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Water shortages threaten Syria

In the Syrian capital, Damascus, the three-year war between government forces and rebel factions continues unabated. Meanwhile, the citizens of the war-torn country face growing hardship, with severe water shortages creating a booming black market for potable water.

The Syrian water shortage received widespread publicity earlier this year, when media sources reported on the shutdown of two water-pumping stations that supply the Syrian city of Aleppo. According to the Independent, the water shortage began when the rebels, who control Aleppo’s main pumping stations, tried to keep water flowing to their areas in the east of the city, but stop it reaching the government-held west side.

Following the crisis in Aleppo, which was subsequently resolved, reports are now emerging of a more general lack of water in Syria, which is the result of natural causes. In June, the New-York-based World Policy Institute published an article by Ahmad al-Dimashqi /al-Tal of Syria Deeply, describing the ordeal faced by civilians due to the lack of water in the country.

Last winter was Syria’s driest in years, creating widespread shortages of drinking water. Power cuts also contributed to the shortfall, with many of the pumps needed to keep water flowing having been knocked out by sabotage or heavy fighting.

According to the article, water trade on the Syrian black market is thriving, with residents paying high prices for containers that are often contaminated. Meanwhile, officials say shortages will continue until winter.

For most civilians, the shortages have turned daily chores like cooking or bathing into an ordeal. For others, they have given rise to a new business of water. Across the country, small-scale enterprises have popped up, providing water through generator-powered water tanks mounted on automobiles.

While the mobile tanks make deliveries to water stores around Damascus, residents say this has led to a doubling of the price of water for ordinary consumers. 

Read more about the Syrian water crisis here:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/syrian-rebels-cut-off-water-to-aleppo-in-botched-attack-on-regime-areas–and-manage-to-create-shortage-in-their-own-strongholds-9358685.html

http://www.worldpolicy.org/blog/2014/06/12/water-syrias-booming-black-market

by Simon