Groundwater-based Irrigation Project that Benefits Close to 1.48 Million Ethiopians Launched

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Addis Ababa September 22/2022 /ENA/ A 5-year project, which is expected to benefit about 1.48 million people from groundwater-based irrigation facilities and water supply in Ethiopia, was launched in Addis Ababa today.

Speaking at the Horn of Africa Groundwater for Resilience Project Launching Workshop, Water and Energy Minister Habtamu Itefa said approximately 1.48 million people are expected to  benefit from groundwater based water supply and irrigation facilities.

He added that the 210-million-USD fund is all grant and 67 percent leveraged from the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank.

The African Development Bank and the European Union have also supported the project financially, it was learned.

According to the minister, the project is important and very timely to the effects of climate change.   

“The project is very timely in responding to the ongoing drought that our country is facing. All targeted woredas by the project are those highly affected by drought and vulnerable to climate shocks,” Habtamu elaborated.

The project will support the ministry to carry out groundwater potential assessment in 67 prioritized woredas and the project finance development of ground-based water supply in 55 woredas, according to the minister.

World Bank Water Global Practice Manager, Soma Ghosh Moulik said the regional project included Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia as well as the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in its first phase.

“This is a regional project with a total of 385 million USD and covers three countries: Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia as well as IGAD in the first phase, of which Ethiopia alone receives 210 million USD, which is the lion’s share of the project of the first phase, and this is an IDA grant.”

The regional project fosters cooperation between Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and IGAD that will work together to tap into the largely untapped groundwater resources in the region to cope up with and adopt to the effects of climate change, mainly drought.

Noting that the financial instrument allows countries to join the project as they meet the readiness criteria, the manager said South Sudan and Djibouti are making preparations to join the project in the second phase.

According to her, Ethiopia is the first country to meet both the readiness criteria and declare the project effective as of 2nd August 2022.  

The project is expected to build trust and foster cooperation among countries in the IGAD region as most of the identified groundwater resources are transboundary, it was pointed out.    

This first phase of the regional project is expected to reach 3.3 million direct beneficiaries through interventions designed to increase access to water supply and reduce vulnerability to climate change impacts.