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Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 14:44 EDT

UNICEF: 50 Percent Of Iraq Water Resources Wasted

March 21, 2011

The United Nations said on Monday that 50 percent of water resources are wasted in Iraq, where six million people have no access to clean water.

“Iraq faces difficulties in meeting the target of 91 percent of households using a safe drinking water supply by 2015,” due to decades of conflict, sanctions and neglect, the UNICEF children’s fund said in a statement.

“Iraq’s average water production level per person, at 86 gallons per capita per day, is considered high by international standards but around 50 percent of the water produced is lost to seepage, leakage and wastage due to system inefficiencies,” it said.

“One in five or around six million Iraqis do not have access to safe water, of which the vast majority are in rural areas,” it added.

It said over 500,000 Iraqi children use a river or creek to access their water, and over 200,000 access their water from an open well.

One in four children in rural areas access their water from rivers and creeks and about one in 10 use tanker trucks and open wells respectively.

The statement said that water-born diseases are widespread due to polluted drinking water supplies.

There were over 360,000 diarrhea cases as a result of polluted drinking water and a lack of hygiene awareness among local communities, particularly vulnerable groups like women and children.

“Every day at least 275,000 tons of raw sewage is pumped into the Tigris river threatening unprotected water sources and the entire water distribution system,” it added.

UNICEF said it supported a variety of projects to improve Iraq’s water situation, including awareness and training campaigns.

UNICEF and the European Union are celebrating Water Day in Iraq with a number of events.

There have been 11,000 primary school children who will join UNICEF in calling for more investments in water infrastructure, the conservation of water resources and keeping these resources free from pollution.

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