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Saturday, 10 November 2018
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More than a tool to promote drinking water services, "Kabala" is also a social regulator

Water is life, it is often said. This saying which is more than a simplistic adage, points to humanity and as such, we have a duty to offer water to all. The initiative of the major drinking water supply project in the city of Bamako from Kabala, commonly known as the "Kabala Drinking Water Project", is a step in that direction. This project is unprecedented, both in terms of its scope and its financial structure and architecture: more than 172 billion CFA francs mobilized by more than a dozen donors for its financing!

The components around which the Kabala Drinking Water Project is built include; construction of water towers and reservoirs, laying of pipelines and transfer pipes, densification of the hydraulic network through the city of Bamako and surrounding communities, among others. What about the large pumping station with a production capacity of 300 million liters of water per day? It will make the supply of drinking water to more than one million inhabitants possible: 1,200,000 people to be precise....

"This project is all Bamako's hope. If it did not exist, it would have had to be created," said a director of the Department of Energy and Water, during the minister's visit to the construction sites in Kabala. Indeed, it is all of Bamako and surrounding areas that will be connected through the installation of several tens of kilometers of primary, secondary and tertiary networks. Such a project cannot be carried out without the support of the populations for whom the urbanization of the city of Bamako has been taking place over the past 20 years. This is all the more important as the work to implement the Project will require both social and economic impacts.

And yes, the other side of the coin is also relevant: relocation and reintegration, displaacement of businesses or other utility sites, are parts of the impacts of the Project as well. Needless to say, these aspects of the project do not go without teeth grinding, as in the Missira case. Nevertheless, the harmful effect on people's daily lives is not equal to the positive impact on well-being in the communes covered by the project. This is owing to the fact that beyond improving access to drinking water, Kabala's drinking water project will make it possible to rebuild a social fabric weakened by the lack of water.

"The impact of the Kabala Drinking Water Project is immeasurable. Imagine the amount of drinking water that will be produced: about 300 million liters of water per day. This is huge for a city like Bamako, which currently has only about 250 million liters. Thus, it is to say how much this project will revolutionize the urban water sector in our capital," says the Kabala Project Coordinator, Mr. Bakary Coulibaly. Another important factor is job creation. The building sites for the Kabala Drinking Water Project are a real melting pot where French, Spanish, Chinese, Americans, Malians, Burkinabes, Ivorians, Togolese, to name but a few rub shoulders with each other... A very good integration tool, but also and above all a showcase for our country, Mali. The Coordinator of the Kabala Drinking Water Project.

Indeed, work related to the Kabala Drinking Water Project is divided among more than ten foreign and local companies. Who will build the networks (primary, tertiary or secondary) and who will build the production and storage facilities? Each of them has its own benefit... The transfer of SOUTH-SOUTH and NORTH-SOUTH skills by the training of our engineers and technicians in the management of major projects and the populations for whose benefit several hundreds of jobs are created. "This is one of the contractual requirements that bind companies to SOMAPEP-SA, namely to draw labour from the local pool. This has so far been respected by companies whose collaboration with riverside users is very friendly," says Mr. Coulibaly.


This good relationship, he adds, will be strengthend in the coming days. An awareness and information campaign is underway among the populations living near the Project. This initiative, he said, aims to inform the inhabitants of the 10 municipalities covered (6 municipalities of Bamako District, Kalabancoro, Dialakorodji, Sangarebougou, Moribabougou) by the Project of the various works that are underway or will start in the streets. Carrying out this work has an impact. Trenches will be made in the streets. This can have a slight impact on mobility in the neighborhoods, warns Bakary Coulibaly.

Indeed, launched a few weeks ago at the town hall of commune VI, in the presence of the deputy mayor, Abdallah Diarra and the Director General of the Malian Drinking Water Heritage Society (SOMAPEP-SA), Yénizanga Koné, the awareness and information campaign is in full swing in the communes of the Bamako District. From the rural communes of Kalabancoro, Sangarébougou, to Dialakorodji, to the six communes of the Bamako District, community leaders, elected officials, neighborhood leaders and leaders of women's and youth associations were able to assess the scope of the Kabala Project and its impact on their daily lives.

"We initiated this campaign with the agreement of our donors. For us, it is a question of bringing the project as close as possible to you, the beneficiary populations. There is no other way to get you to join the project than to come to you and explain what is happening in your neighborhoods and why. Help us to facilitate the project work on-site. This is because the longer the work takes, the longer we will wait for the water from the Kabala Project. A scenario that no one is expecting both from the highest authorities and from donors," urged SOMAPEP-SA Director General, Yénizanga Koné at the launch of the campaign at the town hall of Commune VI.

More than just miscellaneous news items, the testimonies recorded here and there reveal the challenges between couples and other divorces due to a lack of water in the homes. "Worse still, the lack of water prevents us from being good Muslims. This is because even to do ablutions water is needed," says Mahamadou Traoré, a resident of the Taliko district, while emphasizing the impact of the project on their children's education. Improving the rate of access to water will help alleviate the burden of fetching water on young girls. No more delays and absenteeism of children in school!


For the Deputy Mayor of Municipality VI, Abdallah Diarra, the Kabala Project is an initiative that will be a landmark in the annals of our country. This view is shared by the Secretary General of Sangarébougou City Hall, Boubou Danthioko, who maintains that the Kabala Drinking Water Project is the only one of its kind in the urban water sector over the past 20 years. Thus, in the different areas, the inhabitants and municipal leaders did not hide their unfailing support for the project. While the mayor of Sangarébougou, Kassim Sidibé, promised to fully invest himself to receive the companies and facilitate their work, his counterpart in commune I, Daouda Simpara, maintained that his district will be first in social mobilization for the project. "Commune I always occupies the first places for public causes. The same will apply to the Kabala project," he said. The same assurance was given by the Deputy Mayor of Commune IV, Adama Konaté, for whom the Kabala Project is that of Commune IV. He assured that all channels (mosques, churches, markets) will be used to raise awareness and inform the population about the project.

These assurances have lifted the spirits of SOMAPEP-SA's managers.