Ethiopia: City and Regional Officials Clear 'Rumors' On Water Projects

Officials from the Oromia Regional State government and the City Administration of Addis Abeba are discussing a planned water development project in Legetafo Legedadi area that was announced two weeks ago.

Planned to cost 2.4 billion Br, the project was launched on April 20, 2019, by the City Administration. Two companies were hired to undertake the Legedadi Phase II Project, which is intended to benefit 860,000 residents in Addis Abeba and its surroundings.

A day after the project kickoff, news started to emerge on social media, stating that the regional state administration has requested a discussion with the officials of the City Administration to clear up some points of contention.

The two parties sat for the discussion last week to address the benefits of the Legedadi Phase II Project to communities in Addis Abeba's surroundings, including Legetafo Legedadi and Sendefa, according to Zerihun Abate, director of the Addis Abeba Water & Sewerage Authority.

"We are discussing how to ensure the equitable distribution of resources to the areas surrounding the capital," said Zerihun.

Admasu Damtew, head of Oromia Communications Affairs Office, accordingly said that they have talked with the people in order to get a better view of the situation.

"It is not to stop the project but to reduce the peoples' misunderstanding and counter various negative rumours posted on social media," read a statement released by the Oromia Communications Affairs Office on April 21, 2019, after a discussion was held between members of communities in the capital's surrounding areas and city officials.

The water project will include drilling 20 boreholes estimated to pump 86,000 cubic metres of water a day. The project also consists of the construction of 15 reservoirs that can each hold 2,000 to 10,000 cubic metres of water a day.

The project's owner is the Addis Abeba Water & Sewerage Authority, represented by Zerihun, that signed the agreement with Yemane Abraha, general manager of Aser Construction, and Jianqiong SUN, representative of CGCOC Group.

Ethiopian Design & Construction Supervision Works Corporation has taken over the supervision work.

Addis Abeba, whose residents make up about four percent of the nation's population, only receives enough water to cover two-thirds of demand. With 575,000 cubic metres of daily supply, the city's access to potable water stands at 61pc.

Recently, 440,000 residents in Koye Fiche, Qilinto and Tuludimtu areas became beneficiaries of eight water wells constructed by Aser and CGCOC at a cost of 1.2 billion dollars.

"There is no problem with making demands for resources that are being used as long as they are addressed through constitutional means," said Yacob Arsano, a lecturer and researcher in conflict resolution for more than a decade at Addis Abeba University.

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