Drought Relief | Health | Education | Other

Map of 2009 Community Projects


Drought Relief

The most evident need in most areas in Kurdistan is the access to potable water. Ongoing shortages of water, due to drought and water table changes, represents one of the greatest impediments to maintaining and improving the quality of life of residents in the Garmian region. Accordingly, WesternZagros and its co-venturers have focused on this issue. We have taken a wide approach which has included drilling new water wells, repairing existing water wells, building water supply pipelines and water sanitation facilities, and providing access to the water table for their livestock through the construction of sumps and pits.

Through May 2010, we have drilled water wells in over 17 villages and repaired another eight wells. We also dug sumps, pits and irrigation channels in another 42 rural communities. These communities do not have any other reliable sources of drinking water.

In 2009, we constructed a six kilometre pipeline to the Kurdamir village and subsequently installed a water storage and distribution system for the village, in addition to replacing and repairing the generator and pumping systems at the water treatment plant.

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The water storage system built for the Kurdamir village

In June 2010, we constructed  water storage and distribution systems for the villages of Qulijan Sarhad and Qulijan Amin Qaraman.

Water storage

A man in the village of QulijanAmin Qaraman, testing the new water distribution system

In August 2010, we provided water pipe and labour to the Awa Spi Sub-District to create a pipeline in Xan.

Water storage

Water pipeline through Xan village

In 2010, WesternZagros donated 20,000m of water pipe to the Garmian Water Directorate. This pipe will be used for various community water projects in our block. Implementation of approximately 4,000m of pipe in seven areas of our block has been used thus far.

In May 2010, we refurbished an existing irrigation channel in the village of Jamrez. The channel now provides the village with enough water to grow crops for the community.

Water storage

Water irrigation channel in Jamrez

In May 2010, we refurbished an existing irrigation channel in the village of Jamrez. The channel now provides the village with enough water to grow crops for the community.

Water storage

New agricultural area in Jamrez due to refurbished irrigation channel.

We have also completed extensive earthworks projects, which provide low-cost methods of obtaining water. Shovels and excavators have been sent to over 40 villages in our block to complete earthworks projects.


An excavator digging a sump to supply water for livestock near Masoi Bichuk, in the northern end of our operating region


A shovel digging sump to supply water for livestock near the village of Turka in our operating region

In late 2009, we held a biosand water filter training course in Sulimaniyah, the capital of the Sulaymaniyah Governerate. Both local and international NGO’s participated. The training was conducted by the Center for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology (CAWST), an internationally recognized non-governmental organization based in Calgary, Canada. The training was hosted locally by Kurdistan Save the Children, a well established charity organization in Kurdistan. The training focused on household water treatment and sanitation, discussion of regional water issues and practical training on the construction and implementation of the biosand technology. The biosand water filter is a low cost and low maintenance method of sanitizing water that is in use in many developing areas. The training course was well attended by active participants. We plan to follow up to the workshop by providing additional assistance for their respective participants’ biosand filter projects.


CAWST Instructor, Peter Thomson, discussing criteria for water treatment biosand filter

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Participants sifting sand for the filter


Participants discuss water sanitation

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Tools donated to Sulimaniya Youth Activity Centre


Participants at the closing reception

As a follow-up to the biosand filter training course in November 2009, we have been pursuing partnerships with local NGO's to establish biosand filter implementation projects at various communities within our block. In early 2010, we established a partnership with the Kurdistan Village Reconstruction Association (KVRA) and Kurdistan Health Foundation (KHF) to create a biosand filter implementation project. The project was created for Paralwa Lower, a village in our block that lacks significant amounts of clean water. KVRA and KHF have extensive experience and expertise in working in rural areas in the Garmian region. They proceeded to set up a distribution centre in the village run by locals, in order to build biosand filters for the community. They built over 100 filters in just a few weeks, and distributed at least one biosand filter to every household, school and mosque. A training session was held for all men, women and children. It has been met with enthusiasm from the local community and surrounding villages have inquired about possibility of bringing biosand filters to their communities. The distribution centre also supplied filters to three surrounding villages, Paralwa Upper, Awa Khweri and Galakawa.


Children reading about water sanitation at the biosand filter training


Doctor from KVRA and KHF explaining biosand filter technology to women and children

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Finished biosand filters


Representative from KHF explaining biosand filter to men


Biosand filter in a household

Future Plans

We are planning to conduct a comprehensive analysis of all available surface and ground water data in the Garmian region in order to assist the development of an effective and sustainable strategy for future drought relief. The initiative will encompass the supply and management of water, access to water resources and the use of water for economic development.

WesternZagros has begun implementation of a partnership project with Mercy Corp, an international NGO, and the local government. This project will encompass providing water access to the rural villages of Nawza Gawra and Tua Qat. The project is on-going and is scheduled to be completed by the Fall of 2010.

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WesternZagros wishes to assist the KRG in improving the health care for the people in the Garmian region. Providing access to affordable and effective health care for the people located within our Block is a high priority in our corporate social responsibility program.

In 2008, WesternZagros and its co-venturers funded multiple diagnosis clinics in Kalar, a town close to the southern edge of our operating block. This program was well received, with large turnouts each day. Canadian medical staff assisted their Kurdish colleagues in reviewing treatment regimes and evaluating the status of patients.

