Water to the Capital

Water to the Capital

Ethiopia's Unique Highland Landscape and Climate

Regarding Ethiopia's unique climate in the seasons, with months of heavy downpours over the country's characteristic rugged landscape topography followed by months of blistering sunshine, difficulties naturally arise for the survival of planted saplings. The long prehistoric Nature's evolutionary optimized stability in sheer strength and water absorption found in the original native vegetation is thus often impossible to recreate with a simple planting of fragile young seedlings. Therefore, Ethiopia's neglected indigenous Nature demands knowledge and work before any sign of evident healing of the country's Nature and freshwater conservation. 

Demanding Endeavours to Restore a Lost Nature

Consequently, it is often associated with incredible frustration to recreate Nature's water supply by repairing generations of deep scars inflicted on Nature's lost healthy landscape and biotopes. Therefore, guarding and shielding the fragile native young plants on exposed eroded mountain slopes and devastated high plateaus is demanding and precarious. Instead, sporadically planted young plants will require tender care with irrigation and protection against grazing animals and shade from season months of midday's mercilessly blistering sunshine. This recreation of Nature's shielding functions needs, thus, the devoted work of restoration to regain the guardian effect from a lost indigenous forest with its endemic vegetation of shielding undergrowth.

A landscape deprived of its native shelter needs much
of help to compensate for the lost water and the lack
of the shields from the original mother trees.
Grandiose Waterways in the Landscape

๐‘Š๐‘Ž๐‘ก๐‘’๐‘Ÿ ๐ถ๐‘Ÿ๐‘’๐‘Ž๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘œ๐‘› ๐‘ค๐‘–๐‘กโ„Ž ๐บ๐‘Ÿ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘‘ ๐ต๐‘’๐‘Ž๐‘ข๐‘ก๐‘ฆ

Historical records reveal several practical and aesthetic possibilities for landscape restoration. These options for aesthetic restorations include water management, ground stability, and the most attractively pleasurable recreation paths. Another way of describing these methods for natural conservation is the effectiveness of irrigation when combined with very gentle and beautiful hiking trails above dizzying precipices.

Environmental Friendly
Delightful Paths Among Spring Water
Through these micro canals' associated need for strength and reliability, this need for reinforced waterways coincides with the suitability of dramatically beautiful and safe hiking trails where the steep slopes above or beneath these paths deliver an extraordinary beauty over grand views of often impossible precipitous. In addition, these tiny water canals are perfectly suitable for manufacturing using the historic self-healing Roman concrete.

Picnic and Play for the Young Family

An excellent and cosy invitation to gain an initial practical view of these water harbouring technologies and a comfortable little walk by a lovely promenade to the right after the bridge crossing, shown within the map square [A] at Entoto Kidane Mehret (1). This place also offers an ideal little excursion for the young family on picnics or seeking sporty games. An open grass pitch here provides a breathtaking place just beneath the start of the mountain and an embracing enclosure of a sculptural curved river. However, the picture above does not show the Italian (19) construction at the site but a historical reservoir previously lost and forgotten in a bygone era. Although the water harbouring technology at Entoto Kidane Mehret (1) prevails mostly concealed underground, it is still at the same time alluring for exploration. Nevertheless, this underground construction at Entoto Kidane Mehret is certainly also today intriguing for analyzing its potential for today's civilization.

Entoto Kidane Mehret and its Valley [A]

Apparent and Pleasant Hiking Trails

Welcome to the valley of Entoto Kidane Mehret's settlement (1) and Sanctuary (32), which invites the first exploration of the majestic mountainside. This valley [A] is the gateway to the mountain's southern slope, located just beneath the Sanctuary (32) and, therefore, a perfect starting point for adventures on the mountainside, such as hiking to the rising shoulder or enjoying a cosy picnic at point (19). The valley [A] also connects to several paths for various excursions. Entoto Kidane Mehret's valley [A] offers a taste of the wilderness and a mysterious feeling of unknown grandeur waiting to be explored. At the threshold of this legendary mountain, Nature's hidden enigma still lingers with its alluring mystique, offering dizzying and pristine highland scenes with original landscape drama in grandiose impressions.

