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Helping Ethiopia with water management

An EU-funded initiative developed a water resource management plan to help Ethiopia manage its water resources more effectively.
Helping Ethiopia with water management
Ethiopia suffers from drought and lack of water in many areas, yet it is home to a river basin and a number of lakes that could be managed to alleviate this problem. The EU-funded project 'Dissemination of research results in semi-arid and arid ecosystems with a focus on sustainable water resource management in Ethiopia' (Waterman) addressed this issue through an integrated water resource management plan. It analysed research results on sustainable water management and disseminated them to stakeholders in order to add and identify further research areas.

The project aimed to bring relief to arid and semi-arid ecosystems, boost economic productivity, introduce sustainable water management at river basin scale and educate farmers. It also aimed to enhance information exchange among stakeholders and motivate them by presenting case studies of successful projects. These objectives were met by organising several workshops involving the researchers and local stakeholders in a highly participatory approach.

One workshop focused on using hydrological information to implement water supply and management systems. It addressed multi-purpose use of water, irrigation, water harvesting technologies, water demand and water reuse. Another workshop addressed soil salinity, defining the problem of salt in arid and semi-arid areas and proposing solutions for management with government support. A third workshop focused on how groundwater could be used for irrigation.

A project symposium facilitated dissemination of research results by bringing together, among other groups, researchers, academics, development workers and students. Waterman also elaborated a science project award for young Ethiopian researchers to exploit research results. The researchers focused on water resource management, soil salinity, irrigation and soil fertility.

Overall, the project was very successful in bringing stakeholders together on all levels, including farmers. It identified numerous key topics for future research and contributed towards better dissemination of water management recommendations.

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