Commitments in irrigation development and poverty reduction

 BY HAFTU GEBREZGABIHER

Ethiopia has millions of hectares of irrigable lands which are surrounded by various streams and large rivers. For this reason the reform undertaking by the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) has give due attention to irrigation.

The Khalid-Dijo Irrigation Development Project construction is begun in Dalocha Woreda of Silte Zone, Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Regional State is among the other irrigation projects which have begun to be completed within two years.

Khalid-Dijo Irrigation is expected to benefit more than 6,000 residents in the area.

According to the Ethiopian Irrigation Development Commission, the total cost of the project is Birr 1.2 billion and will be completed in two years. Among the structures to be implemented, the dam will be 1828.25 meters long and 26.4 meters high that will hold 8 million cubic meters of water to develop 1,800 hectares.

The dam will cover 64 hectares. It will also cover 1.4 million cubic meters of soil and stone, covering 12.4 hectares of land.

The spill -way is 30 meters long and has a maximum flow rate of 127.8 cubic meters per second. The project will also benefit more than 100 youth associations and more than 300 people in fisheries.

The construction of the project will protect soil erosion and use modern irrigation to produce twice and create an artificial lake for the town of Werabe. As a result, it will be the research and studies project for Werabe University.”

Its project performance is at 2.35% so far. Compensation and boundary enforcement activities need to be accelerated to speed up the implementation of the project as planned.

The House of Peoples Representatives’, Natural Resources Irrigation and Energy Affairs Standing Committee met last January and said that its performance is as per the projected schedule. The project was started in September 2020 by the public contractor Southern Water Works Construction Enterprise and is being provided by the Ethiopian Construction Design and Supervision Corporation.

In the same token, the construction of the Upper Guder Irrigation Development Project is underway at a cost of Birr 3.3 billion. The construction of the Upper Guder Irrigation Development Project, owned by the Irrigation Development Commission, was carried out in nine kebeles of Toke Kutaye and Ambo districts of West Shoa Zone of Oromia State last January.

It is projected to be completed in three years. The dam project is located in Dire Inchini and Toke Kutaye Woredas and has a storage capacity of 56 million cubic meters.

The dam is 277 meters long and 40.5 meters high. The construction of the dam requires 500,000 cubic meters concrete. The Saddle Dam is 4 meters high. The project will provide irrigation water to 12,137 farmers in Toke Kutaye and Ambo districts.

Furthermore, the project is also capable of developing 5,000 hectares of land through the construction of a spring-loaded irrigation system. In addition to benefiting farmers, the project will prevent soil erosion through modernizing the mode of producing a variety of crops.

During its construction, 331 men and 56 women are being benefited. In other words, it has created the total of 387 jobs for the local community. And the dam is 18.6 meters long and has a maximum flow rate of 50.37 cubic meters per second.

The irrigation system of the dam draws 4.73 cubic meters of water per second from the dam to the main pipeline. The project is scheduled to run until January 2021. Lot One’s project performance is 19.61 per cent and Lot Two’s was 6.26 percent.

The main problems that are hindering the construction process include: prolonged rainfall, delayed compensation process, design review and cement shortage, as per the data filed by the Commission.

Therefore, the consultant advised that the subsidiaries (Lot One and Two) should be fully operational.

Despite the stated challenges, the members of the House of Peoples ‘Representatives’ Natural Resources, Irrigation and Energy Affairs Standing Committee visited the project in early January and said that the construction work is progressing well.

Similarly, the Commission announced that it is expanding irrigation projects across all states in order to develop the agriculture sector of the country. To this end, a memorandum of understanding was signed with the Irrigation Sector Institutional Capacity Building Training Program.

The Irrigation Development Commission signed a five-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ethiopian Water Technology Institute on the completion of the Irrigation Sector Institutional Capacity Building Program.

The MoU focuses on irrigation related short term training program courses as part of the country’s five-year strategic plan for the irrigation sector. The training focuses on project planning, design and development, project implementation and management, irrigation system operation, management and maintenance, hydrology and water resources, and the socio-economic impact of irrigation development. More than 34,000 federal and Woreda professionals will be trained in five years.

The Commission indicated that more than 700 million Birr will be required in the next five years. The training will be conducted by identifying the gaps between the Irrigation Development Commission and the Ethiopian Water Technology Institute. The MoU was signed by Samuel Hussein, Deputy Commissioner of the Irrigation Development Commission, and Tamiru Fekadu, Deputy Director General of the Ethiopian Water Technology Institute. The signing ceremony was attended by the intermediaries and experts of the institutions.

Thus, Ethiopia is highly committing itself in irrigation development both to reduce poverty and add in climate change resilience through reducing erosion. This needs to be scaled up.

The Ethiopian Herald  10 February 2021

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