The Path to Entoto Kidane Mehret's Valley [A] and the
Italian Water Reservoir (19)
Picnic Care for the Family (19)
The most beautiful and versatile Nature and fascinating places with charming simplicity are often the primaries or family picnics. Still, they can often be challenging to accomplish within the convenience of the whole family's interest. Due to weather conditions, duties and family members' interest in comfort and alluring entertainment, this will require some unique and beautiful characteristics of the picnic's requirements.

19. A suitable choice during the rainy season.
While this site (19) offers this required, convenient and exciting beauty and the fact that the tempests usually follow a bound rhythm, its experience in beautiful, cosy daily hours can be both an appealing and irresistible occurrence. This provided a conscious behaviour to return the short distance to Entoto Kidane Mehret (1) in time before the next thunderstorm.

A. The Character of Entoto Kidane Mehret's Valley
The most necessary for picnics and a candy shop is across the bus stop next to the Entoto Kidane Mehret community (1). The valley's outer borders are simplified in the map by this square [A], including the path to point (19), and serves as a directed and facilitating figure to more easily find points (5)(22), and (37). This beautiful river-dell is located within the valley [A] of Entoto Kidane Mehret (32) and constitutes the beginning of most of the following hiking trails described.

B. The Invitation to the Crossroad of Wilderness

The still, gently upward hike shown within circle (B) includes points (35)(38), and (39) and constitutes both a crossroads of somewhat wild paths and a beautiful rise on a ledge of some metres threshold. These points are located to the circle's right (B) and include the underground Italian fortification (38) at the riverside. Anyway, regardless of the choice of the hiking paths within the loop point (B), all of these will soon contact the continued walk towards higher grounds.

Entoto Kidane Mehret's Bridge Crossing and its Gully

The valley crossing of Entoto Kidane Mehret (1) constitutes a bridge within the valley [A] just some steps downhill of the Sanctuary (32) and further invites a gentle walk to the place for family picnics and games at the Italian reservoir (19), located just to the right by a gently undulated and charmingly curved path. The bridge crossing here is also the natural path for those who want a more dramatic hike towards the high plateau by the first passing point (37), just a few steps upward on the left side after the bridge crossing. Thus, the traditional bridge located within the valley [A] invites this glen underneath Entoto Kidane Mehret Church (32) and further continues as a river-dell beneath this Sanctuary (32) with beautiful sceneries while the brook passes by. This brook within the valley [A] characterizes the views of the dramatic landscape and cliff formations of the uphill trails. Above the waterfall at loop (B), this brook, with its towering canyon, is an excellent assistant for orientation for most hiking paths up to the high plateau.

The Enchanting Valley of Entoto Kidane Mehret

With this dramatically graceful and sculptural valley just below Entoto Kidane Mehret (1), this valley [A] constitutes a crossroad for many very completely enchanting choices of adventures or tranquil family picnics. Hence, the valley's initial paths provide cosy and engaging experiences above its gully and river in stunning formations and complete contact. Thereby, this valley [A], with its inviting river-dell of paths-ways and bridge crossing, this landscape entices hiking, highland baths or sports games but also delivers a truly cosy and comfortable inspiration of this river-dell. Here, any visitor becomes spiritually delighted with a tickling will to remain in harmony and fully engulf its beauty, and here, waiting in the pleasure of sculptural shape or following the feeling of intriguing expectation of future adventures towards the mountain's high plateau at the map loop (14).

The Cautious Choice for the Young Family

The Italians established an extensive reservoir to provide the Capital with water during the occupation. This mountain reservoir (underground water technology) has lost some importance in favour of more significant catchment dams. However, due to the valley [A]'s very gentle terrain and pleasant location near Entoto Kidane Mehret (1), it's an excellent place for young families when the usually few hours of sunshine offer cosy picnics even during the regular rainy season. Hence, for visitors seeking a relaxing environment with comfort and beauty within a very convenient distance, it's appropriate to enjoy this site during pleasant and sunny day hours by its beautifully undulated promenade within a delightful valley and enchantingly sculptural glen. The gentle path that reaches the Italian-built spring water facility (19) is within these requirements and, therefore, an excellent choice for most activities and nature interests. Entoto Kidane Mehret's inhabitants bring their household water from this source. Thus, the company is apparent by playing with children and people fetching quantities of water to their homes.

