Who Are We ?

WWDSE was established by government proclamation in 1998 G.C to enhance the effort being made in realizing the potential use of the water resources of the country to improve the socioeconomic development of the society...



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Water Resources of Ethiopia

Contributed By... Ministry of Water & Energy Home


All the stakeholders including the government have been undertaking their maximum efforts to improve the access of safe water and sanitation so as to increase the number of healthy and productive citizens. To reduce poverty and to insure sustainable socio-economic development the government of Ethiopia, NGOs, the public, and the private sector have engaged in implementation of water supply and sanitation projects i.e., study and design, construction, rehabilitation and maintenance, as well as capacity building activities at various levels.

During 1998 E.C. budget year rural and urban water supply activities have been carried out in regions.

I. Rural water supply schemes:

A/ Study and Design

During the budget year 431 source identification, 30 roof catchment's studies, study and design of new 726 rural water supply schemes, finalizing design of 11 rural schemes as well as study of 74 multi villages and rural towns have been carried out.

B/ Construction

In Rural Areas:

205 deep wells,

824 medium wells,

363 hand dung wells,

10 soil dams,

447 springs, and

3 multi - village water schemes, have been carried out through out the country.

C/ Rehabilitation

In addition, 6950 existing non-functional or semi-functional water schemes were maintained and rehabilitated during the budget year. This has reduced the percentage of rural non-functional water utilities
by 5% (from 30% in 1997 E.C. to 25% in 1998).

Non-functional or semi-functional of rural water supply schemes in 1998 budget year by regions (in percentage).




Percentage of Non functional schemes

































Benishangul - Gumuth























II. Urban water Supply and Sanitation

Source identification study for 23 towns, 15 towns' water supply study and design, and finalizing design of 10 town's water supply have been carried out during the budget year. Moreover construction of water supply schemes for 16 small towns, and rehabilitation of 6 towns' of water supply facilities have been carried out.

The overall 1998 Water Supply and Sanitation services performance show that the over all National Access to safe drinking water (i.e. both Urban and Rural) has increased from the last year's 42% to 47.3%, which exhibited an increment of 5% for water supply services in 1998. The following table shows those achievements in regions.

Access to Water Supply By Regions, 1998 E.C

























































Addis Ababa




National Average




Note* Due to the low level of investments in urban Water Supply System , the corresponding Access figures of 1998 for Amhara, Harari and Addis Ababa towns show lower values compared to the previous year.

III. Major Problems encountered

During the 1998 budget year water supply and sanitation program implementation, the following problems were encountered:

Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Services:

Shortage of skilled manpower, frequent turnover, and frequent structural changes particularly at lower administrative hierarchy, The longer time required for undertaking capacity building activities necessary to implement the World Bank investment resource, Poor project management, and monitoring and evaluation, Delay of external financial assistance, Poor maintenance and rehabilitation Poor water quality control

Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Services:

Depletion or exhaustion of ground water potentials, Longer time period required for construction of Urban WS&S, Currently majority of the existing Urban WS&S water systems designs have phased out, however on the other hand the rate of rehabilitation and expansion has been lagging behind, Poor maintenance and rehabilitation, Poor water quality control, Most urban water utilities do not fulfill the requirement or the principle of cost recovery and self-reliance, which has undermined the interests of the external borrower. On the other hand, contrary to its huge Urban Water Supply investment requirements' the flow has remained very low.


To ensure agricultural productivity and attain food security so as to reduce the level of poverty and enhance national economic development, different Irrigation projects have been implemented during the budget year. They have been carried out at pre-feasibility, feasibility, design and construction levels, which include:

Completion of the 177,998 hectares of identification study; in Megech, Rib, Anger, Negeso, Upper Belse and Angerbe sub cathements.

Detail feasibility and design studies of 233.9 thousand hectares. These detail feasibility and design activities have been undertaken in Gumera, Arjo-Dedesa, Humera, Lake Abaya , Erer and Gololcha, and Tana irrigation development areas by MOWR as well as other projects in deferent regions.

Construction of irrigation development projects.

2.1 Traditional Small scale Irrigation Development

Based on regional reports, 166634 hectares of small scale irrigation have been developed traditionally by farmers during the budget year. This makes the total hectare of traditional small scale irrigation developed up to the end of the budget year to 346.3 thousand, with beneficiaries of 1.33 million households.

