The Water and Land Resource Centre Project

WLRC water land ethiopia
Six model learning watersheds have been established in the Abbay Basin (Blue Nile) to serve as live learning platforms where lessons can be drived. Photo: WLRC


The Water and Land Resource Centre (WLRC) Project concerns two transboundary river basins in the Horn of Africa and East Africa: the Blue Nile/Eastern Nile Basin in Ethiopia, and the Ewaso Ng’iro Basin in Kenya/Somalia. In these river basins, negotiations and decision-making on transboundary and trans-contextual hydropolitics are extremely challenging and often stall due to uneven political and economic power among the parties involved. WLRCs aim to help overcome these obstacles by facilitating evidence-informed negotiation and knowledge-based diplomacy, ultimately contributing to sustainable water and land governance.

blue nile
Photo: Blue Nile Falls by Giustino/Wikimedia Commons

Project approach

The project is designed to systematically collect, integrate, and share data that are otherwise highly fragmented, incomplete, or not available at all. Indeed, cross-sectoral and cross-scale knowledge generation and dissemination are essential preconditions for integrated regional management of water resources and resulting sustainable use of water and land.

Examples of homestead initiatives by two farmers in Debre Mewi, Ethiopia Photo: WLRC


Since 2011, CDE and its local partners have worked to establish two WLRCs in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, and Nanyuki, Kenya, each with a different status. The WLRC in Ethiopia is a fully-fledged centre, while the WLRC in Kenya is a project housed at the Centre for Training and Integrated Research in Arid and Semi-arid Lands Development (CETRAD). Both WLRCs have established rich data and information repositories, produced tailor-made products for various stakeholder groups, and implemented activities on the ground. Both have been consolidated institutionally and now serve as knowledge platforms for cross-scale policy dialogue, learning, informed action, and improved decision-making on water and land management and governance.

Duration: 2011 – 2013 (Phase I), 2013 – 2015 (Phase II), 2016 – 2018 (Phase III)

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