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Yorkshire Water hosts Ethiopian water utility delegates

WaterAid's Manaye Siyoum and Zelalem Assefra, from Debre Tabor Water Utility (DTWU) in Ethiopia, have visited Yorkshire Water to find out how the company supplies quality drinking water and treats wastewater.

For the past two weeks Manaye, head of WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) at WaterAid Ethiopia, and Zelalem, DTWU utility manager have travelled across Yorkshire visiting clean and wastewater treatment works, looking at small community treatment facilities, water boreholes and pumping stations whilst noting down information and processes that they can apply to operations back in Ethiopia as protecting the quality of groundwater borehole sources is a big issue.

Nearly half the population in Ethiopia, 42 million people, does not have access to safe water. Most people in the country make a living through farming however, without water they cannot grow the crops they need to feed and support their families.

Manaye and Zelalem also spent time at Yorkshire Water’s headquarters finding out how the company manages customer services, billing systems and the regulatory environment it operates within.

The visit is part of Yorkshire Water’s ‘Big Wish for Ethiopia’ campaign that brings together all its fundraising, volunteering, influencing, customer awareness and skills sharing activities for charity WaterAid. It is the first water company to undertake this approach and believes that this campaign will help to raise £1M and bring clean water to 130,000 people in Ethiopia over the next five years.

Summing up his experience Manaye said: "The visit to Yorkshire Water was wonderful. Yorkshire is different to the rest of the UK; everyone we met was friendly and hospitable, they were open to sharing their knowledge and committed to working with WaterAid to making a lasting difference to the people of Ethiopia. We have learned so much and will be looking at how we can develop this learning for utilities in Ethiopia.

“The partnership with Yorkshire Water exceeds our expectations, there is no limit to what we can accomplish together to realize our common vision of seeing everyone everywhere with water, sanitation and hygiene education.” 

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