2.2 Modern Small scale Irrigation Development

In 1998, study and design of 48 small scale irrigation projects and design of 15 small scale irrigation projects have been carried out. More over Preliminary study of 63 small scale irrigation projects have been
conducted. Most of the study and design work of the modern small scale irrigation projects have been carried out in Tigray, Amhara, SNNP and Oromiya regions.

Similarly constructions of 8338 hectares of 21 modern small scale irrigation projects have been completed in the budget year, which benefits 33 thousand households.

2.3 Medium and Large scale Irrigation Development

Feasibility studies of Arjo Deddessa irrigation development project in Abbay cathement's and Humera irrigation development project in Tekeze cathement's have been carried out in the budget year.

In 1998, study and design of 12 medium and large scale irrigation projects have been carried out, (8 by MOWR, and 3 by SNNP and one by Oromiya). Moreover preliminary works have been completed to undertake feasibility study and design for Program II World Bank supported irrigation and drainage project in Abbay catchment's, Earor & Gololcha, Elion & Buldeho in Wabi Shebel catchment's, and Gelana, Gidabo & Bilate in Abaya catchment's, as well as Ziway irrigation development in Rift Valley catchment's.

In order to utilize ground water potential for irrigation, feasibility studies are being undertaken in Ada Bucho in Oromiya region and Alaydege in Afar region. In addition preparations have been completed to carry out feasibility studies in Kobo Girana in Amhara region and Raya Azobo in Tigray Region.

Moreover feasibility studies of Beza, Gilama and Small Abaya projects in SNNP region and Awash Fentale in Oromiya region have been carried out in the budget year.

In general feasibility studies of 233.9 thousand hectares of irrigation development projects have been under going.

On the other hand construction of 2521 hectares of Medium and Large scale Irrigation has been carried out in 1998 E.C. See the tables.

In general, the main reasons that are related to the low level of performances are low implementation capacity including shortage of heavy machineries and equipment, lack of capable and efficient contractors and their poor managerial experiences, as well as shortage of skilled manpower. Besides poor geological formations, shortage of cement, early rain, etc have contributed to the low performance of irrigation development in 1998.


To improve the successful implementation of programs/projects, activities as well as to facilitate the decisions making and planning processes in the Water sector, the frame work for monitoring and evaluation system in general and with their key M&E indicators in particular have been designed. Relevant discussions and trainings have been conducted with the federal and regional implementing bodies and generally agreed upon the implementation and follow-up of the M&EMIS, as well exchange of Water sector information and experiences. As agreed Water Sector Consultation quarterly meeting has been conducted where by an assessment of water sector performances and achievements been carried out. Preparation of the Water sector assessment report has already been started based on the first quarterly meeting held on last July, and information that has been collected and reviewed from different reports and documents of the sector.

Financial Utilization

For all Water sector activities being carried out in 1998 E.C. by MOWR and Regional offices as well as some NGOs, Birr 1.6 billion has been utilized. Of which,

1.26 billion (78.8%) is spent from government, 189.5 Million (11.9%) is spent from grant, 115.8 Million (7.3%) is spent from loan and 32.049 Million (2%) is spent from own resource.

This financial resource has been invested in different water sector development sub programs as stated below.

Water supply and sanitation birr 793.6 Million (49.7%), Irrigation Development birr 696.91 Million (43.7%), Hydropower Development birr 40.79 Million (2.6%), Water resource, and Basin/Watershed Management development birr 46.31 Million (2.9%), and Capacity Building / Man power Development birr 18 Million (1.1%).

May The Dream Come True

Few years onwards, following the increasing number of Projects, the size of the business of the Enterprise has becoming growing more.

The trend, in fact, required increasing associated personal and material facilities such as equipments, office and the like.

Accordingly , the Enterprise in the short term adopted several remedial actions that could resolve the shortages in such a way that would not be cause for redundant man power and unnecessary growth of fixed costs i.e. hiring labor through free lance and contract; material resources except allowed investments through purchasing in terms of reimbursable and office in rental basis.

however, the sustainable growth of the business in due course has made the measures obsolete and the following effects widely revealed.

