Ethiopia is one of the most susceptible countries to the adverse effects of climate change and variability; due to its geographical location, topography, heavily dependent on rain fed agriculture, inadequate infrastructure in drought prone areas, high population growth rate, low economic development level, weak institutions in combination to adaptive capacity (Tadeg, 2007).
The growth and development of Ethiopia was influenced by climate change through changes in agricultural productivity, water availability, damaging different infrastructure and extreme events. Climate change reduces agricultural or hydropower output in a given year, and it also reduces income and hence savings (Guteta, 2018).
Until 1974 in Ethiopia, there was no governmental policy on soil and water conservation and natural resource management. The 1974 to 1975 famine has made the turning point for the country to conserve natural resources (Alemneh, 2003). Watershed development planning with the aim of natural resource conservation and development program was started in the 1970s (Hurni, 1986). A large scale effort has been made to implement the watershed management projects in the country.
However due to its large scale planning units which range from 30 to 40 thousands of hectares and absence of local community participation, the projects were ended with unsatisfactory results. The failure of large-scale watershed management projects had opened an opportunity to the stakeholder’s especially the researchers, governmental organizations and NGOs to find out solution to the problem. Hence, FAO in its pilot study from 1988 to 1991 found that watershed management approach which focuses on a bottom up basis and uses smaller units is vital to attain the overall designed watershed management objective (Lakew Desta, 2005).
Currently, the Ethiopian policy gives more attention to adaptation. Adaptation to climate change in rural area is making a system suitable by reducing the impacts of climate change or to take advantages of new technologies through managing the land and water. Thus, adaptation to climate change by communities is governed and facilitated by their own social capital and livelihood resources (Hadush, 2014).
Most of the SWC activities that were implemented in Ethiopia between 1970s and 1990s were tailored towards reducing soil erosion rather than enhancing agricultural production (Gebrehawaria G. , 2017). These activities lack integration between farm and non-farm measures, and were neither effective nor sustainable (Bishaw, 2001). The participatory integrated watershed management approach emphasizes improving the productivity of water and land resources in an ecologically and institutionally sustainable way. According to the participatory watershed guideline (Desta Lakew, 2005), the objective of watershed management is to improve the livelihoods of rural communities and household through
In general, watershed management creates opportunities for reclaiming degraded land, improving soil fertility, water resources development, increasing agricultural production, off farm activities, diversifying income sources and providing access to markets, where the benefits are realized at household and community level (Gebrehawaria, 2017).
Due to its advantages, during the last two decades MoA and different NGOs have adopted participatory land use planning in different parts of the country. Since 2005 the country has developed community based watershed development guideline, in which the participation of community gets due consideration for sustainable watershed development and management (MoARD, 2005).
Recently, the initiatives of watershed management are going on almost throughout the country. Besides the efforts made by several NGOs, the campaign on soil and water conservation program which was initiated by FDRE government for the last seven years has offered a great contribution in watershed development and management for the country (MoARD, 2005).
However, the challenges of climate change on watershed resources is become common problem. Therefore, currently it is needed of studying contribution of integrated watershed management approach to climate change adaptation and giving recommendations for the concerned body.
Effective and sustainable watershed management can take place through participation of watershed community from the beginning, ownership of communal lands into private or association holdings, integration of multidisciplinary team, demand driven, changing the livelihood of the community within the short run by generating income from on farm and off farm activities, and in the long run it helps them to adapt climate change and variability through establishing community watershed management institution, and gives legislative support (Tesfaye, 2011).
Ethiopia focuses on to take its advantage of current economic growth by becoming more resilient to the impacts of climate change through the development of community based adaptation strategies (MoARD, 2005). The government, none governmental organizations and households made an effort adopting a variety of coping mechanisms. In the farming areas, many are shifting to more drought tolerant crops and varieties, improved watershed management practices to protect land degradation and climate change hazards. The basic approaches are shifting from top-down to community managed approaches. Watershed approach was implemented to address issues of poverty and land resource degradation in different parts of the country (Kaur, 2013).
Food insecure Woreda are the most degraded area of Amhara region in particular and in Ethiopia in general. Despite this, a number of positive changes have been recorded. Different soil/water conservation, water recharging and water harvesting structures have been constructed. The whole activity is moving from soil water conservation to water harvesting and other natural resource management collaborating with different income generating activities (Gebrehaweria G, 2016).
