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Although people are happy and grateful to have the chance to own a condominium, the number one thing people complain about is water.
Water obviously has been something that residents of Addis Ababa have been complaining about, whether they live in a condominium or any other sort of house.
Water problems in condominiums, though, seem especially irritating. There isn’t one condominium I have been to that had regular running tap water.
When you go into these condos, people usually have big barrels and hoses to allow them to save water when it’s flowing.
In condominiums, it gets worse for those living on the upper floors. Even if there is water, the pressure is not strong enough to reach them.
This situation forces people to walk up and down the stairs fetching water.
This problem is something that has been talked about over and over but is yet to be resolved.
Now we have condominiums that are more than ten floors – the plans for these buildings show they’re constructed in a modern way, even including garbage chutes on every floor.
We are yet to get used to “modern” apartment living in this country. I can just imagine the problems that will emerge from misuse of different utilities in the building such as the elevator and the garbage chute.
With the above problems adding to the recurring water problem, these condos will basically become no better than regular old shacks.
Living in these buildings with water problems is even worse, as going up and down nine, ten or even eleven flights of stairs to fetch water should not be a fact of city life. The word ‘modern’ will only make sense when used sarcastically in this case.
So what should be done for the problem of drinking water that is affecting the entire city not just the habitants of condos?
I am no water expert so I cannot, with my level of knowledge regarding clean water supply for up and coming mega cities, come up with suggestions for the Addis Ababa City Administration.
What I can do, though, is keep the issue of water shortages in the spotlight. I am hoping that when the issue is talked about over and over again, something may be done.
You hear about Millennium Development Goals regarding water and sanitation coverage being improved, but if a person living in Addis Ababa, in the heart of the capital city, is struggling to find water, always worrying about it, waiting for it to show up through the pipes in the middle of the night, it is just ridiculous.
We, the residents, are not off the hook either. Most people are prone to wasting. I really believe that we have accepted wasting resources on a level which has almost become a culture in this country. We are wasting and evading responsibility at an unprecedented level.
These things add up and make existing problems even worse if not create new ones.
The same is true with water. How many public places have you gone to where bathroom tap water was open but there is nobody there to use the water? Perfectly good, clean water just goes down the drain completely wasted. I have seen only very few people taking notice of these and making the effort to close the taps.
Some establishments even post notices on the wall of bathroom areas for people to keep clean and close taps properly.
We seem to know the true value of things when we don’t have them anymore; our human nature seems to dictate that for us.
But like all things, nature can change. While we, those living in condominiums, or those in regular houses, have grounds to complain that whoever is in charge of supplying the city with water is not doing a good enough job, we still need to know that we also contribute to the problem.
Water is such a precious thing; it is one of those things that can exist abundantly but could be difficult to acquire. In a more civilized world, water is almost never wasted. It is recycled and reused for so many different purposes.
I hear in Singapore the government recycles sewage water and turns it into clean drinking water. Obviously, we have a long way to go before we start doing that here, but it starts with being responsible. Use it wisely, close those taps and stop wasting a drop.