The projects will pump water for 134,000 residents

May 11 , 2019

Two projects that will provide water access to 134,000 residents in Fiche and Geber Guracha towns, Oromia Regional State, will become operational on May 25, 2019.

Jointly financed by the French Development Agency, European Investment Bank and the Italian Development Agency, the projects cost 276 million Br in total. The financing was pledged to the Ministry of Water Irrigation & Electricity and then channeled to the Oromia Water, Mineral & Energy Bureau, the owner of the project.

The two projects solve the water shortage problem in the two towns, according to Musa Hajji, coordinator at Basket Fund under the Oromia Water, Mineral & Energy Bureau (OWMEB).

The Geber Guracha potable water project costs over 136 million Br and provides water to 60,000 residents. Located 156Km from the capital, the project has six water wells and is split into two phases, civil work and distribution.

Mattioli Joint Venture, an Italian firm, and two local firms, Bigeta Construction & Business Plc and Amhara Water Works Construction Enterprise, have jointly executed the first phase of the project. Bigeta completed the second phase.

The project was completed within the time frame set, according to Tesfaye Hirko, water utility manager of Gebere Guracha.

The new water well will increase the water coverage of the area to 90pc from the former 23pc.

"Previously, the residents of the town were getting water once a week," said Tesfaye, "but the new supply will enable them to get water 24/7."

The other water project Fiche, which gives water access to 74,633 residents, was built with 140.5 million Br. Located 112Km from Addis Abeba, the project has eight wells.

Residents of Fiche used to get water from two deep-water wells and 15 headwaters and the water coverage was 35pc. The completion of the Fiche water project will push the water coverage of the area to 80pc.

Phase one construction of the Fiche water project was executed by a joint force of Gtb Engineering, Mattioli J.V. and Amhara Water Works Construction Enterprise. Sodak Construction undertook phase two.

The phase one construction included deep well drilling and the installation of three water tanks with capacities of holding 3.2 million litres. The construction of generator and pump houses was delayed as the contractor had 15 projects simultaneously, according to Adugna Tolcha, manager of Fiche Town Water Utility.

Ms-Consulting,  an independent private organization established in 1999, has supervised the construction of the projects for both sites. While Blue Matrix Consultancy, a Grade-I consulting firm in water supply sanitation and environmental engineering, oversaw the construction of phase two for both sites.

Beyond giving access to water for the residents, the project could potentially attract investment to the areas, according to Jemal Mohammed, an expert in the area of water, drainage and sewerage management for the past two decades.

"It can attract hotels and other service-based businesses," Jemal said.

Currently, Oromia Regional State water has water coverage of 63.8pc. The figure at a national level was 71.1pc, while in a rural areas it was 73.9pc, and 60.2 in urban parts, by the end of the past fiscal year.

In the second edition of the Growth & Transformational Plan (GTP II), the government plans to increase access to water in urban and rural areas to 75pc and 85pc, respectively.

Access is defined as being able to find 25 litres of water each day within a one-kilometre distance for rural areas. And in urban areas, access is defined as being able to find at least 40 litres of water within 250m.

PUBLISHED ON May 11,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 993]

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