May 4 , 2019

Ethiopia is receiving a new facility for irrigation and water management training at a cost of 130 million Br.

The project, expected to be operational after three months, is under construction with workshops and facilities to provide training for water and wastewater treatment, irrigation systems, electricity, electromechanical and renewable energies.

The construction of the institute includes a two-storey building designated for offices, classrooms, workshops, a meeting room, trainers’ rooms and a computer lab. It will also have two laboratories for water physio-chemical, microbiological, agricultural and educational uses. The facility will also house a cultivation field with greenhouses, sheds and well-drilling areas.

Sprawling over a 2,640Sqm plot, the centre will have an enrollment capacity of 150 trainers and 1,000 trainees. It is located in Aqaqi Qality District in front of the head office of the Addis Abeba Light Rail Transit and inside the premises of the Ethiopian Water Technology Institute. The Institute was re-established six years ago, started offering training in 2015 and currently enrolls 2,700 trainees.

The training centre will contribute to the development and management of water and irrigation sustainability, according to Wasihun Alemayehu, corporate communications director of the Institute, which was named the Ethiopian Water Technology Education Centre when it was formed in 1997 with the technical assistance of the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

“Even if Ethiopia is called 'the water tower of East Africa,'" said Wasihun, "still the country cannot assure clean water for all."

King Mohammed VI Foundation for Sustainable Development, which was initiated in 2001 by the Moroccan king, financed the building of the new training centre.

The project was kicked off in July 2018, following the Memorandum of Understanding signed three years ago by Sileshi Bekele (PhD), minister of Water, Irrigation & Energy, and Mostafa Terrab (PhD), president of King Mohammed VI Foundation.

The project was awarded to Seprob, a Moroccan company that later outsourced it to the 17-year-old local firm, Bamacon Engineering, which previously constructed the Embassy of Rwanda and the plant of Kanoria Africa Textile. My Consulting Architects & Engineering is supervising the project.

Jemal Mohammed, an expert on water supply sanitation and environmental engineering for three decades and who currently manages Blue Matrix Consultancy Plc, is positive about the project but believes that it is too late.

"To use our water resource properly, we need such training centres as early as possible," said Jema. "And such kinds of training institutions should also be built in regional cities."

Apart from the current training centre, the Institute is building a water laboratory with a 100 million Br investment from the government budget. The construction of the laboratory was started last year and is expected to be finalised next year.

The water laboratory aims to address the problem related to water pollution and contamination issues, according to Tamene Hailu, director general of the Institute.

The Institute, which operates with 200 employees, gives 15 types of practical training. It also conducts studies and research that facilitate water resource development. Last year the Institute inaugurated its office, training and dormitory buildings, which were completed through bilateral cooperation between the Ethiopian and Japanese governments.

PUBLISHED ON May 04,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 992]

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