On 24 February 2022, the Netherlands Embassy in Addis Ababa 1st Secretary, Senior Policy Officer for Water, Jelmer van Veen, and Addis Ababa Water and Sewerage Authority management team representatives, visited the water and soil conservation site in Dire. The purpose of the visit was to observe the implementation of IWRM, Soil and Water conservation activities under the IWRM4WASH project implemented under VEI. The water and soil activities are implemented to prevent the silting of the largest two dams of Addis Ababa Water and Sewerage Authority(AAWSA) and to improve the livelihood of the community around the reservoir and to provide WASH facilities to the community.
“This is my first trip to this particular part of the watershed since the project implementation started. It is important for me to keep visiting this area to see everything with my own eyes and to play my role in raising awareness to the international community and other stakeholders about the impact of climate change on water resources and livelihood of the communities. Because of no conservation activities, the water supply in Addis Ababa is negatively impacted and people are suffering from lack of water. I am very happy to see the communities are taking their fate in their own hands and VEI managing the implementation”, noted Jelmer van Veen , 1st Secretary, Senior Policy Officer for Water.
Soil erosion - the removal of good soil by water - is a growing problem in Ethiopia. As the Ethiopian population increases, more pressure is put on land to produce food, and building materials. Trees are removed to grow more crops. Often land is no longer left to rest between cropping. With the removal of trees and forests, there is a direct effect on water supply. Less rainwater can soak into the soil and, in some places, wells and springs… Through this support we will be able to address three of the most critical needs of the affected persons in upstream Dire: conservation of soil and water, landscape restoration and livelihood improvement. This really makes a huge difference in the lives of the people, who are constantly exposed to land, water and livelihood loss and other risks related to the water and soil loss,” Participation is the key to success. Farmers are the main part of the solution. Any project must win the respect and co-operation of the local people. VEI has involved local people and administration from the very beginning in all aspects of planning, training, noted Daniel Truneh, VEI Representative in Ethiopia.
Conserving soil and water is only the starting point. VEI has established a village committee to take responsibility for land-use management; to plan grazing of land; to control gullies; to plan fuelwood supply; to plan communal waterways and the health of springs, etc.
Mr. Mendu Weyecha, the local administrator of Dire, expressed his gratitude to the Government of the Netherlands for its support in water and soil conservation, WASH and Livelihood activities of Dire. Women, children, the elderly and young people are among the vulnerable groups most affected by the water and soil loss. We will always remember that you were one of the first ones who came to help.”
“We are very grateful to the people and the Government of the Netherlands for providing comprehensive support to our water supply catchment at Dire. I also want to express my gratitude to the respected international organization – VEI which implemented numerous projects and programmes to help AAWSA realize its objectives of water and sanitation supply objectives and rebuild its image,” said Worku Geda, Head of Resources Directorate at AAWSA.