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Utrecht University (2013)

From violent conflict to peaceful cooperation : The nature of irrigation management situations in Northern Ethiopia, the role of institutions and lessons learned for sustainable water management

Soelen, S. van

Titre : From violent conflict to peaceful cooperation : The nature of irrigation management situations in Northern Ethiopia, the role of institutions and lessons learned for sustainable water management.

Auteur : Soelen, S. van

Université de soutenance : Utrecht University

Grade : Master thesis 2013

Résumé
Water is crucial to human life and the earth as a whole ; there is no life without water. The majority of the rural population in Ethiopia is depending on agriculture for their livelihood and most agriculture is still based on the availability of rain. This limits the possibilities of the rural population to have a consistent income all year long ; their agricultural practices are more focused on subsistence farming. Irrigation developments are growing rapidly in Ethiopia and there is a water resource potential to increase the irrigated agriculture substantively over the coming years. Managing these water systems is however not always easy. Water management equals managing conflicting interests and farmers can get competitive to secure their own access to water for irrigation. However, there is not much knowledge available about the nature of these local management situations. Therefore, a research has been conducted to look at the nature of local management situations, the role of various institutions and stakeholders, and the way in which problems are dealt with (conflict management). During three months of fieldwork in Ethiopia, various locations have been visited and different cases have been investigated. These cases are used in this thesis to describe the main trends in Ethiopia and to give recommendations on how to move forward. During the fieldwork period, semi-structured interviews have been conducted with various stakeholders in the cases itself, as well as government officials on regional and federal level. The aim was to know the contextual factors of the conflicts, the stakeholders involved and the dynamics around the situation. In total, seven cases have been selected which are located in three different regional states in Ethiopia. From the research, it appeared that the developments in irrigation are in general positive for the livelihoods of the rural poor, but there is a lack of attention for irrigation management and there are often local conflicts or situations of void present (situations where there is no conflict or cooperation, but the water resource can be deteriorated or developed blindly). These situations can threaten the sustainability of the local systems. Most of the conflicts are on local scale, around one system, between farmers from two communities or between farmers and the local government. Management situations are dynamic situations which can change from nature over time, due to climate variability (there are more conflicts in the end of the dry season than during the rainy season) or changes in the social-political situation. The conflict situations are not caused by one factor (such as scarcity in the dry season), but often by a combination of different factors, whereby the functioning of institutions is often involved. This is related to the functioning of local water committees responsible for the day to day management of irrigation systems, as well as the local government supporting the water committees and often responsible for mediating in local conflicts. Most of the conflicts are dealt with on local level, without much supervision from guidelines or procedures on how to deal with conflicts. As a result, the approaches used by the different local government authorities differ, creating different results. Since these local conflict situations are present, attention for conflict management and prevention are needed in the management approach of local irrigation systems : attention during trainings of local water committees and local government authorities is needed to make them more aware about these situations and how to deal with them

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Page publiée le 12 avril 2018