Four water projects, which would provide potable water to 137,175 residents in Oromia Regional State, were completed by the Oromia Water, Mineral & Energy Bureau for 149 million Br.
However, the extracted water from one of the projects was not distributed to the 35,000 residents because it was cloudy and unclear. The residents of the four towns were not getting enough supply as they had been using spring waters and small water wells, which both dried in the courses of time.
Constructed by five contractors, the projects are in Shambu, Semira Kolba, Qaqe and Tulu Bayu towns in Wollega and Arsi zones. Oromia Water Works Design & Supervision Enterprise, which was established in 2006, was a consultant for all of the projects.
Shambu project, which consumed 69 million Br, is located in Horogudru Wollega zone and was constructed in two phases.
The first phase began in 2008 with the aim to complete it within two years. It was awarded to Fasil Tsigehana General Contractor, which was established in 2004 and worked on water supply projects at Chinaksen, East Hararge and Dukem as well as road maintenance projects in Jijiga and Jimma for 70 million Br and 35 million Br, correspondingly.
Fasil was hired to construct a reservoir with a capacity 1.2 million litres, install pipes for seven water points and main pipelines to the residences. However, the project delayed for over seven years due to late provision of design from the Bureau, supply shortage of pipe fittings and the problem of identifying the place of the water source.
The second phase was given to Getachew Assefa Grade One Building & Water Works Contractor in 2015. The company, which was established in 2006, to complete the civil work of the main distribution tanker and install electromechanical installations which included boosters and generator houses as well as pipe installations to the beneficiaries.
Unlike the first phase, the project was finalised before the planned schedule.
“However, we were challenged as our client was not providing us fittings on time,” said Getachew, general manager of the company.
The other project, which is located in Horogudru Wollega zone, Tulu Bayu, was finalised for 11 million Br by Matunda Engineering Plc. The project was delayed for three and half years.
The third project, Qaqe, located in Kelem Wollega zone was constructed by Wada Engineering Plc, a grade two contractor, for 29 million Br. Established in 2014, Wada was involved in the construction of seven water supply projects and completed a 21 million Br rehabilitation and protection project for Shekla Afer on Kechene riverbank.
Even though the project was finalised four months prior to the deadline the water extracted from the well was highly turbid; therefore, it could not be distributed to the residents.
“We are very sad that we couldn’t see the final result of the project,” said Abebe Angassa, general manager of Wada.
“Thorough investigation is undergoing to pinpoint and rectify the problem,” said Gurmessa Oljira, director of contract administration and construction at the Bureau.
The last project Semira Kolba, in Arsi Zone, was constructed by Raey Construction Plc for 40 million Br.
Except for, Qaqe, the remaining projects were delayed from three to 10 years.
Late provision of electromechanical supplies, design changes, administrative problems and a capacity problem of contractors, are the primary reasons for the delay, according to Tofik Sabit, the consultant’s contract administration and construction supervisor manager.
There are multiple problems that led most of water supply projects delay, according to Jemal Mohammed, a civil engineer with 15 years of consultancy experience in water supply and sanitation. The problem starts with the procurement of goods, late provisions of equipment due to forex shortage, poor planning and low capacity of contractors, he lists.
“The government has to work on capacity building of the contractors, consultants and regional bureau,” comments Jemal.
For the current fiscal year, the regional state has allocated three billion Birr for the construction of water supply projects across the region and spent around 378 million Br as of December 2017.
“We have achieved 85pc of our plan for the first half of this year,” said Takele Mengesha, planning, budget monitoring & evaluation director of the bureau, which benefited more than 22 million people in the areas the projects were accomplished.
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