๐“๐ก๐ž V๐š๐ฅ๐ฎ๐š๐›๐ฅ๐ž K๐ง๐จ๐ฐ๐ฅ๐ž๐๐ ๐ž ๐จ๐Ÿ A๐ง๐ญ๐ข๐ช๐ฎ๐ข๐ญ๐ฒ

๐€๐ช๐ฎ๐ข๐Ÿ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ญ๐ž๐œ๐ก๐ง๐จ๐ฅ๐จ๐ ๐ฒ 

Knowing these natural aquifers and their synergies with water technologies is antiquity's highly valued historical legacy. In their context, they are a well-known concept that helps to understand that a mighty mountain massif that receives abundant and regular precipitation with chilly temperatures also provides the conditions for harbouring this water.  The Forgotten Sciences from Antiquity

๐”๐ง๐๐ž๐ซ๐ ๐ซ๐จ๐ฎ๐ง๐ ๐‘๐ž๐ฌ๐ž๐ซ๐ฏ๐จ๐ข๐ซ๐ฌ
These historically and very early developed technical and geological-based methods for managing and saving enormous amounts of water that are often technically complex and aesthetically grandiose. The methods of this water technology vary significantly between different cultures and continents. Still, in the legacy of history, they are the basis of ancient civilizations' most essential and original technological achievements. However, the quality and quantity of water depend on a well-covered landscape of healthy native vegetation: Videos: Soil Erosion Demo  Videos: Planting Saplings. Videos: Planting Technology

  ๐“he ๐“๐จ๐ซ๐ซ๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐ข๐š๐ฅ ๐๐ซ๐ž๐œ๐ข๐ฉ๐ข๐ญ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง

These annual recurring floods often create severe erosion, easily observed in the water running through Addis Ababa in connection with the rainy seasons. These torrential floods produce life-threatening situations, which are greatly strengthened by the fact that the rock massif is regularly deprived of vegetation and, therefore, unable to slow down the water masses speeding up downwards the slopes of the rock. Furthermore, these torrential rainwater quantities entail difficulties with powerful downpours during rainy periods and the following imminent risks of erosion near settlements.

The Fundamental Creation Of Drinking Water:
The Torrential Rains and Erosion
๐“๐ก๐ž ๐…๐จ๐ซ๐œ๐ž๐ฌ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐„๐ซ๐จ๐ฌ๐ข๐จ๐ง
*Erosion: Because there is no ground cover of native plants in the planted eucalyptus forest, the only thing to hold the soil is the sporadic occurring roots of these Australian trees. The soil-holding capacity of Eucalyptus is, therefore, very moderate compared with the trees initially covering the slopes of Entoto. This lack of undergrowth and native trees causes severe erosion, easily observed in the water running through Addis in connection with the rainy seasons.

๐ƒ๐ž๐ฏ๐š๐ฌ๐ญ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐‚๐จ๐ง๐ฌ๐ž๐ช๐ฎ๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ž๐ฌ.
These accumulated water masses rushed along the rock sides with tremendous power and carved massive forces into the bare earth's crust. This was while earlier millennium-accumulated soil layers had this abundant undergrowth protection, including strong multi-branched roots from originally forested slopes.

*Flooding: During a long time on Entoto, every leaf and every branch that has fallen to the ground is collected by people, whereas in a natural forest, a process of decomposing organic material from leaves, wood, roots, etc. is left naturally on the soil, well supported by native undergrowth. Thus, the organic matter gets its time to improve the soil structure, leading to a higher infiltration rate and a much better water storage capacity.

