Workshop on Improving Wastewater Management and Urban WASH

Africa Center of Excellence for Water Management (ACEWM) of Addis Ababa University (AAU) organized a workshop on “Improving Wastewater Management and Urban WASH in Ethiopia” in collaboration with Ministry of Water and Energy (MoWE), UNICEF and USAID at Capital Hotel on the 6th of October 2022.

Different scholars, sector practitioners, experts and academia from different sectors and organizations attended the workshop and shared local and global experiences on current and future challenges of wastewater management and Urban WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) in Ethiopia.

Ambassador Asfaw Dingamo, State Minister of MoWE, on his opening remark said that wastewater management and urban WASH has become a challenging and complex task both nationally and globally.

According to the Minster, in Ethiopia around 80 % of wastewater is discharged negligently into water ways throughout the year thereby creating environmental, health and climate related hazards.“Wastewater is one of the most potential resources we have on the earth which contains energy, water, organics, phosphates, nitrogen, cellulose and other valuable resources,” he added.

Today, the proper management of wastewater, treat and reusing provides potential alternative source of water in the area of increasing water scarcity, and promotes both human and ecosystem health which suppose the sustainable development goal 6.3 on improving water quality, treating and reusing wastewater,” he said.

Ambassador Asfaw admired the higher institutions’ involvement in the sector and promised that MoWE will nurture its commitment to collaborate with partners in the tasks of addressing the challenges of wastewater management and urban WASH.

Mitike Molla (PhD), Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer of AAU, said that the ACEWM is one of the three centers of excellence established in 2016 by the government of FDRE and World Bank group at Addis Ababa University.

Since its establishment, the Center has recorded important achievements including the accreditation of its PhD and MSc. programs devoted to Ethiopia and East Africa currently,” she highlighted.

 “The Center focuses on addressing specific development challenges in Africa by developing high skilled human resource which is capable of handling management problems in a holistic integration and transformative approach,” she added.

According to Dr. Mitike, more than 2 billion people are currently in challenge of accessing fresh water resources, and Ethiopia is one of the countries that face recurrent drought, poor infrastructure and lack of access to clean water.

Dr. Mitike further stated that the current expansion of industries, use of uncontrolled chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides are eventually contaminating water resources in lakes, rivers and underground that undergo threats to the health of the community and animals in general.

Innovation and transformation often required to achieve the UN sustainable development goal for management of water and sanitation for all. In this regard universities play key roles in advancing public attitude and creativity both regionally and internationally,” Dr. Mitike said.

Dr. Mitike underlined that the platform is expected to deliberate all urban WASH issues in major cities of Ethiopia in order to point out the existing and emerging challenges as well as filling development gaps.

AAU will continue to issue the implementation of this initiative by organizing various platforms in order to work together with key actors of the WASH as well as by teaching, doing different researches and improving the necessary capacity of the WASH sector,” she intensified finally.

Reporter: Tsion Aysheshim

Photographer: Fikremariam Beyene

Editor: Abraham Girmay