Bringing Safe Water to Ethiopian Communities

Bringing Safe Water to Ethiopian Communities Joel Tidswell examining water delivery equipment in Addis Ababa

In our homes we think nothing of turning on the tap or flushing the toilet.

We don’t think twice about where our water comes from, or how it has been treated to arrive in a clean, drinkable condition.


Yet across the globe, 650 million people live without access to a safe water supply. Around 2.3billion – one-in-three of the world’s population – don’t have access to adequate sanitation and more than 500,000 children die every year from diarrhea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation: that’s more than 1,400 children a day.

In the developing world, there is a need for better delivery of safe water and sanitation. Even in urban areas, where household communal toilets are now common, more than two billion people use septic tanks that are not safely emptied, or use other systems that discharge raw sewage into open drains or surface waters.

The charity WaterAid is working to provide safe, clean water to everyone, everywhere by 2030, and Bradford-based Yorkshire Water has for many years been committed to supporting their work.

The company is working with WaterAid Ethiopia on a five-year ‘Big Wish for Ethiopia’ project to support the delivery of safe water and sanitation to 20 towns in the East African country. It aims to raise £1 million to deliver clean water and safe toilets to 170,00 households, and provide further support through educating customers and influencing stakeholders on the challenges faced.

Teams of experts from Yorkshire Water have been visiting Ethiopia to improve the delivery of water, sanitation and hygiene – a program known as WASH – and access to water and sanitation services.

Last year employees Joel Tidswell, Anna Warrington and Nigel Riley – each offering different areas of expertise – visited the capital Addis Ababa to work alongside staff from Addis Ababa Water Company.

“We are working with the 20 towns project to upskill people and hopefully that will cascade across the country,” says Joel, who specializes in the management and operation of the network.“They are trying to improve their water and sewage network. We are looking at what skills they can use to achieve this.”

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WaterAid, Safe Water, Joel Tidswell