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Experiences and challenges of integrated watershed management in central zones of southern Ethiopia

Author: 
Genene Tsegaye Mekonnen and Anteneh Fekadu
Subject Area: 
Life Sciences
Abstract: 

Integrated watershed management (IWM) is one of the best strategy to halt soil degradation. It mainly comprises protecting and rehabilitating watershed areas aimed to mitigate problems of runoff and floods, rehabilitate degraded lands, enrich ground water, increase production and vegetation cover. A holistic approach has been followed participating all stakeholders and it has operational since 2011 trough mobilizing community, constructing soil and water conservation structures, planting biological stabilizers, enclosing communal land and maintaining the structures. Apart from the massive IWM, South Agricultural Research Institute has implemented a pilot project at two mini watershed areas namely Qotto Asano and Ojojie. To attain the objectives, SARI has implemented technology introduction, watershed management, training and technology scaling up simultaneously. The lessons from technology innovation revealed that the watershed residents have been actively participated in problem identification, planning, technology choice, designing, bylaws setting, implementing, evaluations and maintenance. Lastly, in implementing IWM, there are an immense social, economical, institutional and environmental challenges that need emphasis of policy makers and development practitioners. Benefit, impacts of incentives, absence of linking community bylaws to formal laws, financial limitation, failure to consider land use, soil type and slope during designing are challenges that need policy considerations and remedy actions for sustainable use of natural resources.

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