Establishment of a sustainable system of drinking water supply in small towns of Sidama Zone, SNNPR, Ethiopia

Published: Jan 7, 2016 Reading time: 3 minutes
Establishment of a sustainable system of drinking water supply in small towns of Sidama Zone, SNNPR, Ethiopia
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Ensuring Sustainable Access to the Drinkable Water in Guguma, Teso, Bargo and Hulukav, Sidama Zone, Ethiopia

Similar to many African countries, parts of Ethiopia face water shortages, poor sanitation and a lack of access to clean water sources. In the past twenty years, droughts have affected several areas of the country, leading to ponds, wells, streams and lakes drying up or becoming extremely shallow. For many people living outside of the cities there is no other way then to collect water from these shallow water sources, which are often contaminated with human and animal waste, worms, or disease.

As the population will grow and thus the demand for drinking water in the next twenty years, there is a need to establish sustainable drinking water sources. People in Need (PIN) has been working in south central Ethiopia, in the district zone of Sidama establishing sustainable drinking water supply systems to guarantee stable source of drinking water for thousands of people of three rural communities of Teso, Bargo and Huluka.

„Previously we had to walk long distance to fetch water. It is almost 2 hours walk to the nearest river from my home. We had to carry it back in hands or sometimes we used donkey.  But, thanks to People In Need, we have water point near my house. It is big relief,” explains smiley Turunge. Generally, the project aims to strengthen the area’s potential for social and economic development. „I have more time I can dedicate to work on the filed or to my family, “she adds.

Activities include drilling new boreholes, build accumulation tanks and construct kilometers of distribution pipelines and a number of public water stands that will bring drinking water close to people in dry and mountainous area of south Ethiopia and increase communities’ resilience to frequent droughts. Besides new water delivering infrastructure PIN rehabilitates one older non-functional water scheme in Huluka community.

Public awareness about proper hygiene and sanitation behavior to improve public health is part of the project as well. Promotion campaigns are being organized and health institutions personnel are being trained through Ethiopian National health extension system. I walk around the village couple times a week and explain why it is important to have proper latrine and wash hands after using it or before touching food. I can see big difference when people are willing to buy latrines and awareness about hygiene is rising. There were 2 to 3 people a day coming to the health post with acute diarrhoea or infections. But now, I see 2 to 3 people a week,” says one of the extension workers.  “And clean water prevents us from diseases and parasites and prevents children from malnutrition,” she adds. In order to achieve solid and long term functioning water schemes PIN establishes so called Water user associations, local management bodies responsible for operating motorized schemes. They are trained in technical, operational, accountancy and management aspects. Associations are fully responsible for financial sustainability of schemes by setting up tariffs, collecting fees and maintaining maintenance fund.  

Construction works started early 2015 by drilling three boreholes. Pumping tests  exceeded expectations and according to local authorities these sources now have “regional importance”.

PIN closely cooperates with Sidama Zone Water, Mines and Energy Department  and Czech based water management & engineering company Aquatis Ltd. who provides professional expertise and consultancy in hydro geology and engineering.

Name of the project: Establishment of sustainable drinking water supply systems in small towns in the district zone of Sidama, SNNPR, Ethiopia

Budget: 1 million USD

Duration: 2014 – 2017

Donor: Czech Development Agency

Partners: Sidama Zone Water, Mines and Energy Department, Awassa; Aquatis Ltd.

Area of work: Sidama, South central Ethiopia

Author: PIN

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