Analysis and Recommendations for the Provision of Safe Water to Wukro, Ethiopia
The Tigray region is the northernmost of nine ethnic regions located in Ethiopia; it is composed of 35 districts. Wukro is a town that lies in the district with the same name in eastern Tigray. Wukro has a gravity-fed distribution system that obtains water from two reservoirs filled from four deep wells; this system serves about 106,250 people. However, beyond the limits of the distribution system, shallow wells are the main source of drinking water, and rivers are used as secondary water sources. These alternative sources provide water to communities that range from 300 to a 1,000 people that need to walk up to 1 hour to get water. Microbial contamination has been reported to be the main cause of illnesses in the region and such contamination seems to be primarily the result of the handling and transporting process between the water sources and each individual household. The lack of safe water combined with poor sanitation practices originates recurrent transmission of waterborne diseases among these communities of Wukro.
The CEE 449 team in collaboration with Addis Ababa University and The Relief Society of Tigray (REST) is fundamental for the development of this initiative as they constitute the SGWI liaisons to establish effective interactions with the communities of Wukro. Point-of-use water treatment approaches at the household level, protected bore wells, and rain water harvesting systems are alternative solutions considered for the various communities without access to the main distribution system. In addition, improving sanitation practices and facilities will significantly improve the quality of the drinking water in these communities. A strong educational program coordinated with our local partners is necessary to emphasize the importance of adequate transport, management, and safe storage of water.