  • Increasing part time professionals fee,
  • Job insecurity, Lack of belongingness, etc in the contract workers side and being potential causes for higher turn over rate.
  • On the other hand, the distance between the head office and rental project offices halted easy communication and resources utilization from a common pool.

As the situations getting more severe, it was mandatory to look for some more strategic actions that could entirely culminate the problems. And hence, new ideas have been born in the minds of the management.

Accordingly, a package of proposals that could address the problems as well as open anew dimension that would place the Enterprise in the right business track to move ahead with faster rate to meet customer satisfaction and by in large lead to its vision is foreseen.

Amongst of these, implementation of Business Process Re-engineering; quality management system, adapting new organizational structure and introducing attractive and reasonable salary scale, contracting own building ...etc. are the most important prioritized areas.

Accordingly, various groups of task forces have been organized from the in house Capacity to conduct the assignments supported by hired professional consultants.

I promise to give highlights in each area of improvements independently to the readers in coming issues.

For the time being, I would like to restrict my self only to the construction of the "Head Office Building" As the idea of possessing own building comes in to light, the next enthusiastic steep was to think of what its architectural design would looks like.

So that, the assigned team`s primary task was to look for the best professional firm who would manage the architectural work of the building. Accordingly, the team proposed both from quality of the design and service`s cost perspective one of the closest stakeholder of the Enterprise i.e. Addis Ababa University faculty of Engineering.

Even though, the University accepts the offer with a great pleasure and conducted the study, what was not noticed was license and associated issues that the Ministry of Works and Urban Development requires to approve the design.

As a result, the document suspendedand all the process went back to short listing repute dfirms in building consultency from the open market.

Accordingly, among six engineering consulting firms proposed and invited to submit their interest, three have responded.

Finally, Associated engineering Consultants awarded to take over the assignment.

The next step to be done in this process was to select a proper contractor.

In this regard, to compensate the time lost in the project study process, the Enterprise short listed number of reputed firms working in the sector and finally directly awarded a government owned sister company and of all the close business partner 'Water Works Constraction Enterprise (WWCE)' based on the list price, short constraction time and beast quality principle.

In fact, the Enterprise would get advantages in every aspect from this contract since the chine`s firm associated WWCE is know for its best performance.

In this contract WWCE is supposed to be a leading firm in the association and the Chinese constraction firm in the called Chaina Jiongxi Corporation for International Economic and Technical Cooperration (CJCIETC) an associate.

However, this contract couldn`t succeed because the leading firm declined and officially requested termination of the constract due to several issues raised firm the associating company (CJCIETC).

Accordingly, the contract amicably canceled with no further claim in all sides.

Such circumstances usually panics management, however, the close link with the boards of management contributed significant role to see so many alternative options in which things move ahead.

Subsequently, an open tender floated and about 22 companies showed interest and bought the tender document even though only 10 responded. Among these, the first 5 companies failed to succeed in the technical evaluation process.

Of the remaining 5 companies that qualify for the financial evaluation, MagerCon.P.L.C. awarded a winner with its minimum offer.

The project estimated to cost 93 million and the construction assumed to be completed with in 30 months time.

This building comprise of 3 blocks that would constructed phase by phase.

The two blocks in the left side of the building have already started and hoped to be completed as per its schedule.

No mater how things move out of expectation, what requires is, the knowledge of maneuvering things to manage the changes.

Hence, we have to expect so many changes in our life as well as in the plan we draw to accomplish a single task.

In general, the effort exerted and being made shows the commitment to realize the strategies designed as minimum as possible resources which would ultimately make easy the course of moving to wards

our vision. I feel, for many, having own Enterprise`s building was vert remote and for most were like fun but coming realized and I hope, all of us will see our dream soon so long as we work hard.

I like to share from my little knowledge of 'Bible'. It says, 'Desire then, your father in the heaven will provide you !!!!!!'


We hope, we will see soon the building we have posted for years in our so many promotional materials like Agenda, brochure...etc. erected then entirely completed.

Same logic works to reach at our organization wide vision 'to see WWDSE being reputed International Consulting firm'.

May be some of lucky member of the staff could see happened this too.

If we work hard, we will definitely increase the number of staffs see the vision being happened.

Finally, I would like to give credit to late Ato Tesfaye Zeleke and Mesfin Shewaferaw`s who had been contributed all their best for the success of this building.

