Water Safety Plan for host community and refugee camps in Gambella, Ethiopia
IHE Delft joined forces with the local water utility in Gambella, Ethiopia to start up the development of a Water Safety Plan for Itang water supply system.
The Itang water supply system is a multi donor project to provide safe water to 200,000 refugees in three camps.
The donors include multilateral organizations UNICEF and UNHCR, non-governmental organisations Oxfam and IRC and local consultants. IHE Delft led a four-day training.
Unpredictable security situation
Gambella region in Western Ethiopia rose to fame when, in 2013, the brutal conflict in South Sudan drove thousands of people from their homes and into this neighbouring region.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 422,240 South Sudanese refugees were living in 7 refugee camps in the Gambella region in October 2018.
The security situation in the region remains unpredictable, with recent security incidents affecting refugees, host communities and humanitarian workers, which have included fatalities (UNHCR, 2019).
Basic services for refugees
Numerous actors are engaged in providing basic services for the refugees and host communities. At present, 13.5 million litres of water are supplied across the regions in Ethiopia hosting refugees, representing an average per capita distribution of 20 litres of water per person per day (UNHCR, 2019).
However, there are plans to further improve services, with a specific focus on water safety.
The 4-day training was led by Giuliana Ferrero, Senior Lecturer in Water Supply Engineering at IHE Delft, and was attended by 17 participants.
The training consisted of short lectures and group work; a lot of emphasis was placed on discussing leadership and accountability for the implementation of the Water Safety Plan in the months and years to come. The output of the training was a draft Water Safety Plan document, which is the basis for future work.
General Manager Koat Jing of the Itang Water Utility said: “From this training, I appreciated the value of strategic monitoring mechanisms developed as part of the Water Safety Plan. They enable a better understanding of the vulnerabilities of the system and can lead to enhanced safety of any water supply”.