One of the primary objectives of the Ethiopian water policy is developing the country’s water resources for economic and social benefits of the people, on an equitable and sustainable basis. This pursuit of water security follows many strategies, one being prominent: rainwater harvesting.
This strategy has gained wide acceptance among policy agents and development agencies. It’s not a new strategy in Ethiopia, either. The country has a long history of rainwater harvesting. In this tradition, people’s rain-fed agriculture (crop production and animal rearing) is supplemented with small-scale irrigation at community and household levels.
Ethiopia has a big potential for benefiting from rain fed agriculture even in drought prone areas. Rainwater in flash floods, surface runoff and the ephemeral rivers can be captured and stored much more often, using multiple water harvesting technologies (sand-dams, ponds, sub-surface dams, dug-wells, in-situ and roof catchment among others). However, there is a strong need for extensive training of farmers and for effective and adequate investments at the smallholder farmer level.