Dubai: Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) will next year build 12 water wells in Sierra Leone, Niger, Togo, India, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan as part of a plan to build 1,000 wells in five years, officials said on Sunday.
Zayed Water, a UAE bottled drinking water brand, has donated 100 per cent of its profits to ERC to fund the water wells in the seven countries.
The countries selected to benefit from this fund are only a representation of a global water crisis affecting over 800 million people who have no access to clean water.
Zayed Water’s vision is to make it easier for more people to become part of the solution by using 100 per cent of its profits, made through sales, to fund 1,000 water wells in severely affected regions, in the next five years.
Speaking at the press conference at ERC’s Dubai office on Sunday, officials from ERC and Zayed Water said the move comes as part of UAE’s efforts to fight a global water crisis.
Today, there are around 2.4 billion people who do not use improved sanitation, and 663 million who do not have access to improved water sources. Without these basic needs, the lives of millions of children are at risk. Every day, over 800 children die from preventable diseases caused by poor water and a lack of sanitation and hygiene.
On Sunday, Zayed Water donated Dh52,700 to ERC at the event, attended by representatives from the Sierra Leone embassy in the UAE, Al Ihsan Charity Association, the Department of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities, and corporate partners such as Agility, Posta Plus and National Beverages.
Zayed Water is owned by ‘Be Kind’ and inspired by the legacy of Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the UAE’s founding father.
Omar Abdulla Khalfan, Chief Kind Officer, Be Kind, said: “The donation made today is the very first that we have made to [ERC], since sales of Zayed Water was launched five months ago. This milestone was made possible by the tremendous support received from the residents of UAE, who readily purchased Zayed Water and through collaborations with different charities, corporations and organisations that have also helped us to spread the word.”
Mohammad Abdullah Al Haj Al Zarooni, ERC’s director in Dubai, told Gulf News that work on the project for 12 wells could begin by the end of this year and the wells could be ready by sometime later next year. He said the cost, capacity and type of each well will be different, according to the needs of the community and the geology of the area. A well in India can cost as low as Dh4,000 while a well in Africa can cost Dh25,000 if the water level is very deep, he added. Also, in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, the rocky soil, mountainous terrain and harsh winter can increase the cost and time for building a well, Al Zarooni said.
“We’re going to communities in countries in real need for this well water, in Africa and Asia. We’re starting with 12 wells. During five years, with Dh4 million dirhams, we’re going to do many things with water. We get the cooperation of local authorities because they we’re ERC, we’re doing something right,” he added.
Project at a glance
■ Emirates Red Crescent aims to build 12 water wells in Sierra Leone, Niger, Togo, India, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan
■ It comes as part of a plan, supported by Be Kind, to build 1,000 wells around the world in five years
■ The wider plan is estimated to cost Dh4 million Each well can cost anywhere from Dh4,000 to Dh25,000, depending on how deep the water level is, what type of soil or earth needs to be dug, the capacity and type of well, and other variables
■ Around 2.4 billion people who do not use improved sanitation
■ 663 million who do not have access to improved water sources
■ Every day, over 800 children die from preventable diseases caused by poor water and a lack of sanitation and hygiene