consultant Supervisor Eddy Gultom, PDAM Sibigo technician Mudarsono, NRC WatSan Delegate Shir Shah Ayobi and Contractor Sukamto. Water collected from two springs will supply tap-based drinking water to more than 500 households in five villages within 20 km of the centre. Photo © Basil Rolandsen (http://bouvetmedia.com)

Installation of water pumps in the Sibigo water station. Work inspected by (from left) Consultant Supervisor Eddy Gultom, PDAM Sibigo technician Mudarsono, NRC WatSan Delegate Shir Shah Ayobi and Contractor Sukamto. Water collected from two springs will supply tap-based drinking water to more than 500 households in five villages within 20 km of the centre.

Photo © Basil Rolandsen (http://bouvetmedia.com)

NorCross Drinking Water Supply Project

  • Responding to the emergency after the 2004 Boxing-day Tsunami, the Norwegian Red Cross (NorCross) initiated several projects in the Indonesian province Aceh, North Sumatra, in close co-operation with the Indonesian Red Cross and Red Crescent Society (PMI).
  • Activities on the island of Simeulue, situated in the western part of Aceh, included both infrastructure development and capacity building, the drinking water supply project being a part of the former.
  • Villages covered include Sigulai, Lama Mek, Baturagi, Mal Asin and Babul Makmur, all situated in Western Simeulue sub-district.
  • A total capacity of 800 households (or 4,000 individuals) in 5 villages may be supplied with 75 litres of drinking quality water per day.
  • Initially, 507 households (about 2,500 persons) will receive water to their homes from November 2009.
  • Water is collected in two springs and pumped to a reservoir with a capacity of 2 times 225 square metres (or 450,000 litres). A 20 kilometres long pipe transports the water to the villages, where it is distributed to individual households as well as to public taps.
  • Upon completion, the project will be handed over to the local drinking water supply authority, PDAM (Perusahaan Daerah Air Minum).