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The World Bank has agreed to finance two third of the 570 million birr required for the second drinking water expansion project for the city of Dire Dawa, 500km east of Addis. Nigussu Mengiste, head of the planning department of Water Supply and Sewerage Authority of the Dire Dawa City Administration, informed Capital. The project will be finalized before the end of the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) and will cost 570 million birr (31.6 million dollars), he said.

According to the planning head, from the total amount, the World Bank will cover 22.2 million dollars, while 4.2 million is a grant and the rest (9.4 million dollars) will be covered by the city administration.
The city administration has already approved 50 million birr for the part of the project to be undertaken this year alone. 
Currently, the city authority supplies 338 litres per second to the city, while the current demand is 553 litres per second. According to the document provided by the authority, the current water supply covers 76 percent of the total demand, but in the past fiscal year the authority has drilled three wells to increase the water supply up to 82 percent.
Kebede Gerba, State minister of Water and Energy, told Capital that the current finance allocation will allow the city authority to supply drinking water to the city’s population for the coming 20 years.
The first drinking water expansion project for Dire Dawa city had been inaugurated 20 years ago. Since then the city administration has not undertaken any water expansion project of great significance.
Currently, the growth in tourism and manufacturing investment in the city is increasing at a significant rate, therefore the city water demand has correspondingly gone up.
According to the feasibility study done, the administration has selected three water- well fields in different locations on the outskirts of Dire Dawa. “We will develop Tome and Boren water-well fields on this project,” Nigussu said.
The project includes water-well drilling, pipeline installation, reservoir and electromechanical works.
According to the State minister, one of the preconditions in regards to the project is the commencement of the ground work in this fiscal year, while it is expected to be completed in 2015, based on the plan.
Currently, most Ethiopian cities have a shortage of drinking water and Dire Dawa is one of the cities that have had significant drinking water problems in the past few years.