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REPORT: Impact of Climate Change on Water Resources, Agriculture and Food Security in the Ethiopian Rift Valley: Risk Assessment and Adaptation Strategies for Sustainable Ecosystem Services

Water availability, human health, food production and economic livelihoods in the densely populated Upper Awash Basin and central Rift Valley of Ethiopia are intrinsically linked. Surface water resources in this area of central Ethiopia face intense competition between agricultural and non-agricultural uses, and groundwater resources in this region are of poor quality for both food production and human consumption (containing high levels of fluoride, arsenic and other toxic naturally-occurring contaminants). The increased prevalence of drought as a result of climate change has the potential to amplify risks to human health by shifting reliance from scarce surface water to groundwater, which could affect the long-term health impacts of rural communities exposed to elevated levels of toxic elements in groundwater. Moreover, crop production could suffer from increased reliance on marginal quality water for irrigation.

This study, Impact of Climate Change on Water Resources, Agriculture and Food Security in the Ethiopian Rift Valley: Risk Assessment and Adaptation Strategies for Sustainable Ecosystem Services, investigates the linkages between climate change, water resource quality and availability, agricultural productivity, food security and livelihoods in the Main Ethiopian Rift, and informs decision-makers how adaptation to climate change impacts on water resources and agriculture might be enhanced.

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This project and publication has been produced as part of the START call for research on the theme of ‘Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security’ in Africa, with an emphasis on the sustainability of ecosystem services in Africa. Objectives of this call are to commission high quality, independent, policy-relevant and credible research to support policy making for sustainable development in the region, to build the capacities of regional research partners to conduct high level research and to create a platform for knowledge sharing at the regional level. The funding has been provided by US National Science Foundation, Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and CDKN.

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Research call information: Regional Research Call – Africa

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