Rift Valley Lakes Basin Authority works to come up with sustainable and integrated water resources management in the Lakes Basin. The Lakes Basin is an area where over 12.6 million people and also very high number of animal population inhabit. There is high dynamism on the coverage of natural resources because of the increment of both human and animal population as well as investment activities in the lakes basin. According to the findings of various literatures, the water resources available in this Lakes Basin do not meet the needs of all the people whose aspirations vary. In addition, the water resources are exposed to pollution and unwise uses.
Be that as it may, there is rapid change in the coverage of natural resources and as result rivers and springs (both ground and surface water) showed significant change in quality and quantity. The lakes located in the basin are also exposed to siltation and evaporation losses. Therefore, integrated watershed management directorate is currently working to reverse this unwise and unsustainable use of natural resources in 23 (twenty three) Project Woredas with the budget allocated from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation. In addition, new project proposals are prepared and submitted to NGOs and government organizations to start watershed management activities in Ziway-Shalla and Chew Bahir sub-basins.
Major activities of Integrated Watershed Management Directorat
1. Physical soil and water conservation
These activities are being done currently in Hawassa sub-basin, Abaya-Chamo sub-basin and Ziway-Shalla sub-basin with an outlay allocated by the Lakes Basin Authority for Project Weredas where there exists severe degradation of natural resources. The activities include:-
- Gabion construction
- Half moon
- Bench terraces
- Percolation pit
- Eyebrow basin
- Micro basin
2. Biological soil and water conservation
Such activities are being done in all the 23 (twenty three) Project Weredas which are vulnerable to natural resources degradation and the activities are expected to reinforce (support) physical soil and water conservation practices. The activities under biological soil and water conservation are listed as follows.
- Nursery site establishment
- Raising seedlings which are adaptable to the local conditions
- Planting and managing trees /seedlings/
- Planting elephant and vetiver grasses
- Planting fodder /forage/ trees
- Area closure, etc.
3. Livelihood and income generating activities
These activities are being done to minimize dependency on natural resources and to create sense of ownership among the society. Livelihood and income generating activities basically take into account the active participation of women and youth group. The activities include:-
- Distribution of chicken package
- Distribution of modern bee hives
- Introducing fruit trees
Employment opportunities are created to those who inhabit the micro watershed and also to those who live outside the micro watershed. The employment opportunities are categorized as temporary and permanent. Temporary job opportunities are created to those who are engaged in gabion construction and pot filling. Permanent job opportunities are created to those who will be recruited as guards for nursery sites and also to those who safeguard protected areas. Gender issues are mandatory in the process of selection for temporary job opportunities.
Monitoring and Evaluation
The monitoring and evaluation processes will be done every month by professionals drawn from all the Directorates, from Zonal Administrations and management bodies and project focal persons from Wereda Administrations. Review meeting will also be done every six months in order to identify whether or not the project has brought about the required changes. There is high stakeholder engagement in all the evaluation processes and by now the attitudes of majority of the stakeholders towards the project have got improved.
Outputs of the project
- Soil losses minimized
- Forest lands /vegetation/ rehabilitated
- Environment rehabilitated
- Siltation and sedimentation problems minimized
- Livelihood opportunities diversified
- Job opportunities created
- Awareness created, etc.