Background of Our Work in Ethiopia
Ethiopia has an apparent abundance of water, but it is unevenly distributed among seasons, years, river basins, and highland and lowland regions. As a consequence, there is localized scarcity at points in space and time. While Ethiopia is a low-income country with the ambition to achieve middle-income status by 2025, water scarcity will affect sectors of the economy in several ways. Agricultural output is highly sensitive to variations in water availability. Reports show that accounting for knock-on impacts in other sectors, drought could cause GDP to decline by 20% in the Awash Basin, which hosts a large concentration of industrial and agricultural production compared with the other eleven basins. On the other hand, industrial production in Ethiopia, which is almost exclusively reliant on groundwater, is less susceptible to fluctuations in availability but also subject to limits on sustainable withdrawals over the long run.