In the study area Tach Gayint, which was known by recurrent drought and food insecurity problems in the past and even somehow at present, many people live in conditions of chronic famine with low average income. The combined problems of environmental degradation, irregular rainfall, high population pressure, recurrent cycle of drought, lack of income diversification, institutional factors as well as the topographic features of the area; which is characterized by mountainous, and rugged topography, threatened food security in the Woreda. Currently, despite this a number of positive changes have been observed (TGWOoA, 2019).
In the rural areas of Tach Gayint, the government and non-governmental organization in collaboration with the population have been making efforts to control the degradation of natural resources aggressively since 1996 through the development of local level participatory approach. Consequently, many watershed management measures have been initiated, at the same time for climate change adaptation, including the conservation of soil, forest and water through different soil water conservation practices (TGWOoA, 2019).
Different studies have examined the extent to which IWM interventions have resulted in the desired effects. According to (Abelieneh, 2011) examined the role of watershed management for climate change adaptation in choke mountain upper Muga watershed in East Gojam of Ethiopia and result from this study indicate that as a result of watershed management livelihood conditions like income, soil fertility, land productivity, forest, water and food supply as well as adaptive capacity of the local people becomes improved; even if it has some gaps in the process of implementation. The watershed management can play a significant role to enhance household’s livelihood in climate change adaptation even if it has some gaps in implementation processes (Meaza, 2014).
Another study for Ethiopia was done by Gebrehawaria, 2017; assessing integrated watershed management in Ethiopia, the result showed that watershed management has had a positive impact on natural resource conservation, crop & livestock production and productivity, socioeconomic and lively hood improvement. Study for Oromia region, Arsi zone Dodola Woreda was conducted by Dejene Teresa and Etefa Guteta (2018) on the effects of community based watershed management on livelihood resources for climate change adaptation; the result showed that watershed management intervention can bring significant change on the livelihood resources for climate change adaptation.
However, different researches are done in different parts of the country but still there is no study on this title in Tach Gayint Woreda, contribution of watershed management in different agro-ecological zones are different, the researches done before are not addressed in detail the watershed management in adaptation to climate change as compared to the severity of the problem, watershed management is a continuous process due to this it needs continuous assessment; so it needs additional study.
Therefore, this study tries to fill the existing research gap by focusing on the overall benefits of watershed management in adaptation to climate change in the study area.
The general objective of this research is to assess the contribution of integrated watershed management approach for climate change adaptation in Meshant watershed of Tach Gayint Woreda, South Gondar Zone.
The research attempts to answer the following basic questions
This research will have its own importance: In one hand it can examine the overall advantages of integrated watershed management for climate change adaptation; on the other hand it is important to ensure the sustainability of the watershed management practices in the study area through identifying the challenges and gaps in the implementation process.
Additionally it could help to extend the management practices to other unprotected watersheds area in the Woreda by providing information about the benefits of the intervention that can help the policy makers, local administrators, beneficiaries of the watershed and different stakeholders to look forward in the next implementation strategies and plans to see its impact on farmers adaptation to climate change and variability.
Similarly, it can help households to make informed decision for better practice on watershed management. Besides the result of the study it may serve as a base for further comprehensive research that will be done in the area of the impacts of integrated watershed management on climate change and variability adaptation.
The scope of this paper is delimited to study the role of integrated watershed management approach on climate change adaptation in Tach Gayint Woreda: in the case of Meshant watershed. The existing conservation practices and household’s participation in watershed management and the impacts of integrated watershed management on climate change adaptation and the major challenges in the implementation of the integrated watershed management in the study area were discussed in the course of this research.
Investigating the contribution of watershed management is a broad area of the study, which includes the direct and indirect benefits for different sectors, needs to including a number of multiple sectors. But, only the major items were included in deriving the contribution of watershed management for climate change adaptation in Meshant watershed. Similarly, although taking the entire population is important, however the study was used selected households to collect data due to time and budget constraint.
This thesis is organized into five chapters supplemented with a list of references and appendices.
In the first chapter, general background of the study, statement of the problem, objectives, significance, scope and limitations of the study are presented.
Chapter 2 presents review of related literature and conceptual framework of the study. Under this part, basic concepts related to land degradation and watershed management practice in Ethiopia, impacts and concepts of integrated watershed management, institutions and legal frameworks, the concept of livelihood and empirical aspects were reviewed.
These can be used to fill literature gaps and to identify variables for this study.
Chapter 3 contains a methodology part of the study which focuses on a brief description of the study area; it presents in-depth discussions in relation to the research design, sampling techniques, data collection techniques and the methods used for data analysis. Moreover, chapter four and five deals with the analysis and conclusion including the recommendation sections.
Chapter 4 deals about the results and discussion part and chapter 5 presents conclusion and recommendation of the study.