Do you know that around seven large and up to 76 medium and small rivers flow year long in Addis Ababa?
However, this water bodies that could add a lot to the city’s tourism potentials received little or no attention for long time. The population pressure upstream along with other contributing factors has given them an unpleasant look.
But, it was recently that pertinent bodies have taken practical steps to see healthy rivers in Addis which could play a fundamental role in improving human lives both emotionally and economically.
Addis Ababa River and Riversides Development Project Office is the government institution tasked with rehabilitating and developing the rivers of the city.
The office has a five year project with a budget as big as one billion birr aimed at rehabilitating the city’s rivers, Project Office Director Walelign Desalegn told The Ethiopian Herald.
The effective completion of the project can have a significant impact on the lives of the city’s residents and beyond. On top of this, it creates additional recreational value and increases tourists’ stay in the city.
Among the rivers Kebena, Kechenie and Kurtimie are larger rivers in terms of water catchment. The project envisions to free 4,000 hectares of land from any water related contaminations on these riversides. The move would also increase the green value of the city.
Over 300 city youth organizations have been engaged in cleansing the project sites. This youth organizations are joined by additional 600 youths recently.
The office also takes the initiative to give recognition to environmental friendly industrial factories owners in the city with a view to reduce possible pollutants. This effort is in line with the country’s plan of building green economy.
The economic benefits of the project could be seen from the perspectives of horticultural development in the city. As to him, over 10,000 residents of the city and its environs have engaged themselves in urban agriculture and supply fruits and vegetables in the city’s market.
Most of the beautiful and attractive cities worldwide are the gift of water bodies like; lakes, rivers and artificial ponds. The development of city’s rivers would be helpful to entertain oneself without the need to travel long ways to Langano, Hawassa, Bahir Dar or other recreation destinations far from the city. The development of the rivers in this manner will give power to the city to attract more tourists’ inflow.
Urban rivers benefit downstream and upstream residents in tremendous ways directly or indirectly. This is what the international experience also tells us.
Different countries and cities across the world strive to maintain a smart planet earth that is comfortable to living things.
River Thames that flows through southern England, most notably through London is among the notable contributing rivers towards the beatification of city. This river is widely accessed for river tour and trips inside London city.
Thus, it gives impetus to the increasing number of tourists who visited the city. Keeping the river tidy and attractive enhances the city beauty and left green all over the year.
The Volga River is the other longest river in Europe which is noticeable for its extensive role in transportation. It is also Europe's largest river in terms of discharge and watershed. The river flows through central Russia and into the Caspian Sea, and is widely regarded as the national river of Russia.
Nile River in Cairo is also the other African river playing a larger share in adding a greater value to the city before fished up mixing with Mediterranean Sea.
The European Centre for River Restoration (ECRR) established in 1995 explains river restoration as a large variety of ecological, physical, spatial and management measures and practices. These are aimed at restoring the natural state and functioning of the river system in support of biodiversity, recreation, flood management and landscape development.
By developing natural conditions, river development improves the resilience of the river systems and provides the framework for the sustainable multifunctional use of rivers and streams. River restoration is an integral part of sustainable water management and is in direct support of the aims of the Water Framework Directive, and national and regional water management policies.
River development involves a wide range of stakeholders from the public and private sector including policy makers, practitioners, scientists and non-government organizations, as well as all citizens groups potentially impacted. By actively drawing these various stakeholders into the process, visions can be shared and tuned towards each other. This makes for different interests to be met, and increases support for restoration efforts.
BY TEWODROS KASSA