The Quest for Standard Tests in Prioritizing Water Use Rights in Ethiopia: Reasonable Use, Beneficial Use or ‘Beyond’

  • Zbelo Haileslassie Embaye


The use of water is a basic and universal human right while the right to use water is one of the most contested rights. There are common problems and debates in relation to setting the order of priority to promote equitable utilization aligned with equitable allocation under water resources governance. This article examines different literature, theories, laws and policies to search the standard tests. There are priorities related to conflicting interests. Moreover, there are problems of depletion, pollution, water grabbing, wastage of water, and water crisis that are attributable to lack of comprehensive regulations, or confusions in putting policy options. The regulatory tools lack clarity and sufficiency with regard to the incorporation of standard tests. There is thus the need for a relatively exhaustive order of priorities that embody human rights to water and other situational and policy justifications. The justifications are expected to reinforce the reasonable-beneficial use standard tests with due flexibility in re-ordering priorities where they are incompatible. The technical application of the standard tests in ordering priorities can control water grabbing and wastage of water. This requires policy options that are helpful to avoid water grabbing and water wastage thereby facilitating the attainment of the ‘highest social and economic benefits’.

Key terms

Water use, reasonable use, beneficial use, priority, Ethiopia, standard test, water grabbing, water wastage


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2309-902X
print ISSN: 1998-9881