Water experts urge Ethiopia to redefine water conservation efforts

Water experts urge Ethiopia to redefine water conservation efforts

By Mekonnen Teshome

Ethiopian water sector experts want the country’s traditional ways of water resources management redefined for the country to effectively conserve water.

Water conservation involves efficient water collection, storage, and usage to reduce unnecessary wastage.  

Speaking during the event to observe the 2023 World Water Day in Addis, Ethiopia, water experts in the country emphasized the need to effectively harvest surface water and rainwater for now and future use. 

According to them, Ethiopia is one of the African countries endowed with water resources having many rivers and lakes; however, evidence shows that it is a water-stressed nation.

Ambassador Asfaw Dingamo, Drinking Water and Sanitation State Minister, underlined that apart from using its groundwaters, Ethiopia needs to maximize on effective utilization and reserving of its surface waters and even properly harness rainwater so that people would not suffer from lack of water in dry seasons.

Asfawu 2
Ambassador Asfaw Dingamo

The State Minister said, “When we say that ‘Ethiopia is the Water Tower of Africa,’ people think that we have excess water at hand. But this is not the case; it means that Ethiopia is the origin of many water bodies that flow down to other countries by virtue of its location of high altitude and embracing 70% of the African plateau. Otherwise, we are a water-stressed country, and we need to make maximum efforts to capture all our surface water recourses and effectively use them for our development activities.”

Ethiopia has 12 major river catchments, eight of which are river basins (Upper Blue Nile [Abbay], Tekeze, Awash, Danakil, Genale Dawa, Wabi Shebelle, Omo-Gibe, and Baro-Akobo), one is a lake basin (Rift Valley), and the remaining three are considered dry river basins (Merebe, Aysha, and Ogaden) owing to insignificant flow from the drainage system.

Special Advisor to the Water and Energy Minister Motuma Mekassa also indicated that as Ethiopia envisages meeting the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 which ensures access to water and sanitation for all by 2030, employees and leaders of the Ministry should work hard with a sense of urgency and effective time management not doing things “Business As Usual” as time seems against the national target. 

Motuma Mekassa Water and Energy Minister

The country’s safe drinking water national coverage stands at 58%, while sanitation is much lower than this, and the target is to reach 100 % over the rest of the seven years till 2030.

Motuma underscored that the development of the water sector and taking the necessary strides to ensure access to all citizens is the primary responsibility of the Ministry  

This year’s, 2023, World Water Day was observed across the world with the theme “Accelerating Change Required to Solve the Water and sanitation crises” 

Experts of the Ministry presented papers related to the thematic area during the event attended by Ministry leaders, employees, stakeholders and representatives of partners –  UNICEF, JICA, IRC-WASH, WaterAid and  Ethiopian Water Technology Institute (EWTI).

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