Water becoming a luxury for Addis residents


Many areas in the city lack proper tap water despite the responsible authority claiming that it have improved the supply. The Addis Ababa Water and Sewerage Authority (AAWSA) said it has improved supply recently and pushing for new projects to last the problem.
Residents of Addis Ababa are complaining water shortage nowadays. Nevertheless, the problem has been very serious for the last couple of weeks. “I cannot offer my customers water when they eat here,” said one restaurant owner around Saris area who requested anonymity. “This is bad as most of them think I intentionally said that in order to sell soft drinks that I have on the shelf. Only few of them know that there is an acute lack of water,” the restaurant owner told Capital. “In fact it is my responsibility to give them water because if something bad happens to them, I will be held accountable legally and morally.” she added.
“We don’t have water for the last five days or more,” said a guesthouse owner who lives around Gerji. “We were not prepared for it and we are losing our customers. The problem is if you don’t have water here, the toilets will be ruined” she told to Capital.  “The problem is worsening day by day and we are worried about our business. We don’t have any option to go for” the owner added. A woman, who said is a mother of four and lives around Shiromeda, when asked about the supply of water humored that she has forgot whether she has a pipe or not. “You just reminded me of having it,” she said. She is more fortunate than her neighbors because her son who is a taxi-driver brings her a couple of water cans from other areas of the city.
However, AAWSA claims that water supply has for the past two weeks been improved. “Of course there are some areas where the supply has been difficult because of their location and other issues,” Aseged Getachew, General Manager of AAWSA told Capital.  On top of difficult areas, which mostly is a reason for areas in the northern part of the city, the construction of roads and railways, electric power fallout, and pipe glitches are among the reasons the head attributed for the distribution problems. “As far as I know, the supply has been improved over the past two weeks and we are even trying to reach Shiromeda and other difficult areas in the Western part of the city by rationing from other few areas like Bole and Gerji.
Aseged hinted that it is impossible to raise distribution without increasing production, and he reminded that the government is working on new projects to increase water storage facilities to last the city’s water problem. According to him, a feasibility study has been conducted on Gerbi River, around 40km North of Addis and a tributary of Nile River. The project, which will have a production capacity of 100,000m3 water per day, will completely solve the water distribution problem for Northern part of the city, according to the head. “The feasibility study will be presented to the Council of Ministers and Prime Minister’s Office for endorsement in May,” he said. The project will cost 3 to 4 billion birr.
Aseged also said that other financers have also showed interest in financing the project.
There’s another project on Sibilu River, also in the North, as a long term plan. “It will cost 8 billion birr, and we will have to wait for some time,” said Aseged.
Legadadi and Dire Dams, Akaki Wells, and Gefarsa Dam, are water sources for the authority to supply residents.
The government claims to have upgraded the urban water coverage to 93 percent currently via its Universal Access Plan (UAP) over the past five years. It also aspires to further the coverage to 100 percent by 2015 at a cost of about 599 million USD, while expressing commitment to finance hygiene and sanitation at approximately 0.5 percent of total public expenditures over the next four years.