Ethiopia's Historic Waterways

The Mountain and its Historical Water
Entoto Natural Park and its Historical Water.
This topographical configuration of Entoto Natural Park's mountain crest has the curious result that two raindrops that simultaneously moist the soil of Entoto's mountain crest, only a centimetre apart, will have quite different destinies. After a long journey through the River Nile, one waterway will reach the Mediterranean Sea. In contrast, the other watershed will pass through Addis Ababa, eventually evaporating in the Danakil Desert, as the Awash River never reaches the sea.

The Ethiopian Highland is the Legendary Water Provider.
However, this primary Ethiopian source of the Nile River is only one of several Ethiopian rivers that contribute to the total water in the Nile. Consequently, the total amount of water delivered from the Ethiopian highlands to the Nile is clearly more than only the water from the Blue Nile, the fundamental and historical source of the legendary Nile River.

๐•๐ž๐ ๐ž๐ญ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ข๐ญ๐ฌ ๐๐ซ๐จ๐ญ๐ž๐œ๐ญ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž ๐ˆ๐ฆ๐ฉ๐จ๐ซ๐ญ๐š๐ง๐œ๐ž

Heavy rains, which would otherwise be appreciated as a significant asset worldwide, are often becoming a frequent problem due to a substantial lack of knowledge in environmental science. This otherwise abundant rainfall has historically often, instead periodically, caused a burdensome environment and health problems in many places around the populated part of the world. The cause of these disastrous occasions is usually when these rain forces are all too often combined with massive illegal or obscure logging of mountain slopes and excessive over-use of pasture from farms.

Nature's Fundamental Reinforcement

This tangled network of indigenous vegetation, with its reinforcements of both shallow, creates an optimized strength delivered from the past aeons of evolution. This network of plants and their deep, widespread roots of native trees creates tremendous stability for soil layers - with it, the consequent resistance to erosion - and constitutes a giant creator and spring water for natural groundwater reservoirs in the rock massif.

Nature's Lost Original Armour

Requirements: The Indigenous Trees' Root-web  

The Environment, Culture and Prosperity
Fundamental Reinforcement: Endemic Trees & Plants.
With its reinforcements of shallow and deep roots, this tangled network of indigenous vegetation creates an optimized evolutionarily optimized strength delivered from the past aeons. This network of plants and their deep, widespread roots of native trees creates tremendous stability for soil layers - with it, the consequent resistance to erosion - and constitutes a giant creator and spring water for natural groundwater reservoirs in the rock massif.

Natural Sciences Provide the Tools to Repair the Original Nature.
This overuse of the natural forest provides a historical and international cultural habit that follows a historical pattern. Due to the historical lack of resources, the population began harvesting the timber of natural vegetation, including its overwhelming importance as soil reinforcement by native roots with the soil and organisms in symbiosis. 

Natural and Clean Water with Native Nature

The consequence of ignoring natural sciences within Nature is grave because this groundwater phenomenon is of fundamental importance for any population to create their future health or prosperity. The vegetation and soil layers' accumulating effect is crucial as both a water purifying filter and the only source of distribution of purified water to the natural underground reservoirs. To interfere with this purifying and protective vegetation, soil layers and their combined connection of ancient synergy is thus a human habit worldwide.

๐–๐š๐ฌ๐ญ๐ž๐ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐‹๐จ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐†๐ซ๐จ๐ฎ๐ง๐๐ฐ๐š๐ญ๐ž๐ซ

Historically, these soil layers with undergrowth would block the water's possibility to speed downhill and, thus, harmonically gather the flow into slow motion and mountain-absorbing units. Unconditionally, this past harvest of native forest exposes and lays bare the soft soil layers, allowing the water forces to speed up and form devastating torrential powers. With efficiency, these mighty water masses tear up the slopes in deep furrows and simply drill many meters into the river's inflows. Finally, it completes its purpose as a natural soil layer by filtering and absorbing these water masses and passing them on to deep-lying mountain chambers. These are the naturally geological water reservoirs with their underground rock branches and natural aquifers of the mountain massif.

