News from Africa

EU to support a pioneering renewable energy and water plant in Djibouti

To provide water to 200,000 inhabitants

Té / 21 December 2012

The European Union will support a project to build a desalination plant which will use renewable energy to provide water to 200,000 inhabitants, one-fourth of the country’s population, in some of Djibouti’s poorest areas. The announcement was made wednesday by Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, and Djiboutian Prime Minister, Mr Dileita Mohamed Dileita, during his visit to Brussels.

Announcing the funding, Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said: Access to water is a human right and it’s unacceptable that insufficient water supply can be a source of conflict, as Djibouti recently experienced. With this new project, we are not only increasing access to water for the people but we also help to bring security and stability for all Djiboutians. This project is yet another example that EU keeps its promises. The EU supports the UN Sustainable Energy for All initiative and in in the future, the plant will be powered by renewable energy. This is a great example of how with smart aid we can create sustainable development."

Djibouti suffers from an acute water shortage and has recently endured a prolonged drought, which has led to a serious food crisis in the country. The lack of access to water has led to recent fighting and riots in the country. Current demand for water in the capital Djibouti City (where around 75% of the population lives) is estimated at 80,000 m3 per day but only 36,000m3 per day is currently being supplied. The new EU-funded project PEPER (Producing Safe Drinking Water with Renewable Energy) will set up a desalination plant in the capital to directly respond to these needs- providing affordable and clean drinking water. Almost half of the 560,000 inhabitants of the city of Djibouti live in Balbala, which has a poverty rate in excess of 70 percent.

The water produced is taken from the local aquifer; the only source of potable water for the city, which has reached its physical limit. Its quality is poor due to sea water intrusion, which has health and social consequences for the most vulnerable parts of the population, in particular children and women. The situation is aggravated by the high population growth in the capital which is expected to see demand for water more than double in the next 20 years.

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, December 19, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)

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