Citizen science in community-based watershed management: an institutional analysis in Ethiopia

The engagement of communities (non-scientists) in the collection of reliable hydrometeorological data (a citizen science approach) has the potential to address part of the data gaps in Ethiopia. Due to the high cost of establishing and maintaining gauging stations, hydrometeorological monitoring in the country tends to focus on large river basins (> 1,000 km2) with little or no consideration of small watersheds (< 100 km2). However, hydrologic data from small watersheds are critical for two main reasons: (i) measure the impacts of watershed management interventions on water resources; and (ii) inform local development plans, such as small- and micro-scale irrigation development. Therefore, this paper examines the institutional arrangements for hydrometeorological monitoring and the practices followed by the Basin Development Authority and National Meteorology Agency in Ethiopia.