Field Research

The field research of the CLARA project is based in the town of Arba Minch. It is situated in the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Regional (SNNPR) state, 250 km from the regional capital Awassa and some 505 km from Addis Ababa, the capital city of the country. The population of Arbaminch has been projected from 60'700 persons in the year 2000 to 115'000 persons in to the year 2015 and to 165'000 persons in the year 2025. This corresponds to an overall growth rate of 4.5 % per annum. As a result of the rapid growth, new settlements and also condominium housing are established all over town increasing the need for water supply and sanitation solutions.

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Left: View over Arba Minch and the nearby lake Abaya. Right: Main street of Arba Minch.

The present water supply is fed by springs, a reasonably abundant group of springs discharging at the base of the escarpment to the east of the town. The water supply system was extended in 1987 and much of the mechanical and electrical equipment has reached to the end of its economical life. Operation for 20 hours per day is reported. The distribution network covers 25 public taps and almost 3000 private connections.

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Left: Drinking water at the Arba Minch springs catchment. Right: Children playing at a spring pond.

Sanitation infrastructre is generally poor. During ROSA a number of resource oriented sanitation facilites were implemented to initiate a sustainable development of sanitation in Arba Minch. The systems cover the collection, treatment and use of sanitation products in agriculture (urine, compost) as well as greywater treatement and use. Generally, the systems have been well accepted and are still in normal operation. Based on the successful work in ROSA, CLARA will tackle a number of research topics that have been identified to foster the scale up on the ground:

- Reduction of the risks for water supply and re-use. Research showed the considerable aspects of risks closing local nutirent and water cycles that shall be further analysed and tackled by appropriate solutions. Handling with sanitation products, re-use of treated grey water and appropriate farming practices are aspects that will be considerd by the CLARA work. The baseline study on health risks showed that the problem of water shortage in multi storey buildings (MSB) is an important issue. Therefore, health aspects will be tackled in parallel with the research on MSBs (see below).

- Development of sustainable solutions for multi story buildings. As mentioned above, condiminium housing is of increasing importance in town. So far, water and sanitation aspects are not considered as important issues in the planning and construction process. Nevertheless, the local situation in terms of supply and disposal implies the need of adapted soltutions. CLARA intends to develop resource oriented solutions that include innovative onsite treatment technologies. Read more...

- Opimization of sludge treatment. The existing sludge treatment facility built in ROSA in the south of the town is not used due to organisational problems. Technical, organisational and financial issues will be tackled by CLARA with the goal to achieve regular operation. Read more...

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Left: Greywater tower for agricultural water re-use. Right: Sludge drying bed out of operation.

- Adaptation of urine conditioning and composting. Ongoing operation of the collection and treatment of separated urine showed that the volumes are high resulting in transport problems. Hence, a solution for the reduction of the volumes is needed. Several experiences for urine conditioning exist. These options will be considered, adapted and tested for the application in practice during CLARA. Also alternatives to pit composting will be tested to show their feasability under the local conditions. Read more...

- Optimization of operation and maintenance. Experiances from many projects showed that O&M are the key to success especially of resource oriented solutions. Here, considerable efforts are required for the handling and treatment of the re-sources generated by the systems in order to access the benefits. This requires skills and approriate organisation that may be outsourced by private entrepreneurs like in Araba Minch. CLARA will analyse and improve aspects of O&M with the help of the locally acitve sanitation service providers. Read more...

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Left: Coffe shop at the composting site 'Engan New Mayet' (ENM). Right: Tree production using sanitation products.

- Investigation of financing mechnisms. In parallel to the O&M investigations and improvements, financing is a crucial issus for the implementation of sanitation service chains. Arba Minch needs to initate more private acitvities in this sector to cover the populations needs. The municipality is therefore interested to support such activities. Public and institutional mechanisms as well as economic aspects of business development will be investigated. The existing providers shall be supported and extended service provision shall be fostered by CLARA in Arba Minch. This research issue is relevant for all topics tackled and is carried out together with research on operation and maintenance.