Working Paper 7. The costs and benefits of multiple uses of water: The case of Gorogutu woreda of East Hararghe zone, Oromiya Regional States, eastern Ethiopia.
require water for a wide range of activities essential to their livelihoods. These include both domestic as well as productive uses, which bring multiple benefits. However, multiple uses and benefits are often not addressed in an integrated way. Failing to recognise multiple uses will lead to failure to capitalise on the multiple benefits in terms of poverty reduction, and can even have a negative impact on sustainability.
Cognisant of this fact, this case study takes a closer look at whether the benefits of multiple use services outweigh the costs that they bring along, and what the relationship is between costs and benefits of multiple use as compared with costs and benefits of single use. For this purpose, three cases were selected for an in-depth costs benefit analysis. In the Ido Jalala case, water characteristics, water use, costs and benefits were analysed going from a traditional (unimproved) situation to a multiple use situation from the “domestic water supply side” (first developing an improved domestic system which is then upgraded for irrigation). In the Ifa Daba case, water characteristics, water use, costs and benefits were analysed going from a traditional situation to a multiple use situation from the “irrigation side” (first developing an improved irrigation system which is then upgraded for domestic use). The Biftu Diramu case analysed the water characteristics, water use, costs and benefits going directly from a traditional situation to a multiple use water situation.
The analysis of costs does not only focus on traditionally identified costs like construction and operation and maintenance, but also takes into account the community contribution to these costs and the support costs, borne by the implementing NGOs and the local government. The identified and quantified benefits from multiple water use include health benefits, time saving benefits and benefits from irrigation. Costs and benefits were analysed at both the household level and the system level and 'best' and 'worst' case scenarios were also considered at each level of analysis.
The results of the case study show that even in the worst case scenario the benefits easily outweigh the costs at household level, as well as at system level. It furthermore shows that additional benefits of 'upgrading' from single use to multiple use outweigh the additional costs. Although the benefit / cost ratio of both domestic water supply services and irrigation services proved to be very high, the benefit / cost ratio for domestic water supply was found to be higher than that for irrigation. Although the benefit / cost ratio of improved irrigation is very high, the ratio of additional benefits and costs of going from traditional irrigation to improved irrigation is less positive. This could be due to the fact that the improvements in the irrigation systems are not optimal and do not always provide water in the most efficient and thus profitable way.
RiPPLE Office, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 79 pp.