In Quetta, most urban refugees purchase water for drinking and domestic purposes from tankers or donkey carts supplying their areas.
Piped water infrastructure is available in some localities, however due to recent water shortages and the associated drops in the water table, coupled with regular electricity loadshedding (partial supply), most of these supply networks have not been active since 2012.
The water tankers are relatively expensive and for those households that cannot afford these services, water is collected from nearby mosques, shops, other households or nearby agricultural land.
For all of the water supply options noted above, the water is of poor quality and needs to be boiled before it can safely be consumed. However, many refugee households, do not prepare the water correctly increasing the risk of exposure to water borne diseases, especially in children.
Except for a few areas, most refugees live in localities without paved streets or adequate sewerage systems. In some areas, open defecation is still common. In other areas, refugees living in the mud walled (pukka) houses typical of the area have built pit latrines in their houses. However, these latrines are self-constructed and are generally not well designed and are known to be the cause of hygiene and sanitation issues.
Several water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects have conducted during the last few years in Quetta, including UNHCR providing drinkable water for two schools in Ghausabad and Qadriabad in 2013.
Since 2010, eight WASH projects have been completed in the RAHA programme in Quetta city, benefitting both refugees and the host population. These projects include:
- Regular training and capacity building on water use, health and hygiene.
- Formation of community working groups that are empowered to take initiative for training other community members and implementing WASH projects
- Training community members on the construction of a proper pit latrine and its usage.
- Partnership and coordination with government to improve local water supply for both refugees and host communities.