As part of the observances for World Water Day 2021, Water Security Hub partner the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), produced a video exploring the multiple and diverse water values held in Ethiopia.
Water in Ethiopia (and elsewhere) holds a multitude of values, including social, environmental, cultural, and economic. Focusing on the Central Rift Valley and Akaki basins, this video visits different communities and people living in these areas, who share their own experiences and values of water.
Fishermen living on Lake Langano fish in it’s waters, selling their produce to hotels and resorts located on the water’s edge: “Water is life for me and my family – we sell fish to these hotels, and water is the base for our livelihood.”
Water from the Central Rift Valley and Akaki Rivers is also used for the irrigation of flowers and vegetables, both of which are sold and consumed locally as well as exported as a source of income for the region.
There are religious values to water too – celebrations like Irreecha and Ethiopian Epiphany take place in or near water: “In Christianity, water is a healer”, and in Islam, water is considered an important sanitiser.
The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the link between water and health, with washing our hands amongst the prescribed prevention measures. Many communicable diseases occur due to lack of access to clean water, and the absence of sanitation is a serious cause of ill health.
When we focus on a single water value, there are always trade-offs with further negative feedback loops. It is important to acknowledge the multiple values of water, so that we can effectively tackle the threats and challenges to water resources and water security.
Everyone must protect water. Water is life.