Providing clean drinking water in Entoto, Ethiopia

Residents of Entoto, an ancient hillside village near Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, will soon have sustainable and safe access to clean drinking water thanks to funding by the Halcrow Foundation.

The village is located high in the Entoto hills and home to just over 2,000 people. It’s the site of the Yengus Wuha spring which used to supply the village with water, but has been out of action for decades as a result of soil subsidence.

Without clean water for drinking, washing and hand washing, and by sharing water sources with livestock, Entoto residents – particularly children – are susceptible to waterborne diseases. This stops them going to school and work which affects their education and productivity, and forces people already living in poverty to pay for medical treatment. Without clean, local water women and girls must travel to find a water source in the dense forests surrounding Entoto, which also makes them vulnerable to sexual harassment and attack.

Sustainable and safe supply

The Halcrow Foundation is working with Environmentalists Development Association-Ethiopia (EDA-E), a non-government organisation it’s worked with on previous projects, to supply Entoto with a sustainable source of clean drinking water.

The project involves several components, including developing the Yengus Wuha Spring, constructing a collecting chamber to store the water, installing a pump, connecting the pump site to an electrical grid, constructing a reservoir with four water points and laying water pipes.

EDA-E will work with the villagers to form a Water Committee to manage the water supply. Its role will be to resolve disputes and regulate a water pricing and payment scheme in order to fund repairs and maintenance and ensure the project’s sustainability. EDA-E will also train two villagers to repair damaged water points and replace taps.

Reducing sickness and poverty

The project will have a huge impact on the villagers’ quality of life, particularly for women and children. Not only will it reduce health risks associated with drinking unclean water, it will allow people to be more productive, create more jobs, and reduce violence and harassment against women and girls who collect water from springs in the forests.

Female residents will also spend less time collecting water every day, which gives them more opportunity to study or generate greater household income, therefore improving education and reducing poverty.

The benefits of a clean, safe water supply will extend beyond people living in the village. Entoto attracts a large number of visitors every day who seek traditional healing in the local churches, and the high altitude makes the area popular for elite athlete training. A safe, sustainable water supply system would enable local entrepreneurs to open restaurants, cafes and other services aimed at visitors and tourists, further improving life opportunities for people living in Entoto.

About EDA-E

EDA-E was established in 2006 and focuses on improving the livelihood of people in rural Ethiopia through general environmental protection tasks and improved natural resource management. It has worked on 23 water supply projects which benefit over 45,000 people, including the Halcrow Foundation funded-project in Tullu Nacha, Ethiopia.