Ato Mantegabtot Negash, the manager of the Gazer Town Water Utility. Together with three mechanics and two bill collectors, he is responsible for providing water services to more than 5,000 people in Gazer town, the woreda (district) capital of South Ari woreda in Southern Nation, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State of Ethiopia. Meeting him in his office recently, he expressed his frustration with his job.
The people from Gazer town are not happy with the limited water services that they receive and regularly shout complaints at Ato Mantegabtot. According to him, the availability of water resources is not a problem. The springs that supply the system provide more than enough water. But the pipe that is supposed to transport water to the town some 5 km away, is too small with lots of leakage points, and the scheme, with 23 public standpipes (of which 7 (30%) are not functional, mainly because of problems in the distribution network), 314 household connections and 19 institutional connections are not adequate to provide water to the town's growing population. Although the scheme was built only about 11 years ago, it is no longer able to meet the increasing demand.