Some factors inhibiting the achievement of these goals are the limited capacity of water bureaus in the country's nine regions,two city administrations and water desks in the 550 districts of Ethiopia (woredas); insufficient cost recovery for proper operation and maintenance; and different policies and procedures used by various donors, notwithstanding the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness.
In 2001 the government adopted a water and sanitation strategy that called for more decentralized decision-making; promoting the involvement of all stakeholders, including the private sector; increasing levels of cost recovery; as well as integrating water supply, sanitation and hygiene promotion activities. Implementation of the policy apparently is uneven.
In 2005 the government announced highly ambitious targets to increase coverage in its Plan for Accelerated Sustained Development and to End Poverty (PASDEP) for 2010. The investment needed to achieve the goal is about US$300 million per year, compared to actual investments of US$39 million in 2001–2002. In 2010 the government presented the equally ambitious Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) 2011–2015, which aims at increasing drinking water coverage, based on the government's definition, from 68.5% to 98.5%. While donors have committed substantial funds to the sector, effectively spending the money and to ensure the proper operation and maintenance of infrastructure built with these funds remain a challenge.
Ethiopia has 12 river basins with an annual runoff volume of 122 billion m3 of water and an estimated 2.6 - 6.5 billion m3 of ground water potential. This corresponds to an average of 1,575 m3 of physically available water per person per year, a relatively large volume. However, due to large spatial and temporal variations in rainfall and lack of storage, water is often not available where and when needed. Only about 3% of water resources are used, of which only about 11% (0.3% of the total) is used for domestic water supply.
The capital Addis Ababa's main source of drinking water is the Gafsara dam built during the Italian occupation and rehabilitated in 2009. Wells and another dam complement the supply.