Water is essential for people, cattle and land. For this reason, public-private partnerships are helping people use water as fairly as possible. To achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs), parties need to work together. They must take everyone involved into account. To make water management sustainably and socially inclusive, one must involve vulnerable groups early on. The Sustainable Water Fund (FDW) helps public and private parties do this.
Water shortage in Ethiopia
One of the 40 public-private partnerships within FDW is the Awash project. Millions of people depend on the Awash River for their livelihoods. The river is over 1,000 kilometres long and is crucial for the region. “Water is essential for people, land and cattle,” explains Kumilachew Akawak Hirpa.
Mr Hirpa works as a farmer in an upriver area. He explains the problems, “When we use water during the dry season, there is not enough water left downstream. We need help to manage our water.”
Downstream, farmer Seido Tura never works during the dry season. “We do not work then because we do not have enough water. During the rainy season, the land and our crops flood.”
Using water without waste
Dutch and local partners are working together to distribute water. The Ethiopian Water Board and the regional governments manage the Awash project. Farmers are members of Water Groups. They pay water taxes to the Ethiopian Water Board. In exchange, the farmers receive a guaranteed supply of water.
Mr Hirpa describes the changes, “We now have an electric water pump and pay for the water we use. We no longer waste water.” This way, the farmers downstream will also have enough water. Mr Tura benefits from this approach, “This project is helping us to improve our lives sustainably.”
Together with partner Woord en Daad, the Water Board is planting trees in the river delta. The trees store water. Woord en Daad is building water storage facilities as well. During the rainy season, farmers and families collect water to use during the dry season.
Public-private partnerships make time to listen to the local community. They also take into account the local culture and social and political relationships. The public-private partnerships work with local farming cooperatives. By doing so, they make good use of the knowledge and ideas of those local groups.
FDW is working toward the goals of clean water and sanitation, decent work and economic growth. If you would like to know more about this project, watch our video.