1.1. Background of the study
Water is the very basis for sustenance of life. It is the most essential necessity of life after oxygen. The importance of water is not only attached to the drinking but also to cooking, bathing, washing and other activities. Anything that disturbs the provision and supply of water, therefore, tends to disturb the very survival of humanity. Where provisions for water and sanitation are inadequate, the diseases that arise from contaminated water, food and hands are among the world’s leading causes of premature death and serious illness (Yewondossen, 2012).
Sufficient potable water supply is one of the basic urban services, which highly affects the economic progress of towns and the health of their people. However, many urban centers around the world are facing serious problem of water supply. The problem in most of third world countries, including Ethiopia, is particularly worst and multidimensional.
Thus, clean potable water is an absolute prerequisite for healthy living. The importance of water in human welfare cannot be over-emphasized in the saying “water is life”. The normal functioning of the human body depends entirely upon an adequate quantity and quality of water. But if the water is from contaminated sources, it causes numerous water-associated diseases (Tesfaye and Zeyede, 2004).
Due to the rapid population growth and uncontrolled residential development witnessed in most developing countries, the global urban environment is seriously being degraded in terms of service delivery (UN-Water 2007). Water supply is the public utilities that have been worst hit by this scenario. These facilities are necessary commodities in household and municipal activities (FAO, 2008). Though continuity of water supply is taken for granted in most developed countries, it is a severe problem in many developing countries, where some times water is only provided for a few hours every day or a few days a week (UN-Water, 2007).
Provision of quality urban infrastructure system has become a major concern in many developed and developing countries. Contrary to this, the quality aspect of providing water has been downplayed by the focus put on access provision to this infrastructure. This is mostly the case of water supply provision and other basic infrastructure. The low quality of urban infrastructure such as water supply and sanitation may be detrimental to the environment leading unhealthy living conditions. The performance of one infrastructure may affect the other due to their interconnection such as water supply and sanitation are highly interrelated. Hence, understanding this integration and interrelation provide a better consideration on the importance of providing quality infrastructure (Salendu, 2010).
2. Statement of the problem
Water is one of the most crucial and non substitutable environmental resources. Adequate, quality, safe and affordable supply of drinking water is a basic need for human life. However many people across the planet do not have access to safe and adequate water supply services which affects their life in various ways (Yibeltal, 2011).
The availability of water sources throughout the world is becoming depleted by the rate at which populations are increasing, especially in developing countries. This has brought into focus the urgent need for planned action to manage water resources effectively for sustainable development (Khatri and Vairavamoorthy, 2007).
Lack of access to safe and clean water is locked in the heart of the poverty. Even though the issue of water is observed as a general problem for both the urban and the rural population, women bear the greatest burden because of their social gender roles including collecting water for their households (Rose, 2009).
Though there is difference on water supply coverage between global and national estimates, all sources confirm that water supply coverage in Ethiopia is on strong upward trajectory (AMCOW, 2010). According to MOWR (2013), the national water access reaches 61.6% (58.71 % rural and 80.72% urban) in 2012/13 fiscal year. ‘The National Wash Inventory’ (NWI) has been conducted in 2010 to provide reliable data about the water supply coverage of the country. As a result of the NWI the combined urban and rural water supply coverage in 2011 is determined to be 54 percent.
Dawit (2015) finding indicates in Addis Ababa, household drinking water quality deteriorates after treated water leaves the treatment plant and enters into the distribution system. A major factor causing this deterioration is the frequent supply interruptions which are common in most areas of Addis Ababa. The main reason for these disruptions is the lack of available water supply. Power cuts are also common and contribute to the disruption of the water supply. During supply disruptions, the pressure inside the pipelines can fall and then allow intrusion of external contaminants from unhygienic areas where water supply pipes have been laid. In Addis Ababa rapid urbanization is taking place. This includes higher population growth, the construction of new apartments and investment in the city. This rapid growth has led to an increasing demand for water from the original water treatment facility. The demand for domestic water is growing at a faster rate than the supply. Even though the Addis Ababa Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (AAWSA) is working to increase the supply capacity, it is currently not able to supply enough drinking water to the growing population. This has resulted in water shortages in many areas of the city. As a result, drinking water is now being supplied on a schedule.
Furthermore, the gap between water need and supply has widened steadily in Ethiopia’s urban centers despite continuous efforts by the government in providing water supply to the rapidly growing urban population. Sodo is one of the towns in the SNNPR with rapid urbanization, high population growth; high investment flow due to its investment potential as the capital city of the Wolaita zone. It is also serving as an administrative, business and transport center of the Wolaita Zone. Moreover, the researchers knowledge and also information collected from the office of the water supply and sewerage service and municipal offices indicated that there is majority of the households in shortage of water supply and distribution in the study area. There is no adequate researches have been yet carried out in the study area regarding to problem of water supply. So, this study was emphasized on assessing urban water supply and distribution problems as well as the challenges with possible recommendation that the community of the town and service providers in Sodo town face.
1.3. Objectives of the Study
1.3.1 General of objective study
The general of objective the study was to assess urban water supply and distribution
Problems in Sodo town.
1.3.2 Specific objectives of the study
The specific objective of this study is:-
1. To identify the coverage of water supply and distribution in Sodo town.
2. To find out the challenges to water supply and distribution in Sodo town.
3. To scrutinize the coordination and participation of stakeholders in water supply and
1.4. Research Questions
In order to achieve the above mentioned research objectives and to seek answers for the stated problems, the following major research questions were prepared.
1. What is the coverage of existing water supply and distribution in Sodo town?
2. What are the challenges to improvement of water supply and distribution in Sodo town?
3. Are stakeholders coordinating and participating in water supply schemes?
4. What are the effects water supply shortages in the study area?
1.5. Scope of the Study
This research principally focused on urban water supply and distribution problems at domestic level in Sodo town. Furthermore, the study also emphasized on the administrative issues like accessibility, distribution problems, budget, the cause and the consequence of inadequate water supply on the urban communities.