By Demissew Bizuwerk
In commemoration of World Water Day (WWD) 2014, a workshop discussed the linkages of water and energy on 21 March 2014 at Desalegn Hotel Addis Ababa. Participants from the Ministry of Water Irrigation and Energy, UNICEF, Hilton Foundation, and other stakeholders also drew attention on addressing inequities, for people who live in slums and impoverished rural areas and survive with little access to sufficient food, safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, and energy services.
State Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy H. E Ato Kebede Gerba said, “The Government of Ethiopia aims to facilitate the development of policies and crosscutting frameworks that bring together ministries and sectors, leading the way to inter-linked energy security and sustainable water use in a green economy”. He also noted that Ethiopia is working hard towards achieving its Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) for water and irrigation sector. According to the GTP plan, a household in the rural area, has to have a supply of about 15 liters of safe water per person per day in 1.5 km radius.
UNICEF Ethiopia Chief of Water and Environmental Sanitation, Dr Samuel Godfrey, presents the highlights of the UN flagship report on water: 2014 World Water Development Report (WWDR). The report provides a detailed analysis of the complex inter-linkages between water and energy in the context of sustainable development. According to the report, more than 1.3 billion people still lack access to electricity, and nearly 2.6 billion use solid fuels (mainly biomass) for cooking. In addition, those who lack access to improved water sources and sanitation are often the same people who also lack access to energy.
The 2014 WWD celebration has the objective of raising awareness on the relationship between water and energy. Moreover, improving water and sanitation as well as conservation and proper use of water is vital for life.
WWD has been observed globally since 1993 and in Ethiopia since 1994. The UN General Assembly in 1992 declared March 22 as “World Day for Water” following its environmental and development conference held in Rio de Janeiro, also known as the Rio declaration on Environment and Development.