In achieving economic growth and human development, water is a crucial input. From time to time,citizens aspire for progress and better life. To realize this, the main social service providers such as education and health sectors should get sufficient and clean water. Contrary to this, utilizing unclean and unsafe water due to scarcity poses health risks. This way producing well educated and healthy productive force will be unrealistic.
Considering these, the government, in collaboration with development partners and UN Agencies, has been trying its level best to provide clean water to the public and much progress is being registered. However, to satisfy the growing demand of the public much work is remains. Tesfalem Woldu is vice head of the Water Bureau of Tigrai State and Drinking Water Supply Department Business Processing Head.
Recently, when he came to Addie for working meeting with regard to achieving the WASH goal, this writer did get a chance to talk to him. According to him, his bureau's strategy is achieving the goal of providing clean water to each citizen.
Each member of the society, both in rural part and in urban centers, has the right to get access to clean water. However, side by side with providing clean water, managing dry and liquid waste is very essential because each waste has a polluting impact on water and natural resources. In rural parts of the region due to poor management of waste, the public is still vulnerable to various problems. In urban centers, poor management of dry and liquid waste is common phenomenon.
As a result, surface and underground water and the environment are polluted and subsequently public health is put at risk. If the situation continues in such manner, it might compromise the society's productive capacity and shortens life spans. Addressing the problem must not be a task left for tomorrow. According to Tesfalem, the first GTP has planned to raise clean water supply both in urban and rural part to 100 per cent. at national level However, at regional level it was 89 percent was achieved.
The achievement has made possible the provision of 20 liter clean water per day per person in urban centers and 15 percent per person per day in rural parts with in 1.5 kilo meter radius. But at the end of GTP-II, the target to achieve the supply of water in rural part of the state is 25 liter per person per day and the radius is also reduced to 1 kilo meter.
The water supply target has also changed in the urban centers. Urban centers with a population size of 20 thousand up to 100 thousands are identified and will be provided from 40 to 100 liter per person respectively.
The water provision focuses only on the public. It is not for construction, industry, agriculture, livestock or green areas because the project goes in line with the financial capacity of the state's water bureau. In the year 2008 EC, the provision has reached to 58 percent and 57 percent in rural parts and in urban centers respectively. By the end of 2012 EC the bureau strives to reach the clean water coverage to 85 percent in rural parts of the state and 70 percent in the urban centers.
As it is obviously known, based on the ecological and geographical situation in every part of the state the amount of rainfall, surface and ground water varies.
Particularly there is a distinction between lowland and highland parts asked whether this situation is considered or not in water provision strategy, Tesfalem said that, when the plan prepared at national level the water provision program considered the right of citizens to get clean water but not geographical variations but when the states cascaded the national plan they considered the realities on the ground in their respective states.
As a state, for the lowland area needs more water for human beings and live stocks? The movement of animals for search of water and grazing land from place to place makes them physically weak and their byproducts such as milk and meat lose its market value. Hence, animals should get water in a close by area and for that, more effort is needed. In the highland areas also unless water is harvested from surface and ground water and supplied to both the public and animals the task of achieving the provision of clean water to all might face difficulties.
With regard to the construction of sufficient latrines in the rural parts of the state to contain the culture of open defection, Tesfalem said that, to achieve the one WASH program, strings and technical committee are established and works on the production, inspection and distribution of water to the public and evaluate the hygienic and sanitation aspect.
As water sector, the bureau used the health and educational institutions as a center for water provision. In addition,standardized latrines are constructed in these centers. In the schools latrines are constructed for teachers, staffs and students separately as per their gender difference. From time to time, to protect the community from waterborne diseases the bureau is implementing the regions sanitation and hygiene transformation plan.