Pepsi Plant in Shutdown as Scarcity Bites in Ethiopia
5 Mar 2012 - 15:57 by OOSKAnews Correspondent
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Competition between residential and industrial consumers over diminishing water supply in Ethiopia’s capital is intensifying after the city’s water service provider started a rationing regime.
“The water problem is due to efforts to ration water by the Addis Ababa Water and Sewage Authority as a result of the increasing demands for drinking water, especially in high-population areas,” Tesfalem Bayu, the utility’s deputy technical manager, acknowledged.
The move has outraged businesses and industrial customers. Some have opted for expensive emergency measures including drilling private wells to supply water for their operations.
In late February, Moha Soft Drinks, producer of Pepsi products in Ethiopia, unveiled a major water project that will extract 300,000 liters of groundwater to support its operations.
The water shortage in Addis Ababa has been so severe that the company had to shut down its soft drink plant for a month.
“The shutdown due to water shortages has created a scarcity of Pepsi products on the local market,” the company said in a statement.
The water and sewerage authority said it is pursuing short-, medium- and long-term strategies to bridge the widening gap between water demand and supply in Addis Ababa.
In the short term, the authority has started drilling medium-depth boreholes.
It said that over the past three years it has drilled and equipped over a hundred wells in parts of the city where water is scarce, as well as in expansion areas.
Addis Ababa, with an estimated population of 3 million people, gets much of its water from the Gefersa Dam.
The dam, which was rehabilitated three years ago, receives an estimated 180,000 cubic meters of water per day.
The city utility has capacity to provide 210,000 cubic meters of water from a number of its wells and treatment plants, although at times production falls below that amount.