Water Security: Addressing the Water Shortage in Ethiopia

If you have read about water scarcity in Ethiopia, you know how important it is to find ways of providing the people in the poorest regions of the country with water security. 

Water security truly changes lives! When communities are provided with a safe water supply, people’s health improves, women have more time to focus on other things and don’t have to set out in the dark on hours-long walks to polluted water sources, and girls are freed to attend school.

There is water in Ethiopia, but the infrastructure to get it to where it is needed is not in place. Rainbow for the Future is helping provide sustainable development solutions to the issue of water security. Each time a community receives the gift of water, lives are changed.

Water Security Has Been Provided in Ethiopia By:

  • Installing micro-dams that allow communities to reroute water so they can capture and store enough to see them through dry seasons
  • Installing underground cisterns to capture and store rainwater
  • Purchasing a solar pump for a community water project in central Ethiopia
  • Installing a water system for Didimtu, with the source outside the high fluoride area (too much fluoride in the water has detrimental health impacts)
  • Expanding the Didimtu water system to Bati Kelo and Bati Boro
  • Installing the Seke water system, with new lines, source, storage, and distribution to 42 water points in Seke Town
  • Installing a solar-powered pumping system for the Seke Town water system
  • Supporting 20 hand-dug wells in Butajera area to bring low-fluoride water to the population as part of a health and sanitation initiative

As one woman said, “I feel so happy having water at my doorstep, 24 hours a day, knowing that my children and I are safe from water related diseases. We used to get water from vendors at exorbitant price of 50 cents for a Jeri can (20 liters) but now I only pay 25 cents for it and it takes me less than 10 minutes to get the water.” From Where a Bird Meets a Fish in the Sky, Leo Seguin

There is water in Ethiopia, but the infrastructure to get it to where it is needed is not in place.

Water Diversions

Water diversions involve diverting water from rivers to irrigation ditches, allowing gravity to bring the water to farmers’ fields. In sustainable development projects, the local people do the work of creating the concrete and earthen channels that carry the water, and no pumps are required to move the water.

These projects are fully sustainable, creating fertile valleys in the middle of desert. The people are able to grow a variety of crops, such as oranges, maize, sorghum, coffee, bananas, mangos, and papaya, allowing them to feed themselves and providing a source of income. Crops are produced twice a year, keeping food and money flowing. In many cases, a water diversion project feeds more than 10,000 people while costing around CDN $200,000.

The people who do the work are often paid in grain or cash. It’s a food-for-work program that meets their immediate needs and provides a self-sustaining food source for the future. In some cases, incomes can increase by as much as 2,000%, giving the people economic prosperity and dignity.

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