Integrated Watershed Management- Lessons from Tigray, Ethiopia

Integrated Watershed Management (IWM) is an approach that uses collective action by a group of people reliant on a watershed area to proactively manage the resources and natural community assets within the area. This includes actions to carefully manage the surface water (rivers, streams, lakes and ponds) and groundwater (shallow and deep wells) within the watershed, as well as mutual agreements on resource use, including the use of surrounding land for agriculture and livestock grazing. IWM aims to ensure provision of goods and services from a watershed in ways that contribute to the conservation of soil, water and other natural resources. The approach combines long-term natural resource conservation initiatives and short-term livelihood activities to help communities meet their needs. Drawing upon the experience of Farm Africa in Tigray, inclusive processes are key to successful IWM interventions, so community members feel ownership over the process and responsibility to abide to the agreements. Technical expertise on how to practically manage the watershed responsibly is also vital.