Harar Water Supply and Sanitation Project: Improving Livelihoods and Enhancing Water Security in Ethiopia


The project addressed a looming water and sanitation crisis in the historic and touristic town of Harar and the surrounding four towns. The water availability and quality from Lake Alemaya, the previous water source, was threatened due to rising population, irrigation use and siltation. Water rationing was introduced and investors were reluctant to establish new commercial ventures. Livelihoods were lost and families spent scarce resources to buy water and treatment of waterborne illnesses.

ADF Financing Responding to Country’s Needs

The AfDB provided US $33 million in response to the Government’s request, to find a durable solution. The project comprised:

  • Water production and transport from a source located 75 km away;
  • construction of a 115 km distribution network;
  • 4 booster pump stations to lift water over 1,000 m in elevation;
  • Several storage reservoirs;
  • Sanitation and hygiene promotion; Sustainability measures including capacity building.



The project, which sought to improve livelihoods and water security, is now fully operational and provides adequate water to about 250,000 people. In addition:

  • Water revenue collection improved to over 90%, enhancing sustainability;
  • Water-borne disease reduced by 75%;
  • Time spent by women reduced by 50%, allowing them to engage in more productive activities; and,
  • Commercial enterprises such as hotels flourished again, providing employment, for the youth especially.

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