Water security: stakeholders’ arena in the Awash River Basin of Ethiopia

  • Reta Hailu
  • Degefa Tolossa
  • Getnet Alemu
Original Article


Water insecurity is a growing challenge manifested from global to local scales. This paper examines stakeholders and their roles to tackle the challenges of water insecurity in the Awash basin of Ethiopia. The empirical evidence is based on stakeholder analysis employing key informant interviews with water experts using snowball techniques, focused group discussions with water user associations, and local communities. Moreover, secondary data sources were used to supplement the field data. The study is informed by Institution of Sustainability (IoS) to understand stakeholders’ arena in water security goal. The government institutions, private institutions, external bodies, and the local community were the key stakeholders. They engaged in water use, allocation, distribution, policy making, advocacy, and setting rules and regulations, development and management, and financing of water sector–water transaction processes. Nevertheless, it was found out that the stakeholders are not acting synergistically and coordinated to tackle the anthropogenic and natural factors affecting water quality, quantity, and access to safe water on a sustainable basis. Poor coordination fragmented the endeavours of various stakeholders and constrained effective participation. Power asymmetry among the actors limited their collaboration. In addition, there is little enforcement of water rules and regulations to surmount such challenges. Given these challenges, the dire water insecurity is a conspicuous manifestation in the basin. The potential of enforcing existing laws, engagement of pertinent stakeholders, as well as coordinating the action of these actors must be exploited to achieve sustainable water resources management and thereby water security. The political commitment is a sine qua non in the entire endeavour.


Stakeholders Water insecurity Awash basin Coordination Institutions Water resources Ethiopia 



The authors express their sincere thanks to Addis Ababa University (College of Development Studies) for supporting this study.

Supplementary material

40899_2017_208_MOESM1_ESM.docx (333 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 333 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Rural Development, College of Development StudiesAddis Ababa UniversityAddis AbabaEthiopia
  2. 2.Institute of Development and Policy ResearchAddis AbabaEthiopia

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