By Mulugeta Demissie
In Capital Newspaper, Monday, 07 November 2011, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
‘Coverage to reach 92 percent in two months,’ says Water Authority.
Drying wells, the end of the rainy season and power outages are blamed for acute water shortage in the city of Addis Ababa.
Over the past few weeks residents like Hana Abera, a house maid in the northern part of the country around Addisu Gebeya told Capital that there had been no water at the residence she works at for over a week or Mahider Getachew, who lives around Gergi apartments who also reports having frequent days without water.
The average bore hole well pumps 60 litres of water per second and is the primary ways city residents get their water.
Addis Ababa Water and Sewerage authority’s deputy general manager, Fekadu Zeleke, says 10 bore wells currently need maintenance, which is responsible for some of the shortage. This is because the 400,000 birr well sometimes must have its valves or pipe lines readjusted.
Wells in areas known as Meketeya, Kechene, Shiro-Meda, Asko, Ankorcha, Kidane-Mihiret (which supplies water to Shiro-Meda), Shegole have needed work.
The maintenance process which includes re-installing the water pump takes less than 10 days. This is necessary because the higher powered pumps can get damaged if there is not enough water going through them.
Fekadu told Capital that water shortage is still mainly caused by the dry season.
Supplying water from places like Akaki to Addis also requires fuel and electricity. Four pumps supply water to Addis from Akaki, which, Fekadu says is not efficient because it is at a lower elevation.
But in less than two months, Akaki is expected to deliver 73 thousand cubic meters of water with 15 new wells. The eight million birr wells will mean 92 percent of Addis Ababa shall be covered by water services. Akaki that has the potential of 230,000 m3 will also have more water wells in another year that should pump out 70 thousand cubic meters.
The hope is that within two years that all of Addis will be covered by water services. Right now 301,000 cubic meters comes from 130 wells in Legedadi, and Gefersa’s surface water. This covers 73 percent of the total area.
In addition to Akaki, AAWSA plans to expand Dire dam in order to get 195 thousand cubic meters of water. Legedadi, Ayat, and Sebeta are other water resource sites where AAWSA is conducting tests, Fekadu said.
Ethiopia has a goal to be among the top five countries in Africa in water and sewerage coverage by 2020. The authority has a 1.4 billion birr budget this year.
On average, including industry use, Addis Ababans uses 110 litres of water per person per day. In developed countries like the USA, 600 litres per person is consumed every day.