Update: Siski and Adikas Clean Water Project

Published On: July 19th, 2023By Categories: Clean Water, Community, Development, Women

Fifty percent of our global citizens and neighbors don’t have access to clean water. What a shocking fact that is! This number includes most of the population of the rural Maji District.

You may remember that one of MDC’s earliest interventions was that we replaced the burnt-out pump at the Maji Town well. We followed up with a solar array to replace the dirty, expensive, and broken-down diesel pump. This returned about 3500 men, women, and children to drinking clean well water, instead of having to visit the trampled springs outside of town.

Two years later, our project manager, Ato Markos, took board member Chris Bounds down to the Siski community. Leaders there described how the women hike from their farms into the hills for water. The water they bring home isn’t even clean, because cattle have to use the same springs. Further down the hill, the Adikas community women hike even further and have nothing but dirty water to bring home. MDC began to investigate a water system–spring-fed, gravity-powered–down to the Siski and Adikas community centers.


If you know the song Amazing Grace, you remember the line, “Through many dangers, toils, and snares we have already come.” That comes to mind as I write about the Siski-Adikas Clean Water Project!

The MDC donor community was inspired by our story of the project–how it will transform the lives of women in those communities to have clean water brought close to home. How the system will be low-tech and sustainable. How both the county and the district leaders committed to collaborating with MDC. But oh my goodness the hurdles we’ve faced in putting wheels on the project!

First, a huge storm in May of 2021 washed out a bridge on the road to Siski and Adikas. Finding the machines and budgets for a repair of that sort in far SW Ethiopia takes months and months–the bridge was finally replaced early in 2023!

Meanwhile, the state of SNNP, Ethiopia, where Maji District is, started splitting. There are now three smaller states and another split is pending. Our effective local officials have been shifted and moved up. New leaders are learning their roles. Our project is important to their constituents, but they have other priorities.

And rampant inflation raised the cost of materials–pipes, cement, rebar for the reservoir–and fuel to transport them. To add just one more complication, this year had no dry season at all so mud on the road delayed the project. And now the rainy season has started in earnest!

I share all of this to help you understand how amazing MDC’s leaders are–Ato Markos and Ato Samson, are. They bring amazing dedication, patience, and persistence to their work.

As soon as there was a break in the rain, they surged ahead. In the month of May 2023 alone, five miles worth of pipe was purchased and transported to Maji. Truckloads of cement rumbled along the gravel road from the city of Mizan Taferi. Engineer Helen came on staff as our water consultant, and hired the contractor.

And already that team has constructed the water distribution sites and covered the spring so that the water will stay clean. Next will be the construction of the reservoir. Then the big community effort, trenching to lay the pipe down the hillside!

In the end, the lives of 2000 people will be impacted by having both clean and convenient water. Babies and the elderly will not die of giardia from sharing the spring with cattle. Women’s heavy work drawing water will be relieved–their backs and hips will thank MDC!

It’s not often that we have a chance to do something so significant to change the lives of people in poorer countries. Usually, we have to be content to address a symptom of their problems. (For example, I’ve had people suggest we distribute water-purifying straws. That wouldn’t be bad, but it leaves the women still carrying 50-bound jerry cans for several miles.) The Siski-Adikas Clean Water Project has made maximum use of our donors’ generosity and has taken all of our local staff’s determination and ingenuity, but it will actually change people’s lives for years to come.

Donate now!


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