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Cablegate: Analysis of Usaid/Ofda Water Interventions and Related

VZCZCXRO2711
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHDS #2576/01 2290219
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 170219Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7489
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 2969
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 4010
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 2924
RUEHC/DEPT OF INTERIOR WASHINGTON DC
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ADDIS ABABA 002576

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

USAID/W DCHA/AA MHESS, GGOTTLIEB
AFR/AA WWARREN
DCHA/OFDA KLUU, ACONVERY, KCHANNELL
AFR/EA KNELSON, BDUNFORD
DCHA/FFP WHAMMINK, JDWORKEN, PMOHAN, MANDERSON, PBERTOLIN
STATE DEPARTMENT FOR AF/E AND PRM/AFR
USDA/FAS FOR U/S PENN, MCHAMBLISS, RTILSWORTH, AND LPANASUK
NAIROBI FOR OFDA/ECARO JMYER, GPLATT, RFFPO, USAID/EA
ROME FOR OHA
BRUSSELS FOR USEU PBROWN
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH, RMA
USUN FOR TMALY
NSC FOR PMARCHAN, TSHORTLEY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF SENV EAGR ET
SUBJECT: ANALYSIS OF USAID/OFDA WATER INTERVENTIONS AND RELATED
IMPACT ON POPULATIONS

1. SUMMARY. The USAID/OFDA Shelter and Settlements (S&S) Advisor in
conjunction with USAID/OFDA Ethiopia staff monitored field
activities in selected areas of Ethiopia's Oromiya Region from July
25 to August 4, to assess strategic water interventions and
implications on population and migration issues in the country.
Based on field assessments and discussions with implementing
partners and local officials, USAID/OFDA water and sanitation
activities have resulted in improved water resource management and
sustainable and self-supporting community-based water supply systems
that both respond to emergency needs and reduce vulnerability to
future drought events, particularly when linked to watershed
management efforts supported by USAID/OFDA, the Government of
Ethiopia (GoE), and others. Targeted interventions are not
increasing population growth through migration, do not significantly
alter the migration patterns of pastoralist or other groups, or
generate adverse impacts on local surface or groundwater resources.
Although many communities in arid regions will likely continue to
require USAID/OFDA emergency assistance due to the precarious nature
of conditions, serious consideration should also be given to
increased funding support of expansion and upgrading of successful
USAID/OFDA activities in less vulnerable areas as development
problems are so chronic in these areas that even moderate drought
conditions will generate significant, widespread needs. END
SUMMARY.

2. USAID/OFDA staff monitored field activities in the Oromiya Region
of southern and eastern Ethiopia from July 25 to August 4 to assess
OFDA country strategies related to water interventions and possible
impact on population growth in communities. USAID/OFDA Ethiopia
staff visited nearly 30 project sites, traveled over 1,900 miles
(3,140 kilometers) in eight days, and met with implementing partner
representatives, local officials, and project beneficiaries. Field
activities commenced with visits to selected areas in Borena Zone
with the Italian NGO, Comitato Internationale Per Lo Sviluppo Dei
Popoli (CISP) from July 26-29. A second field trip focused on
selected villages in East and West Haraghe Zones with USAID/OFDA
implementing partners CARE, IRC, and CRS, from July 31 to August 3.

--------------------------------------------- -----
NON-DROUGHT WATER SUPPLY CONDITIONS IN BORENA ZONE BELOW THOSE FOUND
IN THE IDP CAMPS OF DARFUR
--------------------------------------------- --

3. The Borena Zone field activities focused on recent and potential
CISP water and sanitation activities in selected pastoral,
agricultural, and urban communities. The current non-crisis
conditions in these areas are perhaps the best of the year, in that
rainfall has been relatively plentiful this current rainy season,
pasture is available for livestock, and water supply systems have
been operational. However, even under the best of conditions, the
situation is precarious and, at best, water supply and consumption
rates per capita --even in the relatively developed zonal capital of
Yabello--are far lower than similar rates in the IDP camps of
Darfur. As such, prevailing water supply outputs in selected Borena
Zone communities, viewed in a development context, are even well
below minimally adequate levels for basic humanitarian work, as
specified in the Sphere project guidelines. Smaller, more remote
settlements, both agricultural and agro-pastoral, are in an even
more precarious state. Therefore, chronic development conditions
are so marginal that even moderate drought conditions will generate
significant, widespread needs.

4. Water and sanitation interventions similar to those implemented,
and proposed, by CISP complement GoE development programs, can
provide much-needed improvements in water and sanitation conditions,
and can build household and village level resilience to withstand
future drought conditions, while providing needed water to nearby

ADDIS ABAB 00002576 002 OF 003


pastoralists. These interventions, however, should not be
considered as substitutes for GoE water supply development projects.
Field assessment also suggests that water and sanitation
interventions have not altered migration or settlement patterns, and
are not likely to do so in the foreseeable future.

