Site - Tigray: Water harvesting ponds and shallow wells
The main objectives for the construction of water harvesting ponds in Ethiopia are:
- To harvest water needed to meet household domestic needs (including livestock);
- To provide supplementary irrigation to long rain season cereal crops mainly during the drier months of September and October;
- To provide full irrigation to crops during the dry months of the year.
In Tigray only, the goal is to construct 500,000 ponds in the next years. The target for the year 2003 was to construct 40,000 ponds, 80% made with plastic liners and the rest with clay lining. About 30,600 were actually built. The target for the fiscal year 2004 was 160,000; 23,300 of which were built up to July 2004. The individual household pond is characterized by its catchment the pond itself and the command area; all managed at house hold level. The great advantage of this storage system is the relatively simple social operation and maintenance structure in relation to communal ponds.
Water is directly harvested by runoff or taken from a gully or stream with a diversion structure and stored in a pond to be used when required. The ponds have a square shape, usually 12x12m with internal slope of 1.5-2:1 and a capacity between 30 and 182 m3. Other sizes and shapes are being tested, e.g. 25x25 m with stepped sides. The ponds usually have complementary structures such as feeder canals, access stairs but often do not have a spillway and water lifting is done by bucket. Some of the ponds are fenced but most are not. The location of the pond near the house has been justified by the expectation that this will enable close management by family members and reduce the burden on the already busy daily schedule.
According to an EU Evaluation Report, there is a lot of potential in the region for shallow wells. The Tigray Regional Government is therefore strongly committed to promote the construction of shallow wells, the three-year action plan provide the construction of 8,200 shallow wells (3,000 in 2004). Until June 2004, 931 shallow wells have been dug. Decisions on the dimensions of the well are taken by the farmers. In the majority of cases the farmer digs the well himself with the support of his family. Depth of the well depends on the water table, on average 8 meters deep in the plateau and 15 meters in the highland. The well wall is lined with stones to waterproof it, but usually they are not covered and have no fence; this can be very dangerous and some incidents have already happened. The water is collected with a bucket on a rope; this method is cheap but at the same time dangerous and hard, especially if water has to be transported to the field. In order to improve irrigation techniques in one Woreda (administrative unit), 18 motor pumps are now available and farmers can rent them for 10 birr/day plus fuel price. This solution cannot be considered very practical as farmers consider the renting price too high and because there are not enough motor pumps available.
Several studies have been done on water harvesting ponds and shallow wells in Tigray, mainly by MSc and BSc students from Mekelle University, such as:
- Gebreegziabher Lemma Hagos (Dec05) The role of household ponds on the expansion of homegardens in Tigray, Ethiopia. MSc thesis Mekelle University
F. Hagos, T. Slaymaker, J. Tucker, E. Ludi, E. Boelee & S. Awulachew: Poverty impacts of improved access to water and sanitation in Ethiopia
It is often argued that investments in water supply and sanitation (WSS) generate wide-ranging economic benefits. At the household level improved access to WSS is expected to lead to significant improvements not only in human health and welfare but also in levels of production and productivity. Investments in WSS are therefore considered important instruments for poverty reduction, but empirical evidence to support this remains quite limited. This study presents micro-evidence from a survey of 1500 households in Ethiopia on the economic impacts of improved access to WSS. We found that access to improved WSS has a strong statistical association with increased household water consumption and decreased average time spent to fetch water. Because of this time saving, household members with access to improved sources were also found to be more likely to participate in off-farm/non-farm employment. We also found strong evidence of positive impacts of improved access to WSS on health; although there are indications some type of illnesses may also have increased (e.g. water borne diseases). This evidence clearly shows that improving access to water supply infrastructure alone is not sufficient to bring about desired public health benefits. Interestingly, households with access to improved water supply and agricultural water were found to have significantly lower overall and food poverty levels in terms of incidence, depth and severity of poverty. Therefore, the pathways through which improved access to water supply has impacted poverty reduction in the study areas had to do with direct improved health benefits and through time-saving benefits induced increased participation of households in off/non-farm employment and irrigation. Determinants of off/non-farm employment and poverty were systematically analysed and factors identified and recommendations made to enhance these poverty impacts of water supply improvements. [authors abstract]
M. Adank, B. Belete, M. Jeths: Costs and benefits of multiple uses of water: a case from Ethiopia
This paper presents a study conducted under the RiPPLE project1, with the objective to provide better insight in the costs and benefits of multiple use water services. In this study, the costs related to the provision of water services and the benefits related to water use were analysed for two cases in the East Haraghe zone, Ethiopia, each taking a different path towards multiple use services. In the Ido Jalala case, domestic water supply services were upgraded to enable small-scale irrigation, while in the Ifa Daba case, irrigation services were upgrades to also cater for domestic water use. In both cases, water was used for multiple uses by the community members, regardless of the water services provided. The study shows that in the studied cases, the benefits of multiple use easily outweigh the costs involved in providing water services. It also shows that with relatively small additional costs, single use water services can be upgraded to multiple use water services, which facilitate multiple uses, bringing along relatively high additional benefits. [authors abstract]
Powerpoint presentation by Tom Slaymaker and Marieke Adank given at the Thematic Group Meeting in London, 2007.
This powerpoint presentation by Tom Slaymaker (ODI) aimed to show how sectoral debates relating to MUS can be linked to wider debates on ‘pro-growth’ and ‘livelihood protection and promotion’. The linkages between water livelihoods and growth is one of three major focus areas for the forthcoming ‘RiPPLE’ research program. Recent scoping work in Ethiopia explored the nature of the water-livelihood-growth relationship at micro, meso and macro levels and highlighted the issue of risk and vulnerability as a major constraint to growth in Ethiopia. Chronic poverty and food insecurity are prevalent in many low income countries and have important implications for the design of water sector interventions. To-date debates within the MUS group have tended to focus on livelihood benefits in terms of income poverty but our understanding of the role of MUS in helping poor households mitigate risk and vulnerability remains limited. Macro level growth debates tend to centre on issues of market access and asset inequality but we know very little about the relative importance of inequalities in water access vis-à-vis other forms of asset inequality (e.g. education, health, roads). Improved understanding of the linkages between MUS livelihoods and growth has potentially important implications for targeting and sequencing investment across sectors.