To help meet increasing local demand for high quality water, Nestlé Waters has taken in 2016 a majority stake in a joint venture (JV) with three owners of the pre-existing Abyssinia Springs bottled water brand in Ethiopia.
The JV is sourcing water used for Abyssinia Springs from an area of historically abundant and sustainable water resources located at the base of the Entoto Mountain, in the town of Sululta in the north of Oromia Regional State, close to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. We are continuously monitoring the sustainability of water resource in Sululta, to ensure we are acting at all times in the best interests of the local community. The surveys to date, conducted by external experts, shows that these activities are compatible with maintaining a sustainable local watershed.
Wherever we operate, we do so responsibly with a strong emphasis on local community engagement. We have two major priorities in Ethiopia. The first is a seven-year long water stewardship programme, carried out at catchment level. Started in 2016, this involves municipalities, authorities, communities and other companies in a joint effort to ensure the sustainable use of local water resources. The programme is coordinated by the WLRC (Water Land Resources Center), affiliated to Addis Ababa University.
Our second priority is to improve local access to safe, clean water and to develop WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) initiatives in the communities close to our factory, in partnership with the Ethiopian Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Initiatives on sanitation and hygiene under this programme are benefiting more than one thousand vulnerable households, along with two local schools. In 2017, Nestlé Waters constructed a water station near its factory which provides 20 000 lts/day of free potable water to the nearby community. In collaboration with the Sululta Municipality, we rehabilitated two municipality owned deep wells and increased the quantity of water supply to the city.
We are aware of the water scarcity issues affecting the Horn Africa, including South Eastern Ethiopia. To support vulnerable communities , at country level, Nestlé has entered a partnership with the Ethiopian Red Cross and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to finance non-food items (emergency kits) which have been distributed in areas of need to benefit 16 000 vulnerable people.
Our investment in Ethiopia is part of our commitment to Africa, contributing to its growth, economic and societal development as well as the sustainable use of resources.