Competing Water Resource Demands in Ethiopia’s Federal System: Infancy of the Law toward Integrated Management

  • Abiy Chelkeba


The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Constitution confines the power of regional states over water to administration of watercourse that flows within their respective territories. Various proclamations introduce an integrated approach to water resources management through the application of proper and integrated master planning. To this end, a new institutional framework is established through the creation of Basins’ Development Authority at national level. The previously established Basin High Councils and Authorities were implementing integrated water management within their respective basins and the powers and obligations of the basin based high councils and authorities are transferred to the newly established National Basin High Council and Basins Development Authority. Some adjustments are necessary due to federalism and issues related to the constitutional framework of water resources that have been overlooked. When the Water Resources Management Proclamation and other water laws are read together with the various provisions of the FRDE Constitution, they lack clarity save the power of the federal government to enact framework legislation over water resources within states’ territories. Works undertaken by the federal profit-oriented public enterprises transforming water into an economic good on the lands that are administered by the regional states is an area of on-going controversy. I argue that regional states should claim their constitutional right to levy and collect land use fee from profit making federal public enterprises that are engaged in transforming water into economic good within the framework of integrated water resources management system. 

Key terms

Water · Water resources · Federalism · Water law · Integrated water resources management · Ethiopia


Journal Identifiers

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