BY NEW BUSINESS ETHIOPIA REPORTER
There are close to 30 million Ethiopians who lack access to safe and reliable sources of drinking water, new report of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reveals.
The Joint Monitoring Report (JMP) 2012 update reports that the percentage of population using improved drinking water sources is 44 percent (97 percent urban and 34 percent rural). Meanwhile, according to the ambitious 2010 Growth and Transformation Plan of Ethiopia, the water supply coverage is 65.8 percent (91.5 percent urban and 62 percent rural).
The difference in between the Government and JMP figures can be explained in part by different definitions of improved water source, according to press statement of UNICEF.
“Access to sanitation and water supply continues to grow at a steady pace, and the Government of Ethiopia’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) program and policies are widely regarded as among the most progressive and effective in the world”, says Ted Chaiban, UNICEF Ethiopia country representative.
“However, much still remains to be done to address the rural population that needs safe drinking water for their daily needs. We need to minimize the rural-urban divide for safe drinking water which is 30 percentage points in Ethiopia. Simultaneously we need to reach out to hard to reach areas to ensure equity in our approach”.
The Ethiopian Government has laid out ambitious plans for water, sanitation and hygiene through its “Universal Access Plan II” – which seeks to reach 98.5% access to safe water and 100 percent access to sanitation by 2015 (far more ambitious than the MDGs).
In order to reach these targets, innovative, cost-effective sector-wide approaches are needed. The cost of achieving these targets will be significant. Recent estimates suggest reaching the “UAP” targets by 2015 could cost as much as 3.01 billion US dollars. Current levels of investment are only about one third of this estimated resource requirement.
In its statement UNICEF also noted that it is supporting the Government and its partners to accomplish this in the WASH sector. Among others, Under its WASH program UNICEF has been contributing to drilling and self-supply as service delivery mechanisms for rural water in order to reaching out to more than 30 percent citizens who do not have access to safe water.
According to Federal Ministry of Health 2009 report (Health Sector Development Plan (HSDP) IV Annual Performance Report 2009/2010) the national coverage of sanitation stands at 60 percent with urban coverage ahead of rural coverage (88 and 56 percent, respectively).