These days young and old people are seen carrying jerrycans in the streets of northern and eastern part of Addis Ababa to collect drinking water. Not only residents in Addis Ababa are suffering from acute shortage of water, but also civil servants in some of various state offices are in trouble of getting tap water . The residents of Kechene, Shiromeda, Piassa, Addisu Gebeya, Sidist Killo and upto Kotebe in the city are often hardest hit by the disruption, and get water supply just once a week and sometimes once in two weeks.
The city of Addis Ababa provides its water supply from both surface water and ground water sources. There are three main surface water dams as sources for the surface water supply. These are Gefersa, Legedadi and Dire. The ground water source is from Akaki ground water (Akaki well field) and from spring and wells within and near Addis Ababa. There are two conventional water treatment facilities, namely Legedadi water treatment plant and Gefersa water treatment plant to supply the city treated water from the aforementioned sources. The location of water supply sources in the Addis Ababa, Gefersa dam is situated 18-kms west of Addis Ababa; Legedadi dam is situated 25-kms east of Addis Ababa; and Akaki well field is situated southeast of Akaki and about 22- kms south of Addis Ababa.
The city has three main subsystems namely: Legedadi, Gefersa, and Akaki subsystem. Legedadi subsystem includes supplies from Legedadi water treatment plant to service reservoirs of Kotebe terminal, Karalo, Ankorcha, Jan Meda, Gebrial Palace, Teferi Mekonnen, Entoto, Belay Zeleke, Police Hospital, Army Hospital and Kasa Gebre; and to pumping stations at Ureal and Mexico Square.
Gefersa subsystem includes supplies from Gefersa water treatment plant to service reservoirs of Rufael, St. Paul, and Ras Hailu. Akaki subsystem includes the supply of water from Akaki well field to CT, GW1, GW2, GW3, Bole Bulbula service reservoir and Lebu service reservoir. The three subsystems have additional ground water well sources apart from their principal sources.
Addis Ababa City Administration is aggressively working to rise its daily potable water supply from the current 165,000 to 190,000 meter cube this year. Senior officials drawn from the City Administration and water supply projects visited Legedadi ground water project sites recently. City Deputy Mayer Abate Setotaw believed that problems in providing adequate water supply to the rapidly growing population is increasing from time to time. Water supply system in the city is unable to meet existing demand and is not available to everyone. Some consumers take disproportionate amounts of water and the poor is the primary victim to face the difficulties, he said. “Being responsible for the supply of potable water and collection, treatment and disposal of water and sewerage, the City Administration is making every effort to address the problem,” he added.
The Addis Ababa Water and Sewerage Authority (AAWSA) attributed the disruption of water to infrastructure development projects under way and the breaking of a huge water pipe around the construction areas. Much still remains to improve sustainability and to improve service quality, and to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of halving access to water by 2015.
With regards to the causes for the problems, Abate indicated that there is a problem of water supply and distribution in Addis Ababa City. The enormous growing number of investments and construction works are some of the reasons stated for the shortage.
According to Abate, even if the demand is increasing at faster rate, the Authority has increased production of water from 165 thousand to 190,000 meter cube per day.
Personally, in my residential area – Shiromeda, peoples are expressing dissatisfied at the disruption in drinking water supply that they fetch tap water once in a week cause of the water is available only once a week on Mondays and we store water for the rest of the week. But last week that didn’t happen, rather it remains lost for two weeks.
The water shortage has been affecting my village in the past two weeks. However, the Northern parts of Addis Ababa areas have been suffering for quite a long time, it is the responsibility of the government to plan water supply scheme for the future with due consideration to all of the residents at all parts of the city. It is now indicated that from the coming month on-wards additional 30,000 meter cube daily water will be distributed to almost 350, 000 people of the city dwellers from Legedadi site to the eastern and northern parts of the city dwellers.
Addis Ababa City Water Projects General Manager Tesfalem Bayu indicated that the current progress of water projects like Legedadi underground potable water projects are nearing completion and expected to start providing service within next few weeks. The 1.3 billion Birr cost projects are contracted by CGC Oversees Construction Eth. Ltd. And Feljas & Masson Enterprise whereas Water Works Design and Supervision Enterprise is consulting it. Upon completion, the project is expected to benefit 69,000 condominium houses.
The City Administration Prioritizes Water Supply Coverage aiming at ensuring complete coverage in water supply for the city, the administration are spending more money in improving Addis Ababa’s water supply than the construction of other project facilities.
I have noticed the response from the deputy Mayer that says “the shortage becomes in the case of vast consumption of construction works,” but the scarcity realized in non-constructed areas of the northern parts of the city. People uses water scarcely by default, though they don’t belief the exact forthcoming of tap water, however ,the Deputy Mayor urged the public to properly utilize potable water and reduce wastage.
On the other hand, the government as well as the people pride themselves on Addis Ababa as being the diplomatic capital of Africa with the third largest representation after Washington DC and Brussels. Where, its residents are dependent, not only to limited provisions of water, but also frequent interruptions in areas where there are water provisions.
The authority has been tried to satisfy the demand for water in the city with supplies from dams in Legedadi and Dire, as well as water wells in Akaki, which have a combined capacity to provide 300,000 cubic meters of water a day.
There are huge projects the city administration has put-up to complete by the end of this fiscal year, including the installation of water pipelines around Legedadi and Akaki. Four wells from Legedadi site have been drilled, which have the total capacity to accumulate 140,000 cubic meters of water a day, and hoped to increase the coverage to 97 per cent when completed in April 2015, according to Tesfalem Bayu, General Manager to Addis Ababa City Water Projects.
Biologically, water has always been an important and life-sustaining drink to humans and is essential to the survival of all living thing. Excluding fat, water composes approximately 70 per cent of the human body by mass. It is a crucial component of metabolic processes and serves as a solvent for many bodily solutes. Studies anticipate that the average adult consume 2.0 liters per day. In our country, bottled waters are available in the shops in a variety of qualities for public consumption with high price even for 1/4 liters of safe water. Therefore, this could not address to help the poor class having potable water.
To conclude, government should aware the fact that humans have to have adequate access to potable water. Unless, the shortage may cause people to use unsecured water sources for food preparation which leads to widespread acute and chronic illnesses and is a major cause of death, misery and waterborne diseases. The government should ensure complete coverage in water supply for the dwellers by improving water supply and keeping the society health through delivering sustainable quality service.