Vol 5 No 1 (2018)
Articles

Groundwater Based Irrigation and Food Security in Raya-Kobo Valley, Northern Ethiopia

Dessie Nedaw
School of Earth Sciences, Addis Ababa University
Nata Tadesse Tafesse
Department of Geology, University of Botswana
Kifle Woldearegay
Department of Earth Sciences, Mekelle University
Tesfamichael Gebreyohannes
Department of Earth Sciences, Mekelle University
Frank Van Steenbergen
MetaMeta, The Netherlands
Loiskandl Willibald
Institute of Hydraulics and Rural Water Management, BOKU
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Keywords
  • Confined aquifer,
  • Groundwater storage,
  • Government investments,
  • Northern Ethiopia,
  • Unconfined aquifer.

Abstract

The Raya-Kobo valley is characterized by good groundwater resources potential (excess of 198 Mm3) located in northern Ethiopia. The total area of the valley is approximated to be 3510 Km2. Despite this potential of groundwater, the area has been suffering from droughts. Establishment and expansion of cooperative societies, small business enterprises and irrigation farming were given priority as interventions to address the food security problem in the valley. These interventions were designed and implemented in the last several years by the regional governments administrating the Raya-Kobo valley, and groundwater is used as a source of water for irrigation farming for more than nine to ten years. Nevertheless, food insecurity is still a major problem in the area. The present study has been conducted to investigate the extent of contribution of the groundwater based intervention in the elimination food insecurity. The study was conducted by collecting, analyzing and interpreting all the existing relevant data of the study area. Groundwater potential was compiled from the author’s previous works and recently conducted research works. The impact of the groundwater based irrigation on food security issues was assessed using informal and formal interviews and focus group discussions. Limited area coverage of the irrigated land and the long time taken for the extension works in those drilled productive wells are the major limitations in the Kobo valley that makes the groundwater based irrigation unable to release the farmers of the area from the food insecurity. In Raya valley, besides to these problems, absence of responsible office, failure of pump, and the long time taken for pump maintenance are also the major factors. In Raya-Kobo valley food security is highly related to the availability of water. Irrigating the whole potential irrigable area, increasing and sustaining availability of groundwater and management of the irrigation scheme are vital to eradicate food insecurity from Raya-Kobo valley.

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