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Policy recommendations to achieve Ethiopia's ambitious goal of reaching 100% coverage with at least basic drinking water service by 2030 and ensuring sustainability.

TitleImproving rural water supply financing in Ethiopia
Publication TypeBriefing Note
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsLemecha, G
Paginationii, 10 p. : 3 fig., 2 tab.
Date Published01/2022
PublisherIRC Ethiopia
Place PublishedAddis Ababa, Ethiopia
Type of WorkPolicy Brief
Publication LanguageEnglish

In monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), all countries are ranked by their overall score. This overall score measures a country's total progress towards achieving the SDGs. Ethiopia’s SDG Index scores a meagre 54.5 and therefore has a very low Index Ranking 136/165 (Figure 1). Access to at least basic drinking water improved only by 7.5% over 6 years, from 42.1% in 2015 to 49.6% in 2020 (JMP report 2021). Ethiopia is one of the countries that may be considered ‘off track’ on the pathway to meeting the 2030 drinking water SDG. The urgency to explore more innovative approaches to addressing the water access challenge is affirmed with the SDG Index score and ranking.

graph from SDG report

Figure 1: From Sustainable Development Report 2021 SDG Index

In 2020, 23.6% of Ethiopia’s population drinks water from unimproved and surface water sources (JMP, 2021). The water access problem is accentuated by the shortage of finance and the lack of sustainability mechanisms for water supply services. A draft National WASH Inventory II (2021) report indicates that the non-functionality of rural water supply in Ethiopia is between 17 and 47% (average of 19%). Key challenges in the WASH sector attributed to the high rate of non-functionality include - low level of WASH financing, lack of a spare part supply chain, lack of financing Life Cycle Cost (LCC), absence of a functional monitoring system, lack of timely preventive maintenance the issue of competency of caretakers, and lack of timely back up support from service authority (Woreda Government).

In addition to scaling up and increasing water access to unserved communities, it is equally important to design an approach that ensures sustainability of the services for the served segment of the communities.

To achieve Ethiopia’s ambitious goal of reaching 100% coverage with at least basic drinking water service by 2030, the following policy improvements/implementation in relation to ensuring sustainability are recommended:

  1. Increase WASH sector finance
  2. Life Cycle Cost financing
  3. Rural tariff setting/revision
  4. Functional monitoring system
  5. National standard of service authority
  6. Spare part supply chain
Citation Key88357




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