Institutional Collaboration towards Sustainability of Surface Water Quality: The Case of Akaki River, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


The problem of rivers particularly in the context of governance and management is one of the preeminent problems in the contemporary era. The causes of the urban river resource crisis emerge from different factors. The current river crisis has been mainly caused not just by a lack of technology but also by a failure in the governance structures. In the same way, the problem of weak cross-sectoral collaboration for the governance of rivers is one of the concerns in Addis Ababa. Akaki River is facing serious deterioration due to many factors. It is the most polluted river due to it surrounded by industries. The main objective of this thesis was to assess the existing practice of responsible institutions' collaboration towards sustainable water quality of Akaki River and to investigate challenges affecting the successful collaboration of responsible government institutions. A mixed type of research method with a descriptive case study approach was employed. Both primary and secondary data were used for this research and data were collected through questionnaires, key informant interviews, and document analysis. The research assessed the existing policy and regulatory frameworks for surface water quality management and existing practices of responsible governmental institutions towards the water quality of Akaki River. Based on the findings the existing collaboration among responsible institutions is very problematic. Lack of regular communication among institutions, lack of integrated planning, lack of shared governance and joint decision making practice, lack of clear understanding of roles and responsibilities, lack of adequate human and financial resources and lack of trust between collaborators institutions were the main problems that were identified. The challenges affecting their collaborative effort for the management of Akaki River are the situation-specific, institutional, process-related, and social context. Therefore, a collaborative effort of all responsible institutions is highly needed to minimize and control the water quality problem of the Akaki River. Follow-up and monitoring of the water quality of the river is of utmost importance. Such regular follow-up is also required for the sources that discharge into it. In relation to this, institutional capacity in laboratory facilities and technical workforce are areas that need focus. Together with supportive legislation for protecting water quality, capacity building in these aspects will ultimately bring about improvement of the water quality of Akaki River. There is a need for the city of Addis Ababa to plan for and manage its water resources holistically and also different sectors in government have to work together to protect river systems.The government should fill the gap in policy and legal frameworks in order to address the water pollution problem effectively. It should also define clear roles and responsibilities to each institution with a cosnsistent and clear organizational structure.



Collaboration, Water Quality, Pollution, Environmental Management, Institutions