Wells dry up amid growing challenges to secure water in Syria’s Hasakah

HASAKAH, Syria (North Press) – Nearly ten days ago, a well dug by Suleiman close to his house two years ago has dried up, finding himself in a critical situation added to his financial burdens. 

As wells dry up in the city of Hasakah and due to his limited finances, the 76-year-old Suleiman Hamada, a resident in the neighborhood of Guweiran, does not dare to dig another well. He completely depends on water from tankers though it implies additional financial burdens.

Since the water crisis in Hasakah came to the fore after Turkish forces and their affiliated armed Syrian opposition factions controlled Sere Kaniye (Ras al-Ain) and Tel Abyad in 2019, a lot of people in Hasakah dug shallow wells close to their houses whose water is undrinkable, for domestic usages to avert other additional burdens to buy water from tankers.

However, in 2022, a nearly 90% of wells have been dried due to lack of rainfall and drought that sweeps the region for the last two years added to the random digging of wells where in some areas there are wells within a 10 m range.

A child filling water from a tank in Hasakah – North Press

In the current year, residents estimated that about 90% of wells in the region have dried up due to lack of rainfalls and drought the areas has been witnessing for two successive years.

In the last two years, water was found at 30– 40 meters in depth while now it could be found at 60 m and could dry after months of using, according to witnesses.

For over two months, Turkey and its affiliated factions, also known as Syrian National Army (SNA), have been blocking water pumped from Alouk Water Station being the longest water cutoff since 2019.  

In Guweiran, where the 46-year-old Abdurrahman al-Ahmad intends to dig a well after the one he dug in front of his home three years ago has went dried.

Al-Ahmad says the well dried last year, he deepened it more than a once. However, he dug a new one that was abandoned with no water found after 30 m depth.

Now adays, al-Ahmad looks for another place for the new well though he is not optimistic to find water. However, he dares to do so in order not to remain “exploited” by owners of water tankers.

He needs 200- 300 Syrian pounds (SYP, about 50$) each month to buy water, five barrels of water are sold in return for 10.000- 40.000 Syrian pounds.

In the same neighborhood, Khalil Hanif digs another well that could cost him nearly a million SYP (about 250$).

He said, while a woman was transferring water gallons from a tank put in the neighborhood, that he and his neighbors were relieved by his previous well last summer and for some days in 2022 summer before being dried.

Though doctors stress that wells water is undrinkable and cannot be used even for domestic usages because it is germy, recording high rates of cancerous nitrate and ammonium electrolytes, water from tanks, which does not meet the residents’ need, is the only option left. 

In Guweiran, Ali al-Ali, a well driller owner, is preoccupied with digging a well, while owner of the well is watching him with growing anxiety.

Al-Ali said days ago he had dug a well and found no water at a 30m depth so he moved to another place to reach water.

He added last year and the year before, he used to enroll people to set a date for them to start digging.

“This year is different, since 20 days I have been engaging in digging this one alone,” he added.

Reporting by Jindar Abdulqader