EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Enhancing decision making tools for climate-smart water management in the Awash Basin, Ethiopia. 

Abdulkarim Seid, Robel Geressu, Sirak Tekleab, Muluken Alemu, and Meron Teferi Taye
Abdulkarim Seid et al.
  • International Water Management Institute , East Africa and Nile Basin Office, ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (

Decision analysis techniques to meet water systems management challenges under climate change uncertainty have improved with advances in computational technology in the last decades. Infusing improved design and decision analysis techniques in developing countries can be of paramount importance given their higher vulnerability to climate change, fewer professionals with sufficient capacity, and generally high incentive for rapid expansion of low-cost solutions.  However, a large gap exists between scientific progress and practical and policy applications, especially in global south countries. In this paper we discuss the observed challenges in design, analysis and decision making process to achieve climate smart water management in the highly utilized Awash Basin of Ethiopia. The approach we followed is key-informant interviews with water professionals working across multiple disciplines (i.e., water supply, irrigation, hydropower infrastructure design) and working for different organizations (i.e., government ministries, research institutions, consultancy offices) and freelancers and academicians. Efforts were made to represent informants from different academic levels, gender, and professional responsibilities. The results demonstrate multiple but related challenges including the lack of incentive to apply changes at individual or institutional levels, cultural and policy inertia against transparency and public debate in decision making. Technical challenges emanate from the non-inclusion of up-to-date climate change science at higher education level along with lack of access to computational and communication technology. We present tailor made decision support tools to improve management by leveraging advances in computational and visualization of large data to reveal tradeoffs and synergies of water and food systems at multiple watershed scales.  Efficient and timely solutions for vulnerable small-scale producers can be best achieved by changing the role of institutions to reflect local capacity in the water system management sector.  Proposed solutions to help tackle these challenges include overhaul of the skill requirement for water resources professionals along with continuous skills training and evaluation.

How to cite: Seid, A., Geressu, R., Tekleab, S., Alemu, M., and Taye, M. T.: Enhancing decision making tools for climate-smart water management in the Awash Basin, Ethiopia. , EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-11772,, 2023.