Water shortages are a problem for the whole region. Syria has had posters up for years telling people that ‘water is life’. But still, shopkeepers empty entire bottles on to the pavement to clean their street.
Now, even the private sector is realising the scale of the problem. Radio station Farah FM has started including the slogan ‘water is life – so look after it’ in its posters.
But although water needs to be preserved, it also needs to be available. The sabils are centuries-old water fountains dotted around the Old City. This month, the Syrian Environment Association, Maktab Anbar (which looks after the restoration of the Old City), plus the French Cultural Centre and the German Technical Development Organisation held a ‘week of sabils’.
They set up tours of the Old City’s sabils, and even renovated some of them. Many people just walk by these places, letting them fall into disrepair, but these pictures above show the Sabil Al-Ward in Saroujah coming back to life.
Sabils continue to play a part in this water-hungry country, with many shops putting water fountains outside their doors.