5. Based on field assessment and discussions, roof catchments,
(plastic lined) ponds, and borehole activities should be expanded,
where possible, to support additional human and livestock
populations. These activities should include expansion of roof
catchments to housing, in addition to the current focus on public
facilities (e.g. schools and health posts), perhaps in a manner
where harvested rainwater is shared among groups of families. In
addition, utilizing the three capped boreholes in the zonal capital,
Yabello, and managing the nearby upland watershed to facilitate
groundwater recharge and mitigate against flash flood impacts on the
boreholes, will enable Yabello to increase its role as a Zonal
administrative and commercial center, and --equally importantly--a
relatively drought-resistant hub for humanitarian interventions in
the event of a drought or other emergency, as further development of
the Yabello boreholes will support expected population growth for
several years.

--------------------------------------------- ------
LINKAGE OF WATERSHED MANAGEMENT AND WATER SUPPLY EXPANSION IN
HARAGHE GENERATE SIGNIFICANT POTENTIAL FOR WIDESPREAD DROUGHT
VULNERABILITY REDUCTION
--------------------------------------------- ------

6. USAID/OFDA water and sanitation implementing partners CARE, IRC,
and CRS work in selected communities in the East and West Hararghe
Zones of the Oromiya Region, where elevation, microclimatic
conditions, and rainfall levels vary widely, often within a few
kilometers. Such contextual diversity requires diverse responses,
and implementing partners have performed admirably in this regard,
often incorporating watershed management measures into programs, or
collaborating with similar GOE watershed management efforts. [NOTE:
USAID is providing significant funding for the Productive Safety Net
Program (PSNP) in these zones; CARE and CRS are implementing
partners. END NOTE.]

7. Poor long-term management of watersheds and water resources, due
in part to intense population pressure and widespread poverty, has
resulted in significant alteration of major portions of East and
West Hararghe zones. Further, GoE efforts to remedy environmental
degradation, while well-intentioned, have sometimes resulted in
unintended, adverse impacts, such as inappropriate selection of tree
species as part of reforestation efforts, resulting in introduction
of non-native species ill-suited to area conditions (e.g., tree
species that require high levels of water compared to native
species). In this regard, the recent and rapid transformation of
Lake Alamaya, near the city of Harar, from lake to dry lakebed, is a
cautionary tale of watershed mismanagement, over pumping of surface
and groundwater resources, and uncontrolled discharge of domestic
and agricultural waste, thereby accelerating the demise of an
important water source.

8. Past and current CRS activities in Kersa and Meta woredas of East
Hararghe, CARE activities in Grawa Woreda of East Hararghe, and IRC
activities in Chiro and Mieso woredas of West Hararghe have all
benefited from recent area closures of upland watershed areas, and
related GoE resettlement of populations. These actions have
contributed to increased water recharge rates that have permitted
support and expansion of water supply systems to ever greater
numbers of people, thereby reducing drought vulnerability in many
zonal settlements.


ADDIS ABAB 00002576 003 OF 003


9. Two examples from the zones provide additional detail of the
successful linkage of watershed management, water supply expansion,
and drought vulnerability reduction. CRS found in Meta Woreda that
GoE watershed management of upland areas, which included area
closure and resettlement, increased flow rates from nearby springs
by six-fold within two years of implementation, and is expected to
increase in the future as watershed conditions improve. This
dramatic increase in water availability is now sufficient to support
a population of 12,960 people (as well as associated agro-pastoral
and agricultural activities) at the consumption rate of eight (8)
liters per capita per day. The water supply system implemented by
CRS is only able to serve 3,750 people, however, suggesting
significant potential to increase service and reduce vulnerability,
as well as improve public health conditions.

10. In a similar vein, IRC borehole development in Arbarekete, West
Hararghe Zone, can now support up to 112,320 people (as well as well
as associated agro-pastoral, and agricultural activities) at the
consumption rate of ten liters per capita per day, but the current
water supply system developed by IRC is only able to serve 4,500
people. USAID/OFDA support of borehole development in Arbarekete
has not only reduced drought vulnerability of the project
beneficiary population, but raises the possibility of significant
increases in water supply to additional vulnerable populations while
accommodating projected population growth of Arbarakete, as well as
the heretofore unconsidered option of water transmission to
relatively arid regions nearby, which are far more prone to drought.
However, developing and transmitting available water resources at
the level suggested would, of course, require considerable
investment by water development agencies, rather than humanitarian
entities such as USAID/OFDA. For example, the current GoE effort to
pipe water from Dire Dawa to Harar, a distance of 55 kilometers,
will cost at least USD 33.3 million, with costs likely to rise, as
is the case with most large infrastructure development projects.

11. Based on field assessment and discussion, it does not appear
that USAID/OFDA water and sanitation activities contribute to
increased population growth in east and west Haraghe that could be
attributed to in-migration. Further, USAID/OFDA activities do not
significantly alter the migration patterns of pastoralist or other
groups, or generate adverse impacts on local surface or groundwater
resources. Borehole development, for example, is not attracting
in-migrants, nor has reduction in flow rates been reported to date,
suggesting that current consumption rates by drought vulnerable
populations are not adversely affecting groundwater resources.
However, any significant expansion and upgrading of borehole or
other water supplies will have to be examined carefully prior to
investment by development agencies.

YAMAMOTO

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