The Ethiopian government has set itself an ambitious target of achieving 98.5% water coverage and 100 per cent sanitation coverage by 2015. But how realistic is this target?
Currently only 54% of Ethiopia’s 83 million people has access to an improved water source and 60 per cent to sanitation, while there is a big disparity between rural and urban coverage . Some 14% of under-5 childhood deaths in 2010 was caused by diarrhoea .
Ethiopia estimates it will need US$ 3 billion to reach universal water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) coverage, of which US$ 1.5 billion has been pledged by the government and donors . Recent commitments include a US$ 150 million World Bank loan for the Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Project (UWSSP)  and a US$ 100 Chinese loan for water supply in Addis Ababa, announced in November 2011 .
Actual access to safe water may be significantly lower than official figures. A 2005 survey showed that if you took WHO water quality standards into account, the estimated proportion of the Ethiopian population with access to safe drinking-water would fall by 11% . Making matters worse, says UNICEF, is that “an overwhelming majority, nine households in every 10, does not treat their drinking water” . According to a 2007 UNICEF survey, 35% of rural handpumps in Ethiopia were not functioning .
Related web site: IRC – Ethiopia country programme
 Ethiopia: safe water – a glass half full, IRIN, 27 Jun 2012
 White Johansson, E., 2012. Pneumonia and diarrhoea : tackling the deadliest diseases for the world’s poorest children. New York, NY, USA, UNICEF. Available at: <
 Ethiopia Country Statement for Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting, 20 April 2012 Washington, DC. Available at: <
 World Bank Helps to Provide Improved Water and Sanitation Services to over 4 million Ethiopians, World Bank, 31 May 2012
 China to lend Ethiopia $100 mln –Xinhua, Reuters, 17 Nov 2011
 Bain, R.E.S. et al., 2012. Accounting for water quality in monitoring access to safe drinking-water as part of the Millennium Development Goals: lessons from five countries. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, vol. 90, no. 3. doi: 10.2471/BLT.11.094284
 Harvey, P., 2009. Handpump data : selected countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. St. Gallen, Switzerland, RWSN. Available at: <