May the almighty God would rest their soul in the heaven. Amen!!

Contributed by ...Kassa Seboka

(Written based on infotmation extracted from the reports and interviews made with some of the concerned working units)

The Soil and Soil Survey Investigation

Contributed By Fikadu Kassa

The "Soils" is defined as a three dimensional body, occupying the uppermost part of the earth's crust, having properties differing from the underlying rock material and relief as a result of interactions between climate, living organisms, parent material, relief and man for over period of time.

 It is distinguished from other soils' interms of differences in internal characteristics and/or interms of gradient, slope-complexity, macro-topography and stoniness and rockiness of the surface.

Without soil there is no life on planet earth and soil ,indeed, is SOUL (S) OF (O) INFINITE (I) LIFE (L), an invaluable gift of God to life on earth and unless we manage it intelligently, humanity has no future.

Historical Perspective

One of the earliest land evaluation systems that incorporated a soil classification was established during the Vao dynasty (2357-2261 B.C.) in China.

Soils were graded into nine classes, based on their productivity.

It has been suggested that property taxes were based on the size of the individual land holding and soil productivity (Lee, 1921).

In former times (< 1600 A.C.), soil was solely considered as a medium for plant growth.

Knowledge of soil behavior and crop growth was passed from generation to generation gained by observation.

For example, in the Middle Ages it was well known that manure applied to soils improved crop growth.

There was a close relationship between plant and animal production.

For instance, the "Plaggen cultivation" was practiced for a long time in Europe, which left "Plaggen soils": The top of grassland was peeled off and used as litter in the stables.

This material mixed with manure was applied to arable land to improve crop production.

In 1840, the German chemist Justus von Liebig initiated a revolution in soil science and agriculture.

He proved that plants assimilate mineral nutrients from the soil and proposed the use of mineral fertilizers to fortify deficient soils.

Crop production was increased tremendously using mineral fertilizers.

Another effect was the shift from extensive to intensive techniques in agriculture, which influenced soils.

Thaer (1853) published a classification that combined texture as a primary subdivision with further subdivisions based on agricultural suitability and productivity.

Several classifications based largely on geologic origin of soil material were also proposed in the 19th century (Fallou, 1862; Peters et al., 1885; Richtofen, 1886).

From the 1660s onwards, various members of The Royal Society of London proposed schemes of soil classification that incorporated elements of a natural or scientific approach in their criteria (Boyle, 1665; Lister, 1684).

From this period on, the disciplines of agricultural chemistry (with a strong focus on soil fertility), geography, and geology provided a broad but somewhat fragmented background from which pedology emerged as a separate discipline in the late 19th century more or less independently in Russia (Dokuchaev and colleagues) and in the United States (Hilgard and colleagues).

In 1883, Dokuchaev carried out a comprehensive field study in Russia, where he described the occurrence of different soils thoroughly using soil morphologic features.

Due to his observations in the field he hypothesized that different environmental conditions result in the development of different soils.

He defined soil as an independent natural evolutionary body formed under the influence of five factors, of which he considered vegetation and climate the most important.

Dokuchaev is generally credited with formalizing the concept of the "five soil forming factors", which provides a scheme for study of soils as natural phenomena.

The soil classification developed by Dokuchaev and his colleagues (Glinka, Neustruyev) was based on the soil forming factors -> soil forming processes -> and diagnostic horizons / soil properties.

The focus in his soil classification approach was in soil genesis, therefore the classification system is called "genetic".

The Soil Survey Description

"A soil survey describes the characteristics of the soils in a given area, classifies the soils according to the standard system of classification, plots the boundaries of the soils on a map, and makes predictions about the behavior of soils. The different uses of the soils and how the response of management affects them are considered [in designing and carrying out the survey]. The information collected in a soil survey helps in the development of land-use plans and evaluates and predicts the effects of land use on the environment."

The Purpose of Soil Surveys

It is apparent that "soil" is a narrow concept than the "land": soil is one of the several attributes of the land.

However, as soil genesis and the resulting soil characteristics are the result of several factors that also play a role in the properties of the land, there is a certain overlap between the two concepts.

