River Basin High Council and Authorities were established under proclamation No.534/1999 E.C. so as to implement the principle of an integrated water resource management. Awash Basin Authority, thus, is established in accordance with Awash Basin High Council and Authorities establishment Council of Ministers Regulation No.156/2000 E.C.
There are twelve major river basins in Ethiopia of which Awash Basin is one and the most utilized River basin so far. Awash Basin covers parts of Afar, Amhara, Oromia, Somali Regional States, SNNP and Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa administrative councils. It is the fourth populous basin in Ethiopia and ranks the 3rd of all basins of Ethiopia in terms of population density and stands 4th and 7th in its area and volume of water respectively. The overall population in the Awash Basin is estimated to be 14.9 million from the CSA report of 2007 G.C. -more than 65% of this concentrated in the Upper Awash. The Awash Basin covers a total area of 116,000 km2 and has a annual flow of 4.9 billion m3.
The Awash River rises on the high plateau to the West of Addis Ababa, at an altitude of about 3,000 m and is fed by several major tributaries; including Kessem, Kebena, Awadi, Arso, Ataye, Borkena, Cheleka, Mile and Logiya rivers. The part of the catchment situated in the dry east of the river, accounting for some 40% of the total basin area, does not contribute any significant surface runoff to the river. The total length of the Awash river is approximately 1,250 km.
Awash Basin is the most developed basin in Ethiopia due to availability of land suitable for agriculture, water resources that can be easily tapped, and its strategic location. The estimated irrigation potential is about 206,000 ha out of which more than 160,000 ha or 77.7% (current survey excluding hectares less than 2.5 ha) is already developed by surface irrigation systems and it also serves for drinking water supply for big towns and rural community, hydropower and fisheries. There is usual tension during the pick irrigation time especially in the month of May and June. The Upper Awash, mainly characterized by urbanization and wetter hydrological regime, receives high rainfall while the major part of the basin has short and intense rainy seasons with highly unreliable rainfall leading to frequent droughts and floods in the middle and lower part of the basin. Rain fed cultivation has been increasingly becoming unreliable in the larger lower part of the basin. All its tributaries originate from Amhara and Oromia highlands where most of the steep lands are under cultivation. This improper land use coupled with high rainfall intensity and rapid urbanization resulted in increasingly frequent floods affecting rangelands, cultivated lands and social and economic infrastructure in the lower, middle and even in the most upper parts of the basin.
The Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity of Ethiopia is a federal organization established to undertake the management of water resources, water supply and sanitation, large and medium scale irrigation and electricity. The Ministry is a regulatory body which involves the planning, development and management of resources, preparation and implementation of guidelines, strategies, polices, programs, and sectoral laws and regulations. It also, conducts study and research activities, provides technical support to regional water and energy bureaus and especial support to four emerging regions (Gambella, Benishangul-Gumuth, Afar and Somali). In the case of transboundary water resources and regional developments pertinent to the sector, it engages in the negotiation and the signing of international agreements.
The Ministry is headed by a Minister and three State Ministers. The State Minsters are managing: Water Supply and Sanitation Sector, Irrigation and Drainage Sector and Electricity Sector.
Core areas of the services include the followings:
Water supply and sanitation,
Medium and large scale irrigation and drainage,
Electricity study and design,
Dam safety and hydropower,
River basin study,
Trans-boundary water affairs,
Groundwater study and development,
Water quality and hydrology,
Water use permit and licensing,
Water sector research and development
The Rift valley lakes basin authority is established on proclamation number 691/2002 article 5 and sub article 34 and house of ministers council regulation number 253/2003.
The overall objectives of the Authority shall be to promote and monitor the implementation of integrated water resources management process in an equitable and participatory manner in the Rift Valley Lakes Basin.
Powers and Duties of the Authority
Initiate and submit to the High Council policy measures needed to create conducive environment for the implementation of an integrated water resource management process within the basin and follow up the implementation of the policy upon approval;
Undertake activities necessary for, and facilitate, the implementation of integrated water resources management in the basin;
Ensure that projects, activities and interventions related to water in the basin are, in their content, schedule, impacts and management are in line with the integrated water resources management process;
Prepare and submit to the High Council, the basin’s plan and monitor its implementation upon approval;
Without prejudice to the power given to regional states by law, issue permits applicable to the basin’s water use and water works in accordance with Article 15 of the Proclamation and ensure-that the terms of the permits are complied with;
Collect, compile, analyze and disseminate information for proper planning, administration and steering of water resources in the basin;
Develop and use a river basin model in order to guide and support the basin’s water resources strategic planning and water administration functions;
Give advice and technical support to the High Council and the Ministry on dispute resolution in relation to the allocation and use of water resources of the basin;
Set up a forum for effective networking among stakeholders;
Collect water charges from users;
On the basis of instructions of the High Council, prepare and provide necessary information for the concerned body in charge of negotiations with other countries concerning trans-boundary rivers;
12.Undertake studies, surveys and researches that arc deemed necessary to carry out its functions;
Monitor ground water level in order to prevent an occurrence of salinity’ problem in areas where irrigation development works and projects are carried out and cause measures to be taken;
Undertake river drainage-work;
Own property, enter into contracts, sue and be sued in its own name;
Carry out such other functions necessary for the implementation of its objectives.