During 2008, in conjunction with Foothills Medical Centre (Calgary, Alberta), WesternZagros donated quality, surgical and post operative equipment to the local hospital in Kifri, a town close to the southern edge of our operating block. The following items were donated: weigh scales, a defibrillator, examination tables, blood pressure cuffs, a sterilization unit, an ECG machine, cauterization units, pulse oximeters, a spectrophotometer and a neonatal MRI.


The plaque outside the Kifri Hospital


The cabinet of the Hazi Kani Clinic with some of our donations, previously the shelves were empty

In 2009, we also delivered medical supplies to the clinic in Hazi Kani, a village in the northern part of our operating block. The clinic is the main center for health care for many surrounding villages, yet they lack the basic supplies to operate effectively. We provided sufficient supplies so that they can continue to treat patients regularly.

In 2010, WesternZagros partnered with Project Cure, an NGO committed to donating surplus medical equipment to developing countries. The equipment consisted mainly of beds, examination tables, crutches, wheelchairs, IV stands, etc. This equipment was then distributed to three local clinics in our block (Hazi Kani, Shekh Tawil and Xan) and one hospital in Kalar.


Examination tables in Shekh Tawil clinic


Donated Equipment in Hazi Kani clinic

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WesternZagros places a high premium on children's education. Our activities have ranged from repairing existing schools to donating school supplies. We will continue to work with the local government to support their program of expanding or replacing schools in the Garmian region. Through 2010, we have completed repairs to four primary schools in our operating region to ensure that: water tanks operate reliably;

  • windows have glass panes and open and shut properly;
  • toilets are functional, including adequate running water for washing;
  • doors are solid and open and close smoothly; and
  • roofs do not leak.


Our staff, accompanied by local hired men, work on refurbishing school

WesternZagros and its co-venturers also provided desktop computers to a middle school in the centre of our operating region. This is a new school and it is the process of establishing a computer lab.

Many of the schools in our operating area lack basic school supplies such as notebooks, paper, pens and pencils. In December 2009, and in order to address this situation, we donated over 300 backpacks containing various school supplies to children in 14 schools in our operating area.

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School supplies that filled one backpack

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A little boy holding his new school supplies

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Students with their backpacks and WesternZagros staff

We are working with the University of Suliamaniya and the KRG to enhance the development of geologists through field studies and training, and developing leaders in the Kurdish public service through technical training courses.

Since WesternZagros has been active in Kurdistan, we have provided various training programs for the people of the Region. We have trained local nationals as wellsite geologists and provided comprehensive industry training programs, including completion of a three-week Petroleum Industry Regulatory Affairs Program in Calgary for participants from the KRG. This particular program provided an opportunity for discussions, exchange of ideas and site visits with regulatory and industry personnel in Alberta. It also outlined how the Canadian regulatory system is implemented and monitored in the field, and the relationship between the regulator and the oil and gas producing companies. Since 2005, we have provided training for over 250 participants from the Kurdistan Region.


Children assemble in their classroom in Kurdamir village


A young child writes on a
chalkboard in his primary

Future Plans

Working in conjunction with the Education Ministry, key objectives are to carry out structural renovations to two primary schools and provide furnishings to two other schools.

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Road Improvements

Beginning in 2008 and continuing to date,, WesternZagros and its co-venturers have carried out road improvements on the access road to Hasira, to Sez Chezni, between Turka and Kurdamir and between Hazar Kani and Kurdamir, all located throughout our operating block. In 2010, we significantly improved the road from Kurdamir to Qulijan Amin Qaraman. Improvements normally involve reducing grades, road widening and water control and diversion.

Road improvement

Completed improvements on road from Kurdamir to Qulijan Amin Qaraman


Completed road improvements near Quiljan Sarhad

WesternZagros Challenge Cup (Youth Soccer Tournament)

In late 2009, we sponsored a tournament for eight youth soccer teams in the Garmian region. The tournament was held in Kalar over a five day span with good attendance from the community. We are proud that we can help provide healthy recreation for children and youth.

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The logo for the tournament


Opening ceremony of the tournament

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All the teams line up for the opening ceremony

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The final was settled with penalties

We understand the importance in creating recreational opportunities for young people. The building of a soccer (football) field is a good example of a way to achieve this. In May 2010, we built a new soccer field in Shekh Tawil for local children to play games after school. We envision this becoming a centre of activity for local children from surrounding communities. We plan to expand this program and build more soccer fields in other areas of our block.


Soccer field built for children in Shekh Tawil


Another view of soccer field in Shekh Tawil

In July 2010, we donated 24 soccer kits for local children in Hazi Kani/Sengaw area. We supplied the children with uniforms, shoes, goalkeeper outfits and equipment. The kits were enough for two teams. We plan to expand this program to other communities in the area.

Economic Diversification

WesternZagros also pleased to contribute to the economic development of the region. Through improved irrigation and water containment, we hope to provide residents in local villages with the water supply and infrastructure to grow cash crops such as melons, eggplant, tomatoes, okra, cucumber and beans. Finding projects in which we can invest in the local economy can help the long-term sustainability of the region.



An eggplant vine and watermelon growing; an example of how important water access can be to local economy

Additional Pictures

Children with toys

Children enjoy their toys given away during our annual WesternZagros Christmas gift program

Awaspi River

The Awaspi River, which runs through the western edge of our block

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Another view of the Awaspi River

Children and donkey

Three young children with their donkey


Village of Xan

Water treatment plant

Water treatment plant refurbished and improved by WesternZagros; this plant provides most of the water received by villages surrounding our Kurdamir rig site


School children in the hasira village