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Desta, Hayal; Lemma, Brook and Stellmacher, Till (2017): Farmers' awareness and perception of Lake Ziway (Ethiopia) and its watershed management. In: Limnologica, Vol. 65: pp. 61-75

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The article examines how heads of farmers' households perceive the socioeconomic benefits of Lake Ziway (Ethiopia), the causes of its current degradation, and the state of land and water use management in its watershed. The investigation was based on in-depth empirical field work including a survey with 635 heads of smallholder farmers' households via interview using semi-structured questionnaires. Further, water abstraction was estimated from three districts that border with the lake. Respondents believe that Lake Ziway provides a number of individual and collective benefits for local communities, private companies and public institution. They stated, however, that the lake is under pressure from the floriculture industry and other investment projects, high population growth and subsequent expansion of settlements and irrigation farms, high applications of agrochemicals, soil erosion, uncontrolled water abstraction, and deforestation in the watershed. The respondents further believe that these activities are degrading the lake water quality, shrinking its water volume and decreasing its fish population. After examining government's efforts to address these activities, the majority of respondents believe that the government role in the whole watershed is weak. This study contributes to better understand the local socio-ecological coherences and the problems Lake Ziway and its watershed are facing. It also provides information regarding long-term sustainable land and water use planning strategies for the lake and management of its watershed, which could also be applied to other lakes in Ethiopia, and beyond.

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