‘‘Ethiopia has vast water resource potential; but its availability and accessibility for diversified usages have been limited. This is due to lack of technical and financial capacity required to harness the water resources,’’ said The Arba Minch University President, Dr Fekele Woldeyes.

AMU President said this in his opening remark during two-day symposium on ‘Sustainable Water Resources Development,’ which got off to flying start at Lecture Theatre, Main Campus on June 27, 2013.
Elaborating further, Dr Feleke said, ‘‘Our water resources development and management endeavours need to be supported by scientific researches. Research is important to generate information and knowledge related to the likely changes in demand and supply of water in different time horizons, socio-economic and environmental impacts of interventions, adoption and adaptation of appropriate technologies to enhance efficient water usage.
However, research capacities and experiences in water resources are in the nascent stage in our nation. And to mitigate this situation and to contribute to the nation’s demand, AMU has already planned to launch PhD Program in Irrigation and Drainage Engineering in 2013.’’
AMU will continue to contribute to alleviate deficiencies observed in connection to water-related research as well as optimum utilization of water resources,’’ he assured.
The program began with the AMiT Scientific Director, Dr Negash Wagesho, welcoming the participants. Dr Negash also informed the gathering about six thematic areas i.e. Hydrology and Integrated Water Resources Management, Renewable Energy and Irrigation and Drainage, Irrigation & Drainage, Water Supply & Sanitation and Emerging Challenges which will be deliberated upon during two days.
In his keynote address, the Advisor to the Ministry of Water and Energy on International Negotiation, Dr Yacob Arsano, said, ‘‘Ethiopia has rejected the status quo on Nile Basin. It has taken lead in encouraging nations for multi-purpose program and cooperation, when up & downstream nations signed Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) in 2009. Out of nine negotiating nations only seven adopted the pact, Egypt and Sudan backed out due to their monopolistic stand.’’
Mr Meberatu, Alumni of Arba Minch University and Deputy Coordinator for GIBE-III hydro-electric project, has informed that 74% of its work has already been completed. The environmental and social impact of this project is minimal as the reservoir is in deep gorge, which won’t affect a single household.
On being enquired whether university can collaborate with their grand project, Mr Meberatu said, the initiative has to be taken by the university. Justifying the use of RCC technology he said, most of the hydro-electric projects across the world is using it because it’s cost-effective and helps in rapid construction.
Papers on topics like ‘Household level coping and adaptation to flood loss and damage in the Itang Woreda of the Gambella Region in Ethiopia’, ‘Groundwater quality issues in the Geba Basin, Tigray, Northern Ethiopia’, ‘Environmental dynamics and challenges of sustainability: A case study of the Chencha and Arbaminch Areas and many more were presented by different presenters from across Ethiopia.
AMU’s Ms Adanech Yared presented paper on ‘Estimating runoff in ungauged catchments using parameters regionalization methodologies to ungauged sub-basins of the Omo Gibe River Basin in Ethiopia.
The symposium was attended by all AMiT faculties, AMU vice-presidents, some of the directors, deans, faculty members and invited guests.
On the second and last day, symposium would focus on three more thematic areas such as Irrigation and Drainage, Water Supply and Sanitation and Emerging Challenges. Experts from different universities and institutions are expected to attend the meet.

By Philips Joseph