12 January 2014

Ethiopia: New Water Services Institution Developed to Tackle Multi-Dimensional Tasks

The new institution seeks to fix some of the current issues stunting major developments in the sector

The Ethiopian water sector is soon to see the establishment of the Ethiopian Water Development Engineering Service. This will replace the Federal Water Works Design and Supervision Enterprise (WWDSE), in two months of time.

The need for undertaking multi-dimensional tasks has necessitated the establishment of the new institution. Under the supervision of the federal government, it will mainly consist of different research institutes and will be involved in various water development and supervision strategies.

Also, this corporation will be under the Supervision of the federal government. The current institution, the WWDSE, is only engaged in water development and supervision.

"Establishing a strengthened water sector design and supervision is pivotal to realising the sustainable development of the country," Hailemeskel Tefera, state minister of the Ministry of Urban Housing & Construction and Board chairperson of the WWDSE, said at a panel discussion on Saturday, January 11, 2014, at the Ghion Hotel. The discussion sought to solicit comments and suggestions on the establishment of the new institution.

Experts, who presented study papers, pointed out some of the barriers faced by the sector. Incompatibility of the institutional setup to the demands of complex projects, a lack of systems, low level technology usage, a shortage of skilled manpower in some specialised fields and limited experience in study, were highlighted as challenges.

Some of the studies pointed out reasons for the delay in the Tendaho and Kessem dam and irrigation projects.

"They could not be completed within the time framework because of the different framework challenges," one study indicated.

"Project management problems, lack of alternate project delivery arrangements and fast track project management, coupled with Institutional setup have slowed down the projects."

Ethiopia's national water access reached 61.6 pc (over 52 million beneficiaries) of the population up until late 2012/13. Rural water access has reached 58.7pc (over 43 million beneficiaries) and urban water access has reached 80.7pc.

According to the growth & transformation plan (GTP), a household in a rural area has to have a supply of around 15 litres of safe water per person per day within a 1.5 km radius.

Similarly, the GTP defines the clean water supply for urban dwellers - 20 litres of potable water per person per day within a 0.5 km radius. Based on this plan, over 29 million people living in rural areas are expected to become beneficiaries of safe drinking water by 2015.

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