Business / Companies

Waters of life flowing through capital city

By Wang Chao and Andrew Moody (China Daily) Updated: 2014-02-18 07:16

"We study the needs of African people and decide on our products. Obviously, people here have many needs, and we don't trick them into buying products they don't really need."

Water supply is one of the urgent needs, and Sun said that building a system to do that has given him a huge sense of accomplishment.

Over the past 10 years, the company has helped raise the water supply coverage in Addis Ababa from 37 percent to 90 percent, which means the great bulk of city dwellers have access to tap water. Those who don't are living in remote areas.

The average water supply for urban residents is 100 to 120 liters for each person a day, according to the World Health Organization, but in suburban areas of Addis Ababa, many people have far less.

On the outskirts of the city, whose population was put at 3.4 million in 2007, some still obtain their water from local sources.

"People have to fetch water with buckets and kettles for their daily cooking, drinking and cleaning," said Sun. "We want to help change that so they all have tap water."

The urban water supply system, which the French began to build in the 1930s, is showing its age, but given the expense of building a new system, the government decided to find partners to renovate the exiting one. CGC Overseas Corp and a French company won the contract.

The project includes a dam and a water treatment system. The company will increase the height of the dam so it can hold more water and expand the capacity of the water treatment system.

Addis Ababa has had no sewerage system, and the company is designing one. With sewage running on the street, even five-star hotels depend on sewer scavengers to take the muck out of the city, said Sun.

Over time, the company's water supply solutions have reached beyond the cities into the whole country.

"Ethiopia is not short of water, but it is not evenly distributed," said Sun. "So we have to transport the resources between regions."

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