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Sustainable Water Harvesting and Institutional strengthening in Amhara


Output 1500: Watershed Management Strengthened

A Concept Note on Implementation Strategy



The original intent of SWHISA on watershed component is that watershed improvement was
identified as an area of critical importance to the long-term success of small-scale structures and
dams and to soil conservation and increasing water resources availability in watersheds. This
purely indicates that the interest of SWHISA regarding watershed is to develop watersheds, only
through soil and water conservation measures, for the improvement of water yield and minimize
sedimentation problems on small dams and hydraulic structures within the watershed.

The actual interest of the government, however, is watershed based rural development with its
strategic direction to address the issue of food security and improvement of the livelihood of the
rural community through comprehensive and integrated natural resource development. In this
case, the watershed development and management undertakings should be focusing towards an
overall development of the watershed in all aspects i.e. social, economic, political, and
environmental developments.

In this regard, SWHISA should come in the same line and interest with the regional government
and adjust its approach on the component. Discussing the implementation strategy SWHISA has
proposed for watershed development and management is the objective of this paper.

Stakeholder Roundtable Discussion

BOARD, with support from SWHISA, organized a one-day roundtable discussion on community
based watershed management in Amhara region in April 2006. There are more than twelve
different organizations involved in watershed management in the region. Despite such a wide
interest of these organizations and the ambitions of the government, there are only a few
successes and limited replications. This would be a result of the fact that these organizations tend
to work in isolation on their own way and perceptions regarding watershed management. It was
from this fact that the need for the roundtable discussion for common understanding was

Organizations who are involved in watershed management activities in the region were all
invited to this discussion. BOARD involved with planning of more than 5000 sub watersheds
and planned to prepare a development plan for 27000 sub watersheds over a 5-year period. This

was commented for its ambitious undertaking before the success, on a pilot basis, is observed. In
addition, community participation remains inadequate albeit the new approach for planning and
implementation, and the guideline was agreed to be appropriate. This may be due, mainly, to the
lack of careful and scrupulous planning by the woreda experts, DAs, or other concerned bodies.

Additional key issues raised by participating organizations during the discussion also include the

Delay of enforcement of the land use policy and regulation

Absence of stable institutional set up

Lack of integration among different disciplines and other institutions

Frequent restructuring of project implementers and high staff turnover

Low level of understanding of community based watershed management at woreda level

Implementation fails to follow the plans due mainly to lack of training on planning, lack
of community participation, and resource constraints etc.

The short life of donor funded projects funds cut before implementation finalized

Failure to address all community issues

To develop a common concept on community based watershed management among institutions

intervening in watersheds a holistic approach should be adopted as a common approach for all. It
would be through such approach that full range of community issues, in the context of
watershed, could be addressed. Some holistic views in community watershed management might
be expressed by the following:

Community empowerment through the development of /or strengthening of community


Resource conservation: soil and water conservation, forest protection and development,
area closures etc.

Agricultural productivity improvements: soil amelioration, improved agronomy,

irrigation, forage development, livestock breed and yield improvements

Energy development: agro-forestry, forestry, improved stoves, solar energy etc.

Water development and management through water harvesting for domestic and livestock
consumption, and for irrigation in quality and quantity.

Improving health through access to health facilities, improved health education, improved
nutrition, improved clean drinking water supply, sanitation

Improving education

Family planning for population management

Construction of feeder roads and other infrastructure


Improving local governance

Improving support from government institutions

Income diversification

Development or expansion of market opportunities: trading linkages to markets,

cooperative development etc.

Planned Implementation Strategy in the 4th Work Plan

The strategy proposed by SWHISA regarding watershed management is to:

Identify and select six catchment treatment pilot sites aimed at testing different soil and water
conservation techniques including physical and biological conservation measures;
Strengthening the capacity of partner institutions in the planning, design and implementation
of catchment treatment interventions; training of farmers in the implementation of SWC
Provide guidance and advice to the Farmer Focus Groups (FFG) on implementing SWC
Produce and disseminate lessons learned documentation; and
Produce and disseminate technical guidelines.

SWHISA Team Discussion

It was felt that the proposed strategy for the watershed management in the 4th work plan does not
reflect value added compared to what is being done in the region. A discussion meeting was held
among the SWHISA team on 17 July 2008 at CCO conference room on the subject that the
existing strategy does not clearly indicate holistic watershed management approach. It only
indicates the selection of pilot watersheds aimed at testing different SWC techniques including
physical and biological conservation measures. If SWHISA is interested to include watershed as
a project component then the area of intervention should also include the selection of model

watersheds, the study and planning, and the plan implementation. SWHISA, however, is not to
involve in developing watersheds and has no resource for watershed development.