The term " Soil Resource Survey" refers to the field investigation of the soils and other important land attributes of a specific area or tract of land in order to show the variability of land characteristics and distribution of different land units on a map, and to describe, classify and interpret these units for certain purposes of use in the form of a report.

The soil resource surveys may have many objectives.

The one most common and the main objective is to assess the potential and limitations of the resources and predict their response under different kinds of use and management.

Such information is of basic importance in developing land use plans an alternatives involving land management systems as well as in evaluating and predicting the effects of a proposed land use alternative.

The important areas in which the need for soil resource surveys is realized include the following.

  • Selection of the areas which can be developed for agriculture, forestry or rangeland etc.
  • Allocation of areas to different kinds of major land use i.e., irrigated agriculture, rainfed agriculture, timber forestry, woodland forestry, grazing/ livestock production, water catchment conservation, industrial and residential settlements, etc.
  • Selection of promising land use alternatives and suitable crops for cultivation in different parts of an area, and formulation of appropriate cropping patterns.
  • Prediction of crop yields and agricultural productivity of an area or region and long-term planning for the national/ regional food and fiver needs.
  • Prediction of possible changes or environmental hazards like soil erosion, drought, salinization, waterlogging, etc with the proposed development of an area or with future changes in land use.
  • Prescription of land management recommendation for maximum agricultural outputs and land resource conservation.
  • Formulation of land development projects.
  • Estimation of land development requirement and costs of a selected project area.
  • Determination of water requirements for irrigation of a selected project area.
  • Estimation of expected income and net financial benefits of the implementation of a selected project.
  • Land appraisal for consolidation, taxation and advancement of agricultural credits.
  • Planning for rehabilitation of degraded lands i.e., the lands affected by soil erosion, soil salinity/ acidity, water logging, etc.
  • Rational distribution of irrigation water resources.
  • Sitting agro-based industries.
  • Alignment and designing of roads, railway lines, irrigation canals, drainage channels, etc.
  • Field application of the results of agri-research conducted at experimental farms/research stations.
  • International coordination in agricultural research and soil management technology.
  • Acquisition of development funds from international aid-giving agencies.

Soil Survey Consumers

The information consumer is a person or organization or community which needs to know something about soil properties, as outlined in the previous section.

For the soil resource, these consumers include:

  • Land managers: farmers, ranchers, foresters, plantation managers… This group decides what to do with each land area, i.e. what to use it for, and under what management system.
  • Advisors to land managers: extensionists.

This group advises land managers.

  • Service industries related to land use: e.g. agricultural credit agencies, banks, investment groups.

This group facilitates land use and needs to know if their investment will be productive.

  • Land-user planners: rural, suburban, peri-urban, urban.

This group prohibits, advises, or facilitates certain kinds of land use in different areas.

  • Regulatory agencies: a sub-group of land-use planners, but with a specific legal authority to regulate land use.

Example: in the Netherlands, the amount of animal manures that can be applied to a hectare of land is determined by the soil type; the purpose of this regulation is to avoid ground-water pollution.

  • Taxation authorities: in some countries, land is taxed on its productive potential.

The outstanding example is Germany, following the 1934 law designed to insure fair land valuation for taxation and fair compensation for land reallocation.

  • Environmental managers who use the soil as an element of landscape ecology.
  • Researchers on the land's response to various land uses and management strategies: e.g. agricultural experimentalists; they expect that different soil units respond differently to management
  • Researchers on the land's contribution to various natural and human processes: hydrologists, geographers.
  • Engineers such as irrigation, civil
  • Bankers, Investors, Land Appraisers, Credit Agencies and Directors of Tax Equalization

FAO IDEPSA, 1990- Collection and Utilization of Land Resources Data for Feasibility Studies of Agricultural Development Project, Adiss Ababa.

Kevin Mcsweeney, Sabin Grunwald, 1999 Soil Morphology Classification and Mapping University of Wisconsin Madise Department of Soil Scince.

Disputes Resolution System in Construction Industry

By Kinfe Tekleab(WWDSE)

Construction contract disputes are fairly common and they vary in their nature, size of complexity. It simply  reflects the complexity of modern day construction project which requires events that attempts to achieve a maximum effect of numerous interdependent components, including information, materials, tools,  equipment, and a large number of personnel working for independent engineers, contractors and suppliers.  If construction contract disputes, is not resolved in a timely manner, become very expensive in  terms of  finance, time of opportunity cost. In Ethiopia construction litigation expenditures increased at some percent  from year to year.

