9 June 2018

Ethiopia: Bureau Blesses Residents With Pure Water

The projects cost 51.7 million Br and benefit 100,000 people

One hundred thousand residents of the Oromia Regional State have got pure water from water wells. The regional state has invested 51.7 million Br for the project.

These residents in the Mukalemi and Ayele towns in Wollega and Belbeliti town in West Hararge zones were getting water from boreholes. The Oromia Water, Mineral & Energy Bureau financed the project by hiring Yonas Berhanu Waterworks Contractor, Bigetta Business Plc and Hecon General Contractor for the project. Oromia Water Works Design & Supervision Enterprise, owned by the regional state and established in 2006, supervised the projects.

Both Mukalemi and Belbeleti water projects pump eight litres of water a second, while the Ayele project pumps 14 litres a second.

The Mukalemi project cost the Bureau 21.7 million Br had its contractual agreement signing in June 2016 and was expected to be completed in 18 months. It has been given to Yonas Berhanu, a grade two contractor that was established in 2011 and has experience on Osse Water Project in the Southern Nations, Nationalities & Peoples Region (SNNPR) and Tullo and Garakufa projects in Oromia Regional State.

"There was no such significant challenge encountered during construction," says Yonas Berhanu, general manager of the company.

The Belbeliti project has been signed on the same date as that of the Mukalemi one with a similar completion date. It was given to Bigetta, a grade one contractor established almost a decade ago and has experience working on Dembidollo, Gebreguracha and Bishoftu water supply expansion projects. The Belbeliti water project cost 20 million Br and included the building of a 100,000lt water reservoir.

"There was some delay in the provision of pipes and fittings, hence, it did not affect the time of completion," Teshome Tagesse, general manager of the company.

The third project, in Ayele town, was awarded to Hecon General Construction Plc, a Grade three contractor, which was established in 2003 and specialises in water supply and irrigation projects. Hecon General has previously worked on Gebo Irrigation Project in East Wollega, that has a capacity of irrigating 260ha, for six million Birr. It is also constructing an irrigation project at Ashimk, Shoa Robbit which could supply 300ha of land for 10 million Br.

Unlike the two projects, whose contractors procured the accessories by themselves, this one has delayed for a year. And the manager of the company, Eshete Demisse, attributes the delay to the Bureau stating that it failed to provide them with pipes and fittings.

Gurmessa Oljira, the contract administrator at the Bureau, admits the deficiency of his office, referring the two successful projects.

"The two projects were completed without hassles, as the contractors managed the electromechanical supplies," he told Fortune.

A civil engineer with 15 years of experience in the consultancy business related to water supply and sanitation, explains that the causes of delay in water supply projects are multi-sectoral as they are related with multidisciplinary professions.

"Capacity and ethical gaps from contractors and drilling companies, and the foreign currency crunch for accessory suppliers are among the common pushing factors of delays," said Jemal Mohammed.

Though the projects become operational, they are operating with generators as the Ethiopian Electric Utility (EEU) could not install transformers in the towns, according to Gurmessa. Due to this, according to him, the Bureau, which has allocated three billion Birr for water supply projects this year, is exposed to additional costs for generators.

"For the transformers, we paid 3.6 million Br," he told Fortune.


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