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Overview Background Solutions Documents
The Situation
Ethiopia has 32 agroecological zones. Rainfed subsistence agriculture dominates, although rainfall distribution and intensity vary, generally decreasing from southwest to northeast. Droughts occur every four or five years. The midlands and highlands primarily support integrated crop and livestock production, while pastoral systems dominate in the lowlands. Women and men have clearly defined roles within agriculture, but women often have less say in decision-making.

Of the estimated 3.7 to 4.3 million hectares of potentially irrigable land, only 7–10% has been exploited. Just over half of this area is irrigated by traditional practises. A further 20% is irrigated by modern small-scale schemes and the rest by medium-to-large-scale commercial irrigated farms, both private and state-owned. Some of the small-scale irrigation projects are not functioning as effectively as they could be.

The AgWater Solutions Project has been working in Ethiopia for two years. Project staff initially reviewed existing agricultural water management (AWM) practises and their geographical contexts using field observations, secondary data sources, household interviews and discussions with key organisations. The project's research has revealed that there are numerous AWM technologies and methods in use in Ethiopia. These include:

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West Bengal
River and stream diversions.
    Micro-dams or reservoirs.
    Groundwater and hand-dug wells.
    Lake and river pumping.
    Rainwater harvesting and ponds.
    Spate irrigation.
    Sprinkler systems.
    Water-lifting devices - motorized pumps, treadle pumps, rope-and-washer and wind mills.
    Soil and water conservation.
    Drip irrigation.
More information about this AWM solutions and the background situation in the country can be found in the Situation Analysis Briefing Notes.

Based on the initial review and advice from a range of stakeholders in Ethiopia, the project team subsequently carried out more in-depth research on a selection of these solutions. Meetings and workshops were held as part of the dialogue process and the results can be found on the Solutions page for Ethiopia.

Inception and Midterm Workshops
An inception workshop for the entire project was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in May 2009. The project plan was discussed and work plan details were agreed for all countries. In January 2010, a midterm project workshop was held in Lusaka, Zambia, which was attended by representatives from each country where the project is being undertaken. The participants reviewed progress, adapted work plans, and further detailed outputs and outreach plans for all countries.
Situation Analysis of AWM Technologies
Three consultants were recruited to undertake a Situation Analysis of AWM solutions in all regions of Ethiopia in 2009. The purpose of this was to provide background material on and analysis of:
Existing environmental, hydrological and climatic conditions.
National institutional and policy frameworks related to AWM.
Typologies of existing AWM practices and their geographic spread.
Key actors who are supporting the development of AWM in each region.
Promising AWM solutions that merit further detailed study.
The analysis covered a range of AWM practices including: river and stream diversion; micro-dams; hand-dug wells; lake and river pumping; rainwater harvesting and ponds; spate irrigation; soil and water conservation; motorized water-lifting pumps; and sprinkler and drip irrigation. The regional findings were complied into a single report for Ethiopia. This has been summarized and is available as a short briefing note on the project website.
National Consultation Workshop
A one-day National Consultation Workshop was held on November 19, 2009. About 30 participants representing different institutions participated in this workshop. The purpose of the workshop was to present the findings from the Situation Analysis and to prioritize areas for further research. The participants considered water storage in micro-dams and accessing groundwater to be two of the most important areas for further research. A summary of the workshop minutes is available as a briefing note on the project website.
Mapping AWM Potential and Solutions in Ethiopia
A two-day workshop was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from September 24-25, 2010, to discuss the out-scaling of promising AWM solutions. The objectives of this session were to:
Define a typology of livelihood zones in Ethiopia.
Prepare a national map locating the main livelihood zones of Ethiopia.
Identify the potential of promising AWM solutions in Ethiopia for poverty reduction in each of these livelihood zones.


Field Level Case Studies
Based on the results of the Situation Analysis and National Consultation, the project carried out case studies on the opportunities and constraints related to:
Micro-dams (Small Reservoirs)
A rapid assessment has been made of 22 micro-dams in Tigray Region and in-depth case studies have been conducted in four of them. A half-day consultative meeting was held on August 5, 2010, where relevant stakeholders in the region were presented with the preliminary results of the rapid assessment and were given the opportunity to provide their input.
  Ethiopia's Groundwater Potential
A study was commissioned to examine Ethiopia's groundwater potential. The study will draw on data already collected by the project team, including information on:
  Define a typology of livelihood zones in Ethiopia.
  Groundwater in two sites in Oromia and the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region (SNNPR).
  Three types of irrigation technologies (micro-dams, groundwater and river diversion) from six sites in Tigray.

Water-Lifting Technologies: Researchers from the AgWater Solutions Project set out to identify factors that influenced the adoption of water-lifting technologies by smallholder farmers, particularly motorized pumps, in four regions: Amhara, Oromia, SNNP and Tigray. Data was collected from 800 randomly selected farm households (200 sample households in each region). Researchers stratified the sample according to data on water-lifting technologies from the Regional Bureaus of Water Resources, and considered various physical and economic factors.