A more effective approach would be a dispute resolution system that emphasizes prevention in addition to resolution and includes the flexibility to determine the most appropriate Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) method for each dispute, in an effort to find the "least invasive procedure" that has a strong likelihood of success. A dispute resolution system presents a strategy to develop more cost-effective business dispute resolution systems. They describe four summary methods of dealing with conflict: avoidance, collaboration, resoling to higher authority and power plays.

The four principles to consider when designing an effective dispute resolution system for constructions are:

- Even when problems turn in to disputes, litigation should not be the method use to resolve them.

- Many problems prevention and litigation avoidance approaches exist: these techniques are most effective when applied early in the project.

Due to the number of individuals organizations, of issues involved in a modern construction project, problems are inevitable. The desire to finish the project and challenge of resources for identifying the root cause of the problem contribute to the danger of delaying the intervention necessary to resolve disputes.

In the most majority of construction disputes, some form of ADR is the most appropriate recourse -those in which a determination on a legal principle is required, or the establishment of a legal precedent .ought. Considering these facts together, the proposed solution is to contractually specify a frame work for dispute resolution that combines early intervention with flexibility in the selection of Alternative Dispute Resolution
(ADR) methods, rather than specifying a particular method to be applied to all disputes.

The complexity of today's construction projects brings together many stakeholders, skills and condition which are always variable. The atmosphere of complexity and uncertainty in some construction do not run as smoothly as planed and hence expose the stakeholders specially the client and the main contractor to lead many problems. For this reason no construction projects are free from problems and when problems are not immediately solved as they arise, they can become major issue which eventually end.

Causes of Dispute in Construction Projects

Construction industry is full of uncertainty to arise dispute in its nature. Dispute can be categorizes as follows:

Disputes due to delivery systems and

Dispute Due to Design Error

Dispute due to design error includes:

Different site condition,

Design inadequacies and

Poor contractual documentation is one of the causes of dispute in construction industry, i.e. preparation of contract document with respect to standard condition of contract.

Poor site investigation is also a cause of dispute due to in proper investigation of soil type, and manpower of the site, site security, infrastructure, utility and others.

Dispute during Contract Delivery

Generally, there are six types of contract delivery systems, These are:-

The consultant will carry out the design together with the necessary tender documents which will be the bases for tendering to select contractors. These process is called Design-Bid-Build and hence the name for such delivery system.

.. Finance / Build Operate Transfer (BOT):- is a form of contract delivery system promotes public private  partnership /PPP/ in which a private company is contracted to finance, design, construct, operate for a  certain period and transfer it to the owners. etc

Disputes on-site or during the execution of the work mainly b/n the two parties i.e. Client & Contractor starting of the construction to the final acceptance of the project include:

Misunderstanding of condition of contract leads to dispute if one of the stakeholders misinterpreted the contract document.

Late payments are another cause of dispute during the execution of the work, if the consultant not approved payment on time and if the client not effects the approved payment on time to the contractor. In GCC clause No 43/43.1 stated that the client should pay to the contractor with in 30 days, beyond that the contractor is liable to claim interest.

Failure to follow condition of contract this might be the cause to dispute if the parties cannot implement the clauses and articles of the contract documents, which is signed and sealed by them.

Unjustified delay cause dispute in construction due to negligence, financial shortage of contractor, shortage of construction material, machinery, manpower if the contract is not subjected to it, it is stated in cont.  agreement as day work with unit rate of reinforcement bar, full and cement.

The FIDIC Clause 67 Settlement of Disputes clause 67.1,67.4,1.1(iv)

Disputes (PPA Version Jan 2006) Clause 24/24.1,25/25.1?3 and 26/26.1

Ethiopian Arbitration and Conciliation Center (EACC)

Dispute Resolution According to AACCSA Jan 15,2008

ERA?s Settlement of Disputes

Disputes Resolution in Construction Industry

In the construction industry, there are expert neutrals who may be advisors jointly employed at the beginning of the relationship of the contracting parties for the purpose of preventing disputes rather than allowing issues to grow until they become real disputes. These include collaborating, a unique concept in dispute resolution, that is proactive and which may prevent disputes. It attempts to deal with problems before they arise, by establishing good working relationships amongst all the parties. This accomplished through fostering of teamwork, communication, and trust and does not create enforceable obligations, but rather relies on the development of mutual goals and values so that the Parties work as a team towards a common goal. In such an atmosphere, disputes are likely to be less frequent and may be solved quickly when they arise (Matyas, et al 1996).

