Ethiopia Water Technology Institute (EWTI) says capacity building in the water sector is crucial to optimally utilize nation's water resources.
The Institute further emphasizes that institutional weakness and malfunctions are the major causes to ineffective and unsustainable water services in the nation.
As evidences indicate, water resources are becoming increasingly scarce due to over exploitation, wastage, population growth, socioeconomic development and industrialization and other similar exacerbating factors.
According to a recently conducted study, one billion people still lack access to safe water and close to three billion have to do without proper sanitation globally. Moreover four million children die each year as a result of threats related to lack of clean portable water and water-borne diseases.
EWTI's Water Technology Education and Training Directorate Director Zewdu Seifu explains that water supply, sanitation and irrigation policies are outdated. Institutions also do not have trained professionals in the sector.
Considering this fact and recognizing the importance of capacity building process for sustainable development at a national, regional and local levels, federal and state governments of Ethiopia are currently working to build the capacity of professionals and improve sector's efficiency, Zewdu points out.
According to Zewdu, the government has been making efforts on human resource development in the water sector to improve the quality of decision making, technical performance and efficiency in the sector at all levels.
Contrary to this fact, there is discrepancy to fulfill and manage the ever growing water supply and demand which is escalating rapidly following country's socioeconomic development.
He says adding "The Institute is upgrading the implementation of capacity building in the stream by improving the capacity of professionals in the area and water technology training colleges as part of the second Growth and Transformation Plan."
The Institute has planned to offer training to 4,625 personnel in various areas including ground water investigation and management, drilling technology, water supply engineering, electrical maintenance technology, well rehabilitation and diagnosis, irrigation and drainage, water and waste management, Geographical Information System (GIS) and remote sensing, project planing and management, contract administration, sewerage engineering under the second Growth and Transformation Plan year (GTP-II).
Mentioning the major challenges in the path towards improving the organizational structure of the sector, Zewdu states , deficiency in practical training facilities and laboratories, shortage of professionals in the field are among the major challenges hampering the ongoing efforts made to improve organizational capacity.
According to a study by Frank Hartvelt on Capacity Building Program for Sustainable Water Sector Development, the inadequacy of water services as well as competition for clean water has inspired a remarkable consensus among developing countries and external support agencies on the need for integrated planning and management of the resource and its use. Capacity building in particular is now widely regarded as a key element in ensuring sustainable water sector development.
EWTI was established as one of the very essential institutes during the first GTP period with this same purpose, according to Zewdu.