Haramaya University College of Natural and Computational Sciences (CNCS) and Institute of Technology (IoT) hosted a National Conference on Water Use, Recyclability and Treatment Technologies from 03- 04 June, 2016 at the Resource Center.

Dr. Getachew Abebe, Dean of CNCS, in his welcoming remark gave a message on behalf of the organizers and noted that water is the source of life on earth and “Currently, access to safe drinking water and sanitation is a huge concern of humanity and it has also been recognized as a human right issue, that means we must ensure that every person has access to it.”

He also remarked that research in the areas of water supply, water pollution management and water treatment is highly significant “to foster access to clean drinking water and sanitation”. Dr. Getachew stated that conferences like this are highly significant and will pave the way “for collaborating and harmonious efforts in research and development to address issues related to access to clean water and sanitation in the nation as a whole”.

The opening speech was delivered by Prof. Nigussie Dechassa, Vice-President for Academic Affairs. The Vice-President thanked the organizers and sponsors for making it possible to have the opportunity to discuss on and address issues of water resource management and treatment technologies. He said, “Ethiopia is a nation endowed with high water potential in terms of underground water, rainfall water as well as lakes and rivers. However, paradoxically it is also a country that suffers most from water deficiency be it as potable water for drinking, irrigation water for crop production as well as sanitation.” He cited this as an indication for the lack of researches on water resource and proper utilization. “Such a conference could have been conducted at no better time than now when the periodic and record drought as a result of climate change such as in the form of El Nino is doing havoc to our country and many countries in Africa,” said Prof. Nigussie.

Nobel Prize award winner on environment, Dr. Tewoldebirhan G/Egziabher, expressed his delight to have been invited to this national conference that addresses a pertinent theme to the present time of the country. “In an era of fast global warming and consequent climate change, it is technological innovations that can help us adopt quickly,” said Dr. Tewoldebirhan, “Ethiopia is very seriously implementing its climate resilient green economy strategy to make it a country of middle income status with a zero net greenhouse emission by 2025.”

Director for Awash Basin Authority, Mr. Getachew Gizaw thanked the stakeholders for their diligent hard work and said, “Awash Basin is one of the 12 basins that the country has, having the lions share in the country’s development. It has more than 200,000 hectares of development work with more than 10,000 industries; it is also home to one-fifth the country’s total populace.”

Mr. Getachew urged to change the ways of the old and replace them with new technological innovations and new methods to reduce and resist the pressure that is being put on water resources as a result of urbanization, land degradation and population growth.

He stressed the vitality of water resource management and the role higher educational institutions play in this regard. He pointed out that Haramaya University has been conducting researches and projects to alleviate the water problem the area is facing in collaboration with the Authority. He also invited other universities to follow in HU’s footsteps and “promise that Awash Basin Authority would help and stand with organizations and institutions in their future endeavors.”

Plenary lecture and paper presentation sessions were held; and researchers, scientists and staff members of the university attended the conference. From the 41 papers that were submitted, 20 were selected for oral presentation after they were reviewed by a technical committee.

Haramaya University organized this national conference in collaboration with Awash Basin Authority, Dire Dawa University, Ministry of Science and Technology.