Partnering is a process which aims to create a good principal-contractor relationship from the outset. It can lay the foundation for better and more productive working relationships on the project, by establishing an atmosphere of trust and frankness in communications. A central objective is to encourage contracting parties to change from their traditional adversarial relationships to a more co-operative team-based approach and to prevent disputes. Care is needed however, if only because of its name, that partnering does not complicate legal relationships.

Partnering involves a workshop meeting, at the commencement of the contract period, between all those involved - principal, contractor, subcontractors, engineer, etc. The meeting is managed by an independent third party, and might for example take a full day. The outcome is recorded in an agreed Charter or Mission Statement.

In their outcome, they may for example include:

. a plan or program to achieve these objectives

. means of achieving good communication, co-operation and pride

After the workshop, project leaders continue to meet (with or without the assistance of the third party) to establish performance measures for each of the shared objectives. The draft of these measures is then discussed and finalized by all participants. Smaller projects may not need such attention to detail. Larger projects may need additional workshops to provide for review, bring on board new members of the project team, and assess progress.

Partnering has been described as a "covenant of good faith". It is morally persuasive, but is not intended to alter in any way the duties which otherwise exist or are defined by the contracts between the parties. If the covenant fails, the fallback is to their legal responsibilities and relationships defined in law and in the contracts

A Disputes Review Board (DRB) involves a panel of expert neutral persons being set up at the outset and therefore being available throughout to provide an independent assessment of the possible causes of disputes. A DRB usually consists of three members, selected by both the contractor and the owner soon after the award of the contract. With smaller contracts, the panel might be a single person, which may be regarded as equivalent to appointing an expert conciliator or mediator for the duration of the contract.

The DRB members visit the job regularly during construction and are kept advised regarding progress, they can actually observe the problems at the time they occur and, based on their own construction experience, understand the technical details and contractual ramification involved.

Dispute Resolution Advisors (DRA), who are normally experts in the field, help the parties to identify contractual issues early and processes them through to agreed conditions. The DRA needs to display some mediation skills. The benefits include fewer disputes, less budgetary surprises and smoother cash flow for the parties throughout the contractual relationship (Fisher et al 2001).

In other intra-personal or inter-personal conflicts, such as those in commercial or corporate as well as community disputes, there are other forms of neutrals that would assist, parties prevent or resolve disputes/conflicts or facilitate decision-making process. One good example is facilitation, which has found itself in the construction industry. It is less structured, more flexible and open-ended than mediation and may be applied in a wider range circumstances. Facilitation is a process whereby an independent outsider becomes involved in a problem by giving assistance to the parties in dispute through a process of decisionmaking without making any binding decisions for the parties. The wide range of matters that
a facilitator may contribute includes information-gathering, fact-finding, holding meetings, establishing voting criteria and private consultations. Facilitators are experts in communication, negotiation and mediation skills.

The non-judgmental methods bring the disputants to a round table and mutually resolve their dispute, and such methods are through negotiation, mediation, conciliation, mini-trial, etc.

According to Fisher (1991), direct negotiation is a common dispute resolution process in which parties themselves, or their representatives, try to resolve the dispute without involving any neutral third party. It is a voluntary and an unstructured process agreed by both parties, privately and confidentially. The features that contribute to the success of direct negotiation include avoiding taking entrenched positions in the dispute, but rather seeking solutions, which meet the needs and interest of both parties. However, the success of negotiation depends on interpersonal communication skills of the parties during the entire process. Negotiation would be the first port of call when a dispute occurs and should resolve a dispute at this stage.

As negotiation is a consensual process, it requires willingness by both parties to attempt resolution by this method. If the relationship between the parties has broken down beyond this point then negotiation will not be possible. Negotiation can take many forms ranging from an informal chat or a telephone conversation between the parties or their lawyers to a highly structured and complex process taking place over an extended period.

