Initiatives, Opportunities and Challenges in Shallow Groundwater Utilization: a Case Study from Debrekidane Watershed, Hawzien Woreda, Tigray Region, Northern Ethiopia

Nata Tadesse, Asmelash Berhane, K. Bheemalingeswara


This paper assesses the opportunities and challenges of household irrigation practices that use groundwater as source in an area in Debrekidane watershed (45.1 km2), Tigray region, northern Ethiopia. It was done by evaluating the recharge and discharge potential of the aquifers, different water harvesting recharge structures and the impact of the intervention on the livelihood of the households. The recharge and discharge potential of the wells were determined from the pumping tests conducted on selected wells. The potential of different recharge structures were determined by evaluating size and nature of their construction. Impact of the intervention on livelihood of the household was assessed through developed semi-structure questionnaires, and by conducting focal group, individual, formal and informal discussions. There are about 360 hand dug wells in the study area getting recharged through the water harvesting structures and directly from rainfall. The numbers of beneficiaries are 326, out of which 5 % are women headed households. Nine per cent of the owners have double hand dug wells. The major opportunities identified in the area include planting variety of new trees, plants, and cultivating of highly valued crops, improvement of the households feeding habits and generation of regular income; and introduction and adoption of water lifting technologies. At the same time spacing and sliding of walls of the hand dug wells, simultaneous production of similar type of vegetable crops by many farmers, wastage of lands due to many wells and the waste debris material, maintenance of water lifting technology, water scarcity; and proper water utilization are some of the major challenges that are faced in the area. Though intervention has changed the situation from meager to significant production, the benefits can further be enhanced by overcoming the identified challenges.

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