Changes Occurring due to BPR in BOARD regarding natural resources development and
conservation section

It was also felt necessary to review the changes taking place as a result of recently launched
Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) and its impact on SWHISAs activity implementation

Natural Resources Development, Protection and Utilization Process

The natural resources conservation and development department in BOARD was the main
responsible body to plan and implement watersheds and other related activities so far. The
functions of natural resources development have now been divided into two main processes:
extension and natural resource development. The agricultural extension component of natural
resources that deals with changes in attitude, knowledge and skill of farmers, and assisting in the
implementation of the development work (in this case the plan implementation of watersheds)
will be the main role of this process and the front line extension workers. DAs have been given
to the agricultural extension process. The regulatory and study aspects are given to the natural
resources development, protection and utilization process.

As a result, undertaking of integrated watershed based land use study and development of
guidelines and implementations of regulatory and utilization aspects of the forestry sector are the
main responsibilities of the natural development, protection and utilization process. This process
is divided into two main functions/case teams namely:

Integrated watershed development and land use study and

Forestry management

The integrated watershed development and land use team is responsible to conduct integrated
watershed development studies on selected model sites. This includes collection of data
regarding the natural resource base of the watershed, socio- economic information and the
interest of the community in the future use and development of the existing natural resources.
Based on the collected information, the team will prepare a participatory watershed development
plan and hand over the document to the agricultural extension process for its implementation.
The detail process to be followed for the watershed study has been indicated in the BPR

document including the need of establishing watershed-planning team comprising 10-12

community representatives.

With regard to human resource plan, like the extension process both case teams of the natural
resource development process will have manpower at zones and woredas.

The impact of this change on the watershed group activities is that former focal persons from the
bureau are reshuffled and, so far, there is no one assigned to fill this gap. Another effect is that
watershed activities are divided into two process: study and planning to the natural resources,
and implementation to the extension process; as a result, focal person may be required from each

The change made in EPLAUA by the BPR is that the land use team has moved to BOARD with
all the previous staff in place. In this regard, it looks only a change in place with no effect on the
communication of the team and the project. Of course, what is required may be an assigned focal
person to work with. Environmental protection section remained with the EPLAUA, which does
not affect the work relation.

Similar to EPLAUA, the irrigation department of BOWRD has also moved to BOARD with
revised structure of the irrigation agronomy section of the BOARD merged with the irrigation
department of BOWRD. The newly established irrigation and drainage process has two main
functions/case teams. These are:

1) Irrigation scheme construction and installation case team

2) Technical support and advisory service for irrigation development case team

In all the cases, the project would communicate as appropriate with both case teams as required.
This process, though under BOARD, remains in the BOWRD building headed by Ato Muluken
(member of the PMC). There would not be a significant problem for the project to work under
this condition.

ARARI is still on the process of the BPR study, and because there is no change effected to date,
we shall continue our communication as before.

Proposed Strategies

Based on the above analysis, SWHISAs watershed management strategy should focus on
improving efforts of local communities to diversify their production systems through sustainable
land management that promote self-reliance.

SWHISA will select one model watershed as field laboratories in each of the six project woredas
where existing or potential water harvesting schemes exists and implement activities following
the existing MOARD watershed planning manual. The manual will be reviewed to identify
planning gaps, if any, and incorporate lessons learned from BoARD SLM project as well as other
watershed development projects implemented in the region.

Following principles will be adhered to:

Achievable objectives with the timeframe of the project realistic planning

Strong partnership with communities and local government institutions
Participatory approaches farmer to farmer extension
Active promotion of self-help contributions from communities
Use of local materials and indigenous knowledge
Cost effective combination of structural and biological measures - emphasis on biological
measures: promoting the use of indigenous and multi-use species
Tangible benefits to farmers short term and long term
Self monitoring by farmers of impact and benefits

Based on above principles, following activities will be planned:

Conduct community mobilization/awareness and implementation through community

management approaches;
Train woreda experts on practical watershed management planning;
Assist woredas to prepare a proper and participatory watershed management plan in
collaboration with watershed management groups with close follow up and frequent
Promote participatory approaches involving communities in the preparation of proper
watershed management plan; (In this context, a proper plan is the identification of the
actual problem and their causes with effects brought about on the social and economic
well being of the watershed population and the effect on the environment as a whole.
This has to be confirmed by the benefiting communities who are the decision makers to
undertake situation reversing development measures. Given the starting steps of the
above towards proper planning, the development plan should be based on the solution of
the major problems with the full involvement and endorsement of the landowners on
what are the appropriate measures to be applied. It should be noted that any activity
carried out on some ones land with out the consent and agreement of the owner is almost
always lead to failure.)

Implement activities pertinent to its commitments such as small scale water harvesting,
capacity building in terms of community nursery establishment and provision of hand
tools etc;
Assist in resource mobilization and handover the community accepted watershed
management plan to organizations interested in implementing the development work;
Leverage other projects such as GTZ-SUN to promote use of technologies, e.g. improved
stoves, etc to minimize deforestation; and
Treat Household water harvesting (HHWH) catchments with appropriate SWC measures

A conceptual framework showing key implementation activities and their linkages is attached in
Annex 1.

