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Access to drinking water, one of the targets of The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has been met by Ethiopia, it was announced on Tuesday at a conference held at the Sheraton Addis. The conference was attended by President Dr. Mulatu Teshome, State Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy Wondimu Tekle, as well as other government officials.
“Safe water supply and sanitation are among the basic human necessities, even though still a significant number of the world population lacks acces to these services. The population in developing countries, mainly women and children, are the most vulnerable groups in this regard,” Mulatu stated.
President Mulatu also said that access to adequate and safe water supply and basic sanitation services can have a significant impact on health, economic productivity, people’s dignity, and environmental protection, thus playing a key role in efforts to eradicate poverty and register socio-economic development.   
The 2015 assessment report by the UNICEF/WHO Global Joint Monitoring Programme for Water and Sanitation (JMP) shows that Ethiopia has met the target of improving the size of its population using safe drinking water to 57 percent and has attained the target by halving the number of people without access to safe water since 1990.
“Leadership is essential to the success of this achievement. Without the political commitment evidenced in the policies, strategies, standards and budgets, to reach to this level will be almost impossible,” said Wondimu Tekle, speaking on behalf of Alemayehu Tegenu, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy. .
He further said that the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy is closely working with Ministry of Health and Education in achieving universal access to primary health care services and primary school education, a key element of the national development agenda for the Ethiopian government.
“Achieving MDG 2 for universal primary school education, MDG 4 for reducing child mortality, and MDG 5 for reducing maternal mortality, are all closely linked to the quality and availability of institutional WASH [Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene] facilities. Water supply and sanitation facilities in schools and health facilities have a great influence on the quality of education and health care that these institutions provide,” the State Minister said.
The Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) that had been steering Ethiopia’s social and economic development  has placed water supply at the core of all future development agendas. The government’s heavy investment in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) combined with increased donor contribution enabled the rapid acceleration of water coverage in many parts of the country.
“The progress that has been made has been impressive, to say the least. But we know that the progress we are celebrating today comes as a result of many years of consistent investment in  time and resources at all levels. It has not been an easy achievement,” said Leila Pakkala, UNICEF Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa.
She further stated that the Ethiopian government has demonstrated that leadership, planning, partnership and investment are the ultimate ingredients for successful results.
“In doing so, they have ensured that water, a vital aspect of our lives and livelihoods, is helping positively transform the future of millions of children and their communities across the country,” Pakkala said.
Ethiopia has developed ONE WASH, a programme designed to ensure universal access to WASH services by 2015. The plan has a budget of USD 2.4 billion financed by public and  private organizations,  NGOs and donor investments.
According to the Global Joint Monitoring Programme, the total population in Ethiopia reached with safe water supply between 1990 and 2015 is 48 million. However, there are still 42 million Ethiopians without access to safe water. Of the 42 million Ethiopians who are not using improved water supplies, an estimated 33 million people are residing in rural areas and 9 million are living within towns and cities.