Deputy Premier Demeke Mekonnen urges an integrated river basin development work through designing strategic plans that consider the economic, social and life ecosystem of the people in basin countries.
While chairing the 5th River Basin High Council meeting yesterday, the Deputy remarked that all river basins should exert utmost effort jointly with a focus given to the four pillars of river basis development in the country.
He further stated “All basins and stakes should focus to water management tasks, water allocation, water quality works and natural disaster prevention.”
Demeke further noted that buffer zone protection should also get due attention by the already established river basin authorities through considering the land management system of the nation.
The Deputy Premier also stressed that river basin development activities should be led under set standards over the next budget year.
River basin development activities also need to be advanced through new technologies that have capacity to fill the existing gaps in the area.
Likewise, he accentuated “all the development activities in the area must follow the drought resilient strategic approach which calls for holistic intervention.”
Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, Engineer Sileshi Bekele (PhD) on his part said that the government of Ethiopia has established River Basin High Council with the aim of bringing fair and equitable water administration that would benefit the public at large. He said adding that efforts are underway to make water resource management supported by information and communication strategic plans.
He mentioned that draft strategic plan for the Awash River Ziway Shala and Abay River Basins and Rift Valley Lakes, Tana Beles have been prepared so far. The Minister said “the task of establishing river basins under authorities is in the process even if Awash and Abay River Basin and Rift Valley lakes are made practical at the moment.”
Due to the joint effort done by stakeholders on river basin development over 550,000 hectares of degraded lands which in the Abay, rift valley lakes, Wabe Shebele, Omo Gibe, Tekeze and Awash river basins have been restored.
Moreover out of the joint river basin development tasks some about 32,577 jobs were created.
He further noted that much has been done in the areas of flood prevention, irrigation development, buffer zone protection, sampling study and research endeavors, prevention of pollutants.
Performance reports of the last fiscal year and the coming year plan of Awash, Abay, and rift valley lakes river basins have been presented and discussed by the participants.
The council has also discussed on ways of introducing climate resilient water supply programs and the engagement of over 250,000 youth graduates in the Youth Based River Basin Development Program.
Ministers, city administrators, commissioners and government development agency heads took part in the Council.
BY YARED GEBREMEDEN