Proposed Methodology

In order to achieve above strategies, following methodology will be adopted:

Training will be conducted to the TDT members who are involved in watershed
management activities in their respective woredas. The training should compose
theoretical and practical session. The theoretical part would include the concept of
watershed management, PRA methods of study, general socio-economic studies, map
reading and aerial photo interpretation, soil survey and collection of general site
information, erosion status survey and data collection, forest and vegetation survey, land
suitability evaluation for particular uses (irrigation, rain fed cropping, grazing land,
forestry), problem and other situation analysis, development planning methodologies and
general recommendations, quantification of required inputs, materials and tools, methods
of project monitoring and evaluation.
All the theoretical trainings will also be practically applied and exercised in training room
and in the field. Topics such as map reading and aerial photo interpretation are thoroughly
exercised in the training room before they are applied in the field. The field training is a
direct application of the topics given in theory. Soil survey, for instance, will comprise
soil profile auguring along with determination of soil texture, depth, drainage
characteristics, colour, etc. that should be identified in the field. Slope, vegetation,
erosion survey, and socio-economic survey will also be conducted in the field. It is from
such field surveys and other data analysis the actual watershed planning will be

Materials and instruments, which will be used for the training and for further use in the
woredas, will be made ready. This may comprise of aerial photos, topographic maps, soil
test kits, GPS, compass, clinometers, altimeters, soil augers, hand lens, stereoscopes etc.
The list of equipment to be procured should be checked and prioritized by the woreda
institutions to avoid unnecessary supplies.

Following the training the actual watershed planning in each project woreda will be
carried out as per the exercise made during the training session. The SWHISA consultants
assist the planning process in the field based on their expertise. The support includes the
different field survey and analysis and edition of the write up.

The TDT shall involve the community in the preparation of watershed plan using PRA
and other technical approaches. Following community mobilization/consultation, TDT
will assist communities to form a watershed management committee (WMC) to assume
ownership of planned activities.

After plan is prepared, the recommended development activities will be prioritized by

WMC for implementation. Activities will be identified that would be appropriate for
SWHISA project objectives and interventions such as small-scale water resources
development for household irrigation or small scale community irrigation projects,
community nursery establishment, soil conservation demonstrations etc so that SWHISA
can support the woredas on a technical and material basis in implementing these
activities. Other activities that do not contribute to SWHISA objectives but prioritized by
the community will be negotiated with other partners for implementation.

Assistance would be made for the woredas in terms of identifying sponsor organizations
that would be interested in developing the planned model watershed. This can be
achieved by distributing the plan document along with request letters from the woreda
administration on behalf of the watershed community to potential development sponsors
such as WFP, PSNP, SIDA, and other similar organizations, and follow up until support is
obtained. Once the assistance is in hand, implementation of development activities as per
the plan can be undertaken with supervisions of the donor organization/s.
A copy of the regular progress report is given to the donors, which indicates how the
resources are utilized.

Proposed point to consider during planning and implementation of watersheds

1. All organizations should work on common and agreed approach endorsed by the
2. Attempts should be made to promote self-reliance and community contribution. Payment
to the farmers, if any, must be considered a compensation for the time spent off the
regular production time, not for the labour contributed for natural resources development
on common lands (in particular). Labour input for own farmland should not be paid;
3. Individual approach may be introduced for activities on individuals' land holdings e.g.
planting on bunds, bund construction, tree planting, homestead development such as
hand-dug wells, etc. Group/community approach may be applied on activities common
to many HHs such as gully rehabilitation, pasture improvement, establishment and

running of community nurseries, artificial water ways, cut-off drains, community forest
planting etc;
4. Priority should be given to activities that do not require hard labour. e.g. alley cropping,
grass strip, area closure;
5. Priority again should be given to activities that give immediate benefits to the people.
These could be such activities as:
Area closure
Pasture improvement
Alley cropping
Compost preparation
Stall feeding and fattening
Other biological conservation measures
6. A thorough discussion should be made and understanding reached on the interventions
new to the communities. Decisions have to be made based on willingness before
planning and implementation;
7. By-laws should be prepared and agreed by the community to enforce implementation of
planned activities;
8. Quality of work should be monitored on the work done, particularly on activities that
involve engineering such as water conveyance and control structures. Such activities
need a careful construction;
9. Enable communities to request support to any potential assistance to implement
watershed development activities;
10. Explore whether there is technology from farmers indigenous knowledge that can
substitute or support conventional techniques. Such knowledge can be easily accepted,
applied and sustained. E.g. green manuring and nitrogen fixing by planting lupin is an
age-old knowledge of farmers to improve soil fertility and increase crop yield;
11. Think off high value and high yielding plant/crop species that support farmers to
overcome food shortages and to build asset for a better living conditions; and
12. Encourage farmers to produce fruit tree and other tree seedlings to be purchased by the
project for distribution to others. This might also be exercised on improved crop seed
multiplication by individual farmers, which will be produced and sold for fellow farmers
in relatively higher prices.
Conceptual Framework Watershed Management Process
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