With the support of Nestlé Waters Ethiopia, Coca-Cola Beverage Africa, and 2030 Water Resources Group (2030 WRG), the Ethiopian Bottled Water and Soft Drink Manufacturing Industries Association (EBSMIA) has been awarded the Partnership for Green Growth and Global Goals 2030 (P4G) 2019 Start-Up Partnership Award, which recognizes new partnerships deemed to have exceptional potential for advancing social, environmental, and economic progress. The award includes funding of USD 100,000, which the Association together with its partners plans to use to establish an Ethiopian Beverage Alliance for Water to promote collective action for sustainable water resources management amongst beverage industry actors, government, and communities.
Although the beverage industry is among the fastest-growing sub-sectors in Ethiopia, there is low awareness about water-security risks facing both the sub-sector and communities. As groundwater becomes less and less available, companies are resorting to drilling deeper underground, which increases their operating cost and has the potential to cause conflict with local communities who rely on the same resources for their own water supplies.
A weak regulatory framework around water resources management and fragmented action further compound challenges for the sector, which manifest in less efficient water consumption, high drilling cost and deteriorating community health, creating an urgent need for a sustainable and transparent production system.
Using these challenges as marketable incentives for change, the proposed Alliance aims to build a first-of-its kind industry-wide water accounting framework based on a sample survey of overall water use efficiency among its partners in beverage and develop a roadmap towards increased sustainability and accountability.
The survey – not widely practiced in the Ethiopian industrial sector — will be an essential study to highlight the current and future balance of supply and demand for water resources. The study will facilitate for key partners to convene around clear data to develop action plans for more sustainable beverage industry standards and practices, creating benefits for the environment, Ethiopia, and its people.
This article was originally published by the Ethiopian Bottled Water and Soft Drink Manufacturing Industries Association (EBSMIA)