Ministry of Water Irrigation and Energy announced plan to increase existing electric power supply from 4,413 to more than 19,000 MW.
As part of the Ministry’s ‘Ten Year Plan’, there is also vision to increase potable water coverage by 100 percent in both rural and urban areas.
Speaking about government’s Ten Year Development Plan, Minister Dr. Seleshi Bekele said, there is a plan to increase the current electric power supply within the coming ten years. According to him, this project demands the nation about 800.1 billion Birr.
Mentioning that a total of 433 billion Birr is needed to develop new electric power projects, along with 106 billion Birr for the existing ones, Seleshi said that the remaining capital will be pumped into the construction of 18 industrial parks and provision of 54 towns with electric power, as well as expansion of transmission grids and lines.
More than 60 percent of the population has no access to electricity and even the rest of 40 percent is not well satisfied with the available electric power supply. “For this reason, we are expected to work in a collaborative manner to exploit the potential electric power in full swing in the coming ten years.”
He said, the Ministry will work aggressively to mitigate power blackout, and provide sustainable electric power supply to the society. To make this a reality, the reform works have been well consolidated.
In addition to building power dams, there is also a plan to invest on alternative electric power resources: solar, wind and others, he added.
Moreover, as part of the ten years plan, there is also vision to increase potable water coverage by 100 percent in both rural and urban areas. In order to achieve this, 34 thousand water holes will be drilled and over 40 thousand springs would be harvested in different parts of the nation.
What is more, construction of mega and medium scale irrigation that have a potential to create job opportunities for several Ethiopians are given prime attention, Seleshi said.
As to Irrigation expert Dr. Dereje Hailu, if the ten year plan becomes practical, it has a potential to address gaps in areas of electric power supply, increase potable water coverage and irrigation.
He said, irrigation development needs more attention and it has to be linked with industries, marketing and infrastructure.
Indicating the availability of 7.5 million hectares of land that can be developed through irrigation, he said so far only 500,000 hectares of land is developed with irrigation. To curb this, the sector needs more attention and effort, he underscored.
Water Contractors Association President, Eng. Getahun Tagese, for his part said that the private sector has greater role in accessing potable water and the government’s plan to strengthen the private sector involvement in the sector is highly commendable.
Furthermore, the government has to modernize its procurement system to complete potable water construction projects with the set time frame. What is more, it should create efficient service provision and join forces with the private sector to realize the plan, he remarked.