A lifesaving project among The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Barzani Charity Foundation and the area government means 15,000 people in the Kurdistan region of Iraq will soon have access to clean water.
Drought conditions, the loss of water storage in dams and dropping groundwater levels have led to a lack of drinking and irrigation water. Many people are forced to purchase containers of water at great cost. Meanwhile, the current rainfall season is the second driest in 40 years, meaning the crisis could become more severe.
Working with the Erbil Governorate’s water department, the Church and Barzani Charity Foundation provided funds and expertise to bore new wells and deepen wells that have gone dry, reported the Church’s Middle East Newsroom.
The first newly-deepened well project will irrigate Omer Hujam’s property and other farms around his 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 [the Church] for their generous support through Barzani Charity Foundation,” he said. “Their donation changed the condition of our farm completely; now we are able to use the water for both drinking and irrigation.”
Jim and Barbara Blackford, Church representatives in Kurdistan, told Newsroom they 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.
Barbara 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. We have a wonderful partnership with Barzani Charity Foundation that makes it possible to assist the people of Kurdistan through projects like this.”