Water and Land Resource Centre (WLRC)

Water and Land Resource Centre (WLRC, AAU) is an autonomous think tank which was reconstituted in 2011 from projects that succeeded the Soil and Water Conservation Program (SCRP) (1981) which was started in 1981 and implemented in the highland parts of Ethiopia. WLRC was officially affiliated with AAU which co- manages it together with Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) of the University of Berne, Switzerland. The Centre is governed by a Board of Trustees, which has a direct oversight power over the Executive organ. WLRC is managing 7 learning watersheds and 23 scientific monitoring stations.

The learning watersheds are used as live learning sites for demonstrating land rehabilitation and integrated watershed management practices. From the scientific monitoring stations/observatories, WLRC collects real-time data on sub-daily and daily time scales. They are avenues which feed evidence into national policy- and decision-making processes. Since its establishment, the Centre has made outstanding contributions in the areas of water and land resources management. To name just a few, WLRC has:

  • Generated ample knowledge and demonstrated innovative water and land management practices, which it shared with partners and stakeholders in different forms and avenues. The studies focus on a wide range of topics such as national scale water and land resource assessments, watershed level investigations of water and sediment dynamics, landscape management and ecosystem services, landscape transformation, and climate change impact studies to a variety of stakeholders;
  • Extensively applied and promoted Integrated Landscape Management (ILM) and Integrated Water and Land Resource Management (IWLRM) at watershed/landscape levels and shared the knowledge and experiences;
  • Designed and developed innovative platforms like EthioGIS, MapServer, EthioGIS, LandScale, Exit Strategy, Performance and Sustainability Assessment for Watershed Management
    (ESPAWM) guideline and software;
  • Established state-of-the art knowledge management system on water and land resources, named Water and Land Resource Information System (WALRIS) to support cross-scale policy making, policy dialogue and designing of interventions;
  • Developed Knowledge Management and Information System for Sustainable Land Management (KMIS_SLM) for the National SLMP Programme;
  • Provided community services, technical backstopping and capacity building to staff of stakeholders organizations and ministries whose engagements relate to aspects of water and land
  • Conducted lots of outreach and community engagement activities such as demonstrations, field visits, academic tours, media engagements, and presentations with the aim of facilitating research dissemination, uptake and scaling out proven practices; and
  • Forged strategic partnerships and collaborations with many other like-minded research organizations, universities and funding agencies.