It is important that the parties involved perceive an agreement as fair. Perceived fairness depends on participation. Therefore, people?s problems (e.g. perception, emotion, ego, communication, etc) must also be dealt with Care is needed in preparing for negotiation, including review of all the pertinent facts (both pro and con) and evaluation of the best alternative that can be achieved if the negotiation fails Each party needs to explain its own interests, and listen carefully to the other party.


The mediator manages the framework of the day but ensures that the parties retain responsibility for their problem and its resolution. The mediator will help parties avoid, or overcome, deadlock so that they can concentrate their energies on negotiating a deal.

The advantages of mediation can be outlined as follows:

. The key to any mediation is the fact that it is private and the procedure is confidential between mediator and parties. This enables the parties to talk frankly.

. One of the key strength of the mediation is that the parties take control of the outcome and negotiate their own settlement. The settlement may take into account any number of non-financial factors and needs that are impossible in other disputes resolution forums.


The conciliator?s role is also broader than in the mediation as it includes advising the parties on the possible result of the dispute if it were resolved in either arbitration or litigation. In conciliation, the process begins with identification of the issues, then the options for resolution are explored, the conciliator advises on likely outcome of dispute in other forums and in light of this the options for resolution are considered; and ideally a consensual agreement is then reached.

Another process involving neutral third party in a dispute is the mini-trial, which brings together senior decision makers from each disputant to hear presentations by junior representatives or their respective legal representatives and help them to negotiate on resolution at private. This is mainly used in big projects where the senior decision makers may not be aware of the real situation and the subordinates may not be aware of the needs and priorities of the parties (Dighello 2000).

In mini-trial, the case is heard not by judge, but by the senior professional or other high-level business people from both sides. The representative should have full settlement authority. A third party neutral usually joins the party representative listening to the proofs and argument, and can make any necessary decision to regulate the process. At any time, the neutral can advise, mediate, or offer advisory opinions. Following the presentations, the party?s representatives meet, with or without the neutral, to negotiate a settlement. Frequently, the neutral will serve as a mediator during the negotiations or be asked to offer a non-binding opinion on the potential court outcome.

Preventive and Amicable vs. Arbitration and Litigation

In Arbitration and Litigation, the final power of decision rests on the third party which is subjected to vary limited judicial review. Where as in Preventive and Amicable methods the third party has absolutely no power beyond that of persuasion.

In Arbitration and Litigation the third party avoids private communications with the parties concerning issues of the dispute and their position. Whereas the third party in the Preventive and Amicable methods tries to communicate privately with each party for the purpose of learning their private views and interests with respect to the dispute at hand.


When all efforts by the parties to resolve differences amicably have failed, by which time the parties have developed entrenched adversarial positions in the dispute, then, a third party has to listen to both sides and make a judgment. One such method used is Adjudication.


Arbitration is the settlement of a dispute by the decision not of a regular and ordinary court of law but of one or more persons chosen by parties themselves who are called arbitrators. Thus, arbitration is out-of-court proceeding where the arbitrator acts as a judge.

Arbitration is out-of-court proceeding where the arbitrator acts as a judge Arbitration is a dispute resolution process in which one or more neutral third parties hear the evidence and arguments of each disputant and make a decision for them. The outcome is one of a win/lose situation and is not based on any precedent(s). The decision of the arbitrator is legally binding and, often, there is no provision for appeal to a court of law. There are exceptions, such as misconduct of the arbitrator. Rules of evidence used in arbitration depend on the prior agreement between the parties. It may take a long time, same as for a litigation process, and may even be more costly. What makes it attractive is the mutual agreement by the parties, appointment of arbitrator, privacy and confidentiality (Boulle 1996)

Litigation (used when all other venues failed) is a dispute resolution method that is inquisitorial and adversarial, where by the disputant initiates legal action against the other party by going to court (Agarwal 2001). It has a win/lose outcome and rarely satisfies both parties (Fisher et al 1991). It is costly and results into much delay for the disputants and may not do justice to the parties. However, the benefit of litigation is that the court has authority to find out the truth from the parties and the enforcement of the order or judgment is supported by other law enforcement agencies. It is also used when parties have low resources and need an umpire or when they cannot agree to other forms of dispute resolution.

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