Hawassa, Ethiopia - Today, USAID’s Sustainable Water and Sanitation in Africa (SUWASA) activity officially handed over 14 new water facilities to the residents and the administration of Hawassa, the capital city of the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region of Ethiopia. The new facilities, completed in February 2014, have already brought significant health benefits to 12,600 residents of three low-income settlements of Addis Katema, Tulu and Tabor.
The new facilities include a water kiosk built near Meselech Yoseph’s home in Tulu, one of the Hawassa settlements included in the project. For Meselech, easy access to clean water is a reason to celebrate.
“For the past 10 years, we have been fetching more than 20 liters of water a day from Lake Hawassa,” she said. “The water was not clean; therefore we suffered from waterborne diseases such as diarrhea caused by worms. Pregnant women also had to carry out this difficult task.”
Meselech is happy that her family and neighbors can now benefit from the clean water supplied by the Hawassa utility.
With the new facilities, it takes residents only five minutes to fetch water, a major improvement from the 30 minutes required before. Also, the cost for 20 liters of water is only 25 cents in Ethiopian birr (about $0.013), a rate five times lower than the amount residents used to pay private vendors for the same amount of water.
The new facilities include water kiosks, which are based on an innovative design developed and promoted by the Water Services Trust Fund of Kenya. As part of a regional partnership facilitated by USAID, the Kenyan trust fund worked hand-in-hand with the water sector in Ethiopia to help establish the kiosks. This model of water supply encourages local private-sector management of the facilities and ensures that the community is fully involved in selecting the manager and providing security for the systems.
The water facilities are an important component of USAID’s two-year partnership with the Hawassa Town Water Supply and Sewerage Services Enterprise, the Regional Water Resources Bureau and Hawassa’s city administration. The collaboration aimed to help introduce commercial practices to Hawassa’s utility, allowing it to provide efficient and sustainable water service.
The partnership, established in February 2011, produced new accounting and financial reporting practices that increased the Hawassa utility’s efficiency and improved record keeping. The efforts also led to new tariffs that have provided the basis for the utility’s financial health. In addition, a new five-year business plan set out performance goals and established a schedule for improving water delivery to underserved areas, a critical step toward achieving equity and accountability for customers.
These changes are expected to transform the performance of the utility and benefit Meselech and her fellow residents by offering improved, sustained and affordable water services.
Last updated: April 16, 2014