Water is one of the key resources that will shape our economic development through enabling economic growth together with social, political and environmental welfare of people. The water resources endowment of our country is our God given natural blessing. It is up to us all Ethiopians to develop it and use it judiciously in quenching our thirst, protect our health, produce enough food and energy, and manage the resource to overcome the horrific consequences of droughts and floods.
Enabling water supply access is the top priority of the national water policy. Thanks to the recent strong efforts in federal and regional Government interventions and the WASH programmes by all stakeholders that we are approaching universal access to drinking water for all. It however also needs upscaling the supply quantity, quality and operational sustainability commensurate with the new standard of middle income by 2025.
There is a long way to go attaining success in water management for agricultural production and attaining resilience against the shocks of weather and climate. Enabling water availability and access to the vast majority of farmers are key to succeed but also represent formidable challenges under rapidly growing population, inadequate infrastructure and highly variable climate. Albeit the challenges, the recent phenomenon of managing drought showed us we can overcome these challenges on our resolves. We need to take this success to the next levels that our agriculture, both crop and livestock systems, is supported by resilient water management and infrastructure not only to secure production but to increase productivity and serve as one of the engines of economic development. Our success in agricultural water management and irrigation are still at infant or offtake stages and longing for breakthroughs.
The water management system of Ethiopia needs to be supported by modern climate and water information system to establish robust weather and disaster prediction systems to achieve sustained growth. Such systems are essential to make informed decision, manage the resource efficiently, maintain equity and justice, and reduce conflicts in boundary and transboundary waters. We should strength our resolve and capability to protect and uphold the interest of Ethiopia through negotiation and managing the transboundary resources that are getting complex from time to time.
The focus of developing our energy that could be harnessed from renewable resources of water, solar, wind and geothermal energy is attaining rewarding gains. The present rapid generation capability we are witnessing with the likes of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Ghibe Dams and wind farms show tremendous success. The completed and ongoing constructions for power generation success needs to be complemented with the necessary capabilities in transmission, distribution and efficient use. Rapid growth and transformational development requires reliable energy production, supply and efficiency. Without adequate and reliable quantity and quality of supply of energy, no industrialization, agricultural value additions, job creation, economic and sustainable growth are achievable.
We should work to realize the national policies and strategies to its fullest potential and with the necessary dynamism that are required to make them fit for diverse purposes, and emboldened with science, evidence and data. It is high time we all Ethiopians at home and abroad utilize knowledge, skills and hard work to transform the sector. We require to mobilize not only internal capacity and resources but also international financing, human resources and technological mechanisms to develop fast.
Let me assure you that, as a Minister, I will lead and work tirelessly, hand in hand with the hard working men and women in the sector and outside the sector, to serve our country where its current and future citizens be reliant and proud of our achievements.
Thank you for welcoming my service to this exciting and tough challenge and with blessings to Ethiopia and its great people!
H.E Dr.Eng. Seleshi Bekele,
Minster of the Federal Democratic Repubic of Ethiopia
Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy