Institute set to produce capable water professionals: Director
Addis Ababa June18/2012 Almost all major development problems are water-related in Ethiopia where there is no research center for the abundant water resources and potential factor for the development of all sectors until recently.
As a country with hydraulic variability and water considered the basis of over all growth looking for water capable professionals who can develop and oversee the country’s ample river and groundwater resources has become the concern of the day.
With this intention, the Ethiopian Institute of Water Resources has come out to address the lack of capable water professionals for a sustainable water management.
Institute Director, Dr. Tena Alamirew told ENA that the institute came in to existence to tackle water related challenge with USAID –HED funding under the African -US Higher Education Initiative.
The Director said capacity building, research and out reach programs are the fundamentals pillars of the institute.
The institute which is under the auspice of Addis Ababa University (AAU) has been established in 2011. Seven Ethiopian and US universities are partnering in the teaching and research programs.
The Addis Ababa University and University of Connecticut are leading the programs. Arba Minch , Bahirdar , Mekelle and Hawassa universities from Ethiopia and Alabama A&M university from US are partnering. Currently, 18 PhD and 24 M.Sc students recruited from the four Ethiopian universities are attending their studies. The students are being trained by a joint team of US and Ethiopia professors.
The participation of Ethiopian professionals from the AAU and Ministry of Water Resource in the research work would help in knowledge transfer, he noted.
According to the baseline survey conducted in 2009 the country had less than 20 PhD holders working in the water sector. As to the director, the institute in collaboration with the ministry of education is training first cohort comprised 18 PhD and 24 M.Sc students.
As higher education is expanding in the country Dr. Tena said the training program would significantly enhance the capacity of their water research centers in each university.
Much care has been taken for the thematic areas of the students’ research; he said and adding the students are conducting research on erosion and sedimentation, ran off generation and reservoir operation on Abay, Omo-Ghibe and Baro-Akobo basins.
The Director said the institute is also recruiting 45 students (15PhDand 30 M.Sc.) for Water and Wastewater Treatment, and Water and Public Health program to be launched in this June.
As part of its outreach program, the institute has organized higher level thematic training in collaboration with international organization and various institutions, he said.
Accordingly, he said the institute had organized training on green growth and water management and project management in collaboration with the Korean Environment Institute and US of Connecticut University.
The Director said thought the nation is late to establish the institute we are moving forward and hopefully see tangible results in the coming few years.
Dr.Tena said as water is central for the country’s green development strategy the institute would for sure contribute remarkably to this national drive.
The institute aspires to launch programs in the area of water engineering and technology, water governance and economics, and water and health as well as establishing Center for Hydro-informatics.
The Director is optimistic enough that the institute would be a center of excellence and think-tank in the areas of water resources.
As the Growth and Transformation Plan focused on water access for people to thrive and industries to grow, the institute has a role to play in the efforts reducing poverty and propelling national development.