Water Rich, Water Poor?

In the past weeks, Arba Minch Water Technology Institute, by its former name now Arba Minch University has been hit by an acute water shortage. The problem has compelled many residents of the main campus of university to carry along buckets, gallons, poly-tanks among other water storage facilities in search of this basic necessity

One of the teachers in the university said that usually some sort of fight breaks out amongst maids of the university teachers when they jostle with dozens of women, university teachers and children to fill buckets from tap that brings water twice and sometimes once a day to the Arba Minch University main campus, on the outskirts of a small thriving town of Arba Minch.

Five hundred kilometers away South of Addis Ababa, Tessema Hailu, a teacher in the water technology institute should stand on a queue for twenty minutes on the average to take a shower before he goes to teach a course in water supply for engineering students. While he teaches he always remembers the irony: The reputed water technology institute, which had once an abundance of water, becomes a commonplace for bitter disputes for the smallest bucket of water and a shower queue caused by water shortages.

The circumstances of maids and the university teacher show the daily struggle with tainted or inadequate water in the country’s most reputed water technology institute a growing shortage that most of the university instructors say it will illustrate how water is so a scarce resource even in the most elite water technology institute .It also is pitting the expansion of higher education institutes in the country as the shortage of the water is against growing student population intake that relies heavily on the availability of water.

Ethiopia specifically Arba Minch has significantly abundant fresh water resources available, including more than  40 natural springs which the town itself is named after and two lakes and one of which is rift valley’s ’s largest fresh water lake; Lake Abaya, and Lake Chamo .

Yet despite this, Arba Minch University has a chronic water shortage due to a severe water supply problems and many teachers are suffering from various physical and physiological ailments attributed to acute shortage of water in the campus.

The university and stakeholders responsible for the provision of water have attributed the problem to fault which developed in their control panel. The water problem was so serious that officials of the university came out to announce that they will need the assistance of expertise and the problem will be fixed soon.

Against this background, the university has crossed its fingers waiting for the engineers who are playing their trade outside the university. What it means that the engineers, who do not belong to the water engineering institute are the only people who can help us out of the current problem.

That in our estimation is most unfortunate! Are we trying to assert that we do not have the technical-know how to fix the problem, having been in charge of water related technologies for so many years?


Undoubtedly, the adage that ‘water is life’ cannot be overemphasized since water is needed for domestic and industrial use. Whenever there is shortage of basic necessities of this nature people out of frustrations begin to castigate the administration for being incompetent. I believe the administration of the university should do something. What do you think? Your thoughts please?


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