The sustainable water alliance, EBAW officially formed
The Ethiopian Beverage Alliance for Water (EBAW), an alliance for environmental friendly beverage industry, has officially been formed with the presence of top government officials and bottlers. The alliance that includes all beverage bottlers starting from juice processors, soft drink, distilleries and water bottlers is a pioneer initiative to come together for collective solution and action in the face of industrial water challenges. The statement of EBAW indicated that the overall impact of EBAW is to bring a meaningful positive change in water saving for beverage producers, community and the environment. Seleshi Bekele, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, on his speech reminded that Ethiopia has a dozen of river basins most of which have perennial rivers in their wombs with a varying level of amenability to use, “the country has limited underground water resources. These facts being irrefutable, utilization of both surface and underground water resources calls for adequate and holistic management of the scarce resource to the benefit of the nation,” the minister explained. “The establishment of a national alliance to coordinate efforts towards fostering water efficiency in the bottled water and beverage sector will be one but a significant achievement to set an example for others to follow,” Seleshi said. The alliance targets to create an action road map for the beverage industry to tackle water security issues over a specific period of time and move closer to international water efficiency and quality standards, drive efficiency in water use and large-scale demand side water management using own resources and knowledge. The alliance is keen on identifying key regulatory and policy hurdles that are blocking the promotion of efficiency in water use in the sector in order to intelligently pitch them with the government in charge. Moreover, it will work collaboratively with the supply chain partners in order to improve overall efficiency of the use of water along with the entire value chain at upstream and downstream. Similarly, it will develop specific projects with governments and civil societies with a strong recourse to public private partnership models and other innovative financing for which alliance members could be interested in the engagements. Currently, over 150 beverage companies are engaged on the manufacturing sectors. When it comes to the water issues, Ethiopia’s beverage industry is generally known to lack adequate awareness, suffer from poor collective action and is often beset with a weak regulatory framework. P4G, Water Aid, and 2030 Water Resources Group have provided technical and financial support to realize the formation of EBAW. Ethiopian Bottled Water, Soft drink, Fruits and Vegetable Processing Industries Association and other local bottlers have taken the initiative and through this alliance are an the look to overcome previous drawbacks to future successes.