In urban areas where water is not adequately supplied, women’s efforts to make a living out of water-intensive businesses face many challenges. The study examined how small-scale businesses run by women in Wukro town, Ethiopia are impacted by inadequate supply of water, and what coping strategies are employed. The lived experiences of women involved in small-scale water-intensive businesses, such as traditional beer brewing and coffee shops, were examined. In addition to these women, the perspectives and experiences of selected key informants as well as the officers at the local water utility have been assessed. Whether or not these women secure support from the social networks in their neighbourhood has also been considered. The study revealed that the unreliable supply of water in the town has impacted women involved in small business. It was indicated that some women manage to do well either by borrowing water from neighbours or purchasing from providers. In contrast, others who run businesses in rented houses with limited social networks expressed that they are struggling. Suggestions are made for the water utility to revise its working guidelines related to the provision of water services and to implement a gendered perspective in water management practices.