Authority Rehabilitating, Reafforesting over 1.7 Mn Hectares in Nile Basin

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Addis Ababa, May 22/2020( ENA) The Basins Development Authority said reafforestation and rehabilitate on 1.786 million hectares of land has been carried in Ethiopia in order to protect the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam from sediments and increase the quantity and quality of the water sustainably. 

According to the authority, out of this 479,460 hectares of lands were already rehabilitated and covered with forest while reafforestation and rehabilitation are being carried out on 786,541 hectares.

Similarly nine new projects that cover one million hectares of land will be launched this upcoming Ethiopian year, it was disclosed.

The new projects  are Beleche, Tana buffer zone, GERD buffer zone, Beshilo, Jemma, Choke, Guder, Muger and Anger.

In addition to the national basin development initiative, Ethiopia, Sudan, South-Sudan and Egypt have agreed to develop integrated watershed project for Eastern Nile, according to Basins Development Authority Director General Adanech Yared.

“Implementation of the project will start soon and carried out by each country. So this watershed project is regional plus national watershed project,” she added.

In an exclusive interview with ENA, Basins Development Authority Director General Adanech Yared said the authority has been striving hard to decrease sediments caused by erosion around the Blue Nile Basin in order to ensure the sustainability of the dam.

According to her, rehabilitating the upstream watersheds increases the life span, capacity of storing water in full quality and quantity in the dam.

While the development of the watersheds is done phase by phase, focus is given to rehabilitating and reforesting the highly degraded, eroded lands as well as developing gullies, she explained.

“Based on the impact analysis we did on the developed projects, the water potential has increased in quality and quantity, and the land rehabilitated faster. Even the productivity of the soil increased,” Adanech pointed out.

Ecohydrology Director and Senior Expert at the Authority, Yohannes Zerihun said on his part balancing the ecosystem while trying to rehabilitate, reforest and afforest would make the basins development effective.

Basin development works should focus on the futurity of the dam. Therefore  afforestation of the watersheds with varieties of plants, including endogenous ones, is very crucial, he noted.

According to the authority about 2.498 billion birr is needed to complete the existing and new project of the Blue Nile Basin.

Blue Nile basin cover about 17.655 percent of the total area of the country.