ETHIOPIA – Ethiopia has recently witnessed mushrooming of water bottling companies, currently standing at about 100 bottlers, in drive to boost access of safe and contamination free water by the locals.

Despite the increasing investment in the sector, the bottlers produce only 3.7 billion litres of water a year, satisfying 5% of the water demand.

The industry is also faced with lacks specialized water testing laboratories and has been forced to spend foreign currency sending water samples abroad for testing.

In addition to the foreign currency expenditure, results take a long time to be submitted.

To resolve the issue, the Ethiopia Water Technology Institute is constructing a specialised laboratory for water testing and research at a cost of 145 million Br (US$3.8m).

The two-storey laboratory is expected to be operational in February 2021.

According to reports by Addis Fortune, the lab which has reached 80pc completion, is fully funded by the government and will be the first of its kind in the country.

It will not only undertake quality analysis of drinking water but also for irrigation, and agro-processing.

The testing conducted will measure the content of the water and determine safety and suitability for its intended utilisation in line with the standards set by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The two-storey laboratory, which lies on 1,770Sqm of land in the Aqaki Qality District, is expected to be operational in February 2021.

Some of the tests to be conducted at the facility include chemical, micro-biological, and radiation evaluation that assesses the mineral content, microbial contamination, and the amount of radiation in the water.

Heavy metal content, pesticide residuals and chromatography tests were previously sent abroad since the existing local facilities have shortages in human resources, machinery and standards.

The lab will also enable public and private institutions to conduct testing without payment if they can supply the chemicals and reagents needed to carry out the testing.

In addition to that, the institution is building a new facility for irrigation and water management training at the cost of 130 million Br.

Sprawling over a 2,640Sqm plot at the Ethiopian Water Technology Institute premise, the centre will have an enrolment capacity of 150 trainers and 1,000 trainees and has reached 98pc of completion.

Meanwhile, the country is seeking to establish the first national research, laboratory and training centre for dairy, honey, meat and animal feed products in Bishoftu, Oromia Regional State.

The Institute will be the primary centre for research, development and innovations, in addition to having a training centre for companies and individuals engaged in meat, dairy, honey and animal feed production.

It will be built at the Meat & Dairy Industry Development Institute and will rest on a total area of 17.8ha of land.

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