Evaluation of Addis Ababa Water Supply System Using Integrated Approach

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Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Construction and City Development, Addis Ababa University, 2019. The city of Addis Ababa gets water from Dire, Gefersa, and Legedadi reservoirs as well as miscellaneous boreholes concentrated around Akaki and scattered at both inside outside the city. Previous studies on Addis Ababa’s urban water supply are fragmented focusing on specific issues without presenting the holistic view of the system. In the present study, we assess range of aspects of the city’s water supply system in the past, present and future periods. Data were obtained through a literature review of relevant documents, personal communication, household interviews, and key informant interviews. The time series data were analyzed by stratifying the time periods, water source, and water supply branches. Descriptive statistics and various plots were used to present the most important characteristics of water consumption and production data. Addis Ababa was initially served by springs located at the foot of the Intoto mountain ridge together with a series of hand dug wells. Population growth, improved standard of life, economic diversification, and increased urban dynamics have increased the water demand over the past several decades. This has led to water source diversification (in terms of location and source type) and complex network system (due to hybrid sourcing, increased customer water line connections, pipeline aging, pressure variations related to topographic variations, service reservoirs, pumping and/or booster stations). In 2014/2015, surface and groundwater sources contributed somewhat equally (51% and 49 %, respectively) and supplied about 49 % of the demand with 45% Non-Revenue Water. Nearly half of the water demand of the city is not met. This supply deficit is causing frequent supply interruptions. The utility is supplying water via water trucks for low pressure areas where water does not reach easily. There are also efforts to develop additional groundwater sources at various well fields and develop the Sibilu and Gerbi dams. When all the proposed projects are completed, 971,483m3/d additional water will be added to the existing water supply which will increase the supply by 273%. While efforts to increase water supply are encouraging, demand side management deserves more attention than it is receiving currently. WEAP model simulations have shown significant unmet future demand for the city even with complete implementation of the proposed projects. Households with greater number of supply failures tend to have the least access to drinking water. Similarly, both water quantity and water quality are deteriorating. A good example of water quality problem is the 2017/18 outbreak of cholera incidence. Customers are highly dissatisfied with the current service delivery characterized by long time persistent problems. Unless the water utility takes immediate action to solve these problems, the current situation which is affecting the health and economic status of water customers will exacerbate. In this study, it is identified that the major causes of the lack of adequate water supply in the city are depletion of groundwater sources, huge leakage volume, population growth, construction boom or enhanced economic activity and wasting of water by customer at lower parts of the city. Unless demand side and supply side management measures are enhanced, the gap between supply and unmet demand will resume as is.


A Dissertation Submitted to the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development in Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Planning


Addis Ababa, Water supply, WEAP Model, Urban water management, Water loss