Ecohydrology as an innovative, low-cost approach to soil erosion control has been embarked on in the Lake Hawassa sub-catchment by the Protecting Lake Hawassa partnership (PLH). This approach, due to its multiple benefits, became a preferred option among farmers over conventional soil erosion control methods.
The Ethiopian Minister for Water and Energy, His Excellency Dr. Eng. Habtamu Itefa, visited one of the PLH project sites in Shalla Woreda on 15 November 2021. He was joined in the official visit by State Minister Dr. Abrham Adugna and the former Minister for Water, Irrigation, and Energy, Mr. Motuma Mekassa, as well as other higher officials. The visit was initiated by a mutual interest of the Ministry and Rift Valley Lakes Basin Office (RVLBO), aiming at showcasing successful projects in the basin. During the visit, the Minister pointed out that the project is very eco-friendly and successful in managing the increasing challenges of landscape degradation.
A way forward
H.E. Dr. Eng. Habtamu mentioned that the technology has the potential to be scaled at national level after additional piloting in other parts of the rift valley basin. The government officials also acknowledged the suitability of the technology for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in providing multiple ecosystem services and sediment reduction. The technical manual “Ecohydrology-Based Landscape Restoration” developed with a collaborative effort of Hawassa University and PLH was highly appreciated by visitors. The Minister stated that this manual shall be nationally harmonized and officially adopted by the Ministry of Water and Energy, as well as the Ministry of Agriculture, for wider circulation and implementation.