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The Poor and Differential Access to Water in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Part of the Advances in African Economic, Social and Political Development book series (AAESPD)

Abstract

Large numbers of people, especially in the poor urban areas of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, have experienced problems of access to reliable and adequate potable water. This paper focuses on issues of equity, particularly access to safe and clean water in the poor areas of Addis Ababa. This paper is based on the results of a survey conducted in Addis Ababa in 2010. The key objective of the study was to assess access to water of the poor. The study covered water use; consumption patterns; availability and reliability of water; gender; income; monthly water expenditure and time taken to fetch water from existing sources. The results indicated that more than 60 % of the sample households use more than 20 l per person per day. Most households pay a relatively high price for drinking water. In the main poor households rely on water vendors for their water. We argue that the poor in Addis Ababa have differential access to water which is inherently discriminatory.

Keywords

  • Water Supply
  • Water Service
  • Urban Poor
  • Tariff Rate
  • Sample Household

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    This paper reports on a survey of 150 households undertaken in the Akaki sub-city of Addis Ababa. Akaki sub-city is one of 10 administrative units in Addis Ababa. Each sub-city is divided into a number of spatial units referred to as kebeles. The number of households was obtained from the 2007 population and housing census of Ethiopia for each kebele. The proportion of the number of households in each kebele to the total number of households in the urban unit was calculated and this proportion was used to determine the number of sample households from each kebele to be included in the sample. Therefore, proportional allocation of the sample was made on the basis of homogeneity of the socio-economic groupings. The required sample households were then selected within each kebele. From the total sample respondents, 70 % were heads of households. The average family size of the total sample household was 4.1, and ranged from 1 to 11. The age of the respondents ranged from 25 to 73 of which 56 % were women. The average age of respondents was 42 years. The average monthly income of the total sample was ETB 713.13 ranging from a maximum of ETB 3600 to a minimum of ETB 250 per month.

  2. 2.

    Kebele is the lowest administrative unit in an urban centre.

  3. 3.

    With regard to the type of water supply source and household uses it was ascertained that all the respondents used piped water. However, of the total respondents, 64.7 % used public water taps (community taps in a public area), 16.7 % used private taps, 9.3 % used yard taps and 9.3 % got water from vendors as their primary source. What is apparent here is that 83.3 % of the households depended primarily on public taps, yard taps and vendors or kiosk taps. The rest, 16.7 % of the households, use private taps as their primary water source. This water is supplied by AAWSA.

  4. 4.

    The survey results reveal that households from the low income areas consume less than 1.2 m3 and spend ETB 14.63 per month. Households from the private taps consume a maximum of 2.2 m3 and above per month, and spend ETB 10.80 per month. Households from low-income areas spend, on average, 5.84 % of their monthly income, whereas middle income earners (those who have private taps) spend 1.30 % of their monthly income on water.

  5. 5.

    Households are spending on average approximately ETB 13.21/m3 (US$ 1.10/m3) for water. The majority of the people who collect water from public taps pay about 4 times more than the standard water tariffs for piped water supply set by the AAWSA. Poor people who pay 10–20 cents per 20 l-container from the public taps, pay 5–10 ETB per m3; while those with house connections pay 0.50 or 1.00 ETB per m3. Domestic users pay ETB1.75/m3 for using up to 7 m3 of water, ETB3.15 for using 8–20 cubic metres, and ETB 3.80 for any consumption above 21 m3.

  6. 6.

    Around 15 % of households were found to use less than 10 lpcd; 22 % of households used 10–20 lpcd; 33.33 % of households used 20–30 lpcd; and 16 % of households used 30–40 lpcd while the rest, 13.33 % of households, used more than 40 lpcd of water. The mean value of the per capita water use was 19.98 lpcd. The average per capita water consumption of more than 37 % of the sample households was less than 20 lpcd. This is low compared to the WHO recommendation of 20 l per person per day which is considered as adequate for domestic use or for basic access (UN 2001). These figures are comparable to AAWSA reported water consumption of 15–30 lpcd for households using public taps and yard taps as well. The average monthly consumption of water for each household is less than 1,200 l, which ranges from a minimum of less than 1,200 l (80 % of households) to a maximum of 2,200 l (9.5 % of households). The survey results reveal that the majority of households consume less than 1,200 l of water. Furthermore, these households are from the low income group, and do not have a private connection.

  7. 7.

    Around 72.7 % of the households get their water from a primary source at a distance of less than 250 m of which 56.7 % get water at a distance of less than 50 m. Only 27.3 % of the households have to travel more than 250 m.

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Woldemariam, B., Narsiah, S. (2014). The Poor and Differential Access to Water in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In: Asuelime, L., Yaro, J., Francis, S. (eds) Selected Themes in African Development Studies. Advances in African Economic, Social and Political Development. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-06022-4_3

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