Linking water quality monitoring and climate-resilient water safety planning in two urban drinking water utilities in Ethiopia
Unsafe drinking water is a recognized health threat in Ethiopia, and climate change, rapid population growth, urbanization and agricultural practices put intense pressure on availability and quality of water. Climate change-related health problems due to floods and waterborne diseases are increasing. With increasing insight into impacts of climate change and urbanization on water availability and quality and of required adaptations, a shift towards climate-resilient water safety planning was introduced into an Ethiopian strategy and guidance document to guarantee safe drinking water. Climate-resilient water safety planning was implemented in the urban water supplies of Addis Ababa and Adama, providing drinking water to 5 million and 500,000 people, respectively. Based on the risks identified with climate-resilient water safety planning, water quality monitoring can be optimized by prioritizing parameters and events which pose a higher risk for contaminating the drinking water. Water quality monitoring was improved at both drinking water utilities and at the Public Health Institute to provide relevant data used as input for climate-resilient water safety planning. By continuously linking water quality monitoring and climate-resilient water safety planning, utilization of information was optimized, and both approaches benefit from linking these activities.