Access to and use of safe drinking water can contribute enormously to health, productivity and social development. This study was conducted to assess the existing water supply and demand scenario of Dilla Town, Southern Ethiopia. To achieve the objective of the study, a total of 187 households were randomly selected and interviewed by using semi structured questionnaire. To collect the required data, interview schedule, observation, focus group discussions and key informant interviews were used. In addition, different documents were reviewed. The collected data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. The survey result revealed that the town water supply cannot fulfill consumer demand for water. Obsolete supply system, electric power supply problem, lack of institutional capacity and budget shortage are the basic factors for this imbalance. According to the survey results, the average per capita consumption was found to be less than the recommended standard, which is approximately at least 20 L of water per person per day. In line with this, the most frequent complaints by water customers were regular interruption of water supply and unfair water distribution. The collected data also showed that there is prolonged water shortage in the town. Consequently, in order to narrow the supply and demand gap, expansion of water supply services that match with the town development must be carried out, the town water supply service enterprise should devise a mechanism so as to assure the equitable distribution of water among the residents and the concerned stakeholders should discharge their respective responsibilities properly.
Key words: Dilla town, water distribution, drinking water, supply and demand gap.
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