In the past 20 years, Ethiopia has experienced devastating cyclical droughts followed by food shortages, famine, floods and limited rainfall. It is estimated that over 70 percent of rural communities do not have access to safe and clean water. Over 90 percent are also largely dependent on rain-fed agriculture. The water crisis coupled with the impacts of increasing climate variability is already having devastating effects on rural communities and ecosystems, including reduced agricultural productivity, economic and environmental losses, social upheaval and the tragic consequences of increasing hunger, malnutrition and disease.
This project contributed to addressing barriers to water storage in rural Ethiopia by promoting demonstration activities that mapped local bamboo and water resources at the wordea level, trained a local community in effective bamboo resource management, and promoted technology transfer from Nepal and Canada on bamboo-based rainwater harvesting systems. While Ethiopia has large bamboo resources, with approximately 1 million hectares of bamboo coverage across the country, these resources have rarely been used for water storage purposes. The project focused on using bamboo as a main structural material to make water storage tanks; technology previously trialled in Asia in the 1980s. This was done through a demonstration construction of two 5,000L capacity bank water tanks at Kochere Village in Tikur Inchinni Wordea, Oromiya Region. In addition to the tank demonstration, systems for filtering water with bio-sand filters where deployed in Ethiopia, while systems for transporting water using mechanical and solar powered pumps, as well as recycling gray water with reed beds, were validated in Nepal. Initial findings from the project suggest that the bamboo water storage tank technology developed during the project has the potential to reduce costs of water storage in rural areas by as much as 30-50% in comparison with plastic and concrete tanks respectively.