The Restoration of Ethiopia's

Nature For Water and Health

The Eucalyptus Problem
Eucalyptus Tree's Elimination of the Groundwater

The Eucalyptus Tree and its Tactical Toxicity
A chemical component with an intricate competition-oriented toxic defence system in the leaves and roots of Eucalyptus trees prevents the growth of other trees and herbs. This chemical component leads to a mono-culture with Eucalyptus as the only tree species and eventually no ground cover. This chemical component causes severe erosion, easily observed in the water running through Addis, connected with the rainy seasons.
The Environmental danger of the Eucalyptus tree.  
Due to these shortcomings in the water-preserving capacity of the Eucalyptus plantation, it cannot counterbalance the uneven distribution of rain. The result is often torrential flooding in the down-slope areas, in this case, the northern district of Addis Ababa. In August 1994, it created a fatal danger because of overwhelming and sudden flooding.

The Healing Capacity of Native Forest

The importance of careful research regarding knowledge in natural science is here, given an excellent and evident example before any foreign species is regarded as possible for an introduction into an unfamiliar and vulnerable habitat. The natural health and fertile beauty of this indigenous Juniper forest (40) illuminate the healing ability of a native forest and the severe Nature and habitat destruction that occurred at the introduction of the Eucalyptus tree. However, much work has been done to re-form an upper soil layer with a protective undergrowth. It would be a very significant surprise to receive information about higher groundwater and a new generation of these protective indigenous trees, which still grow in a magical, graceful and appealing landscape. 

๐€ ๐‹๐ž๐ ๐š๐œ๐ฒ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ˆ๐ ๐ง๐จ๐ซ๐š๐ง๐œ๐ž

๐€๐ช๐ฎ๐ข๐Ÿ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐๐ž๐ฆ๐š๐ง๐๐ฌ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐€๐œ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง๐ฌ

Due to the history of foreign trees' toxification of the ground, uncontrolled erosion appears in the landscape's slopes. Consequently, the mountain massifs lose their capacity to provide civilization or minor settlements with enough purified water. Hence, the highland does not retain abundant historical water resources, thus devastatingly reducing the water delivered to societies by these aquifers. Furthermore, the dramatically reduced water that finally drips into these hidden rock chambers (aquifers) is without the previous purifying and filtering effect from healthy and undisturbed soil and vegetation, leading to groundwater of far lower quantity and quality. The erosion's consequence and the following demands of effort are evident daily matters for the population. Thus, the importance of inhabitants' health prevails as the highest priority, thereby giving a background to promoting the crucial delivery of this water-preserving water to these natural reservoirs (aquifers).

Grandiose Constructions of the Roman Empire
The Lost Secrets of Antiquity

The Environment and Human Future
with the Lost Knowledge from Antiquity

Although this Italian ruin was built in today's decaying concrete, the renovation of this mountain fortress (38) within the map loop (B) can stimulate an excellent foundation for a historical discovery of the lost recipe for Roman concrete. Although this historical concrete's millennia-old secrets still prevail as a crucial investigation of international laboratories, its deepest secrets persist. This potential rediscovery of ancient concrete with this lost high technology and historical treasure from antiquity would offer a scientific study of Roman technology within an educational project.

A Beautiful Memory that Attracts 

To Endeavour in Protection, Science and Art

In the fathers' near memories, it's still spoken with glowing passion and warmth among the residents about Entoto's mighty waterways. This bright memory is about when the water level was reasonable after the rainy season, standing one metre higher in Entoto's streams and its enchanting nature rock baths. It is thus quite close to the time when Entoto's mountain massif and its canyons could carry significantly higher water quantity and, therefore, supply the population in the Capital with fresh water to a much greater extent.

40. The Wild and Fertile Forest from the Ancient Era

This original forest is captivatingly wild and consists of more than 50-year-old indigenous Juniperus procera trees. This native forest provides a unique contact to original Nature with somewhat muscular exotic, primaeval lushness and a great surprise beyond what a visitor would expect in proximity to the Capital. This native Juniper woodland (40) - (16) is massive in appearance and stunning in vitality, with a perfect, lush and dense undergrowth.


Inside Ethiopia, Tours invites you to be part of an unforgettable experience in Entoto Natural Park. We will meet in our office, located in Kazanchis (just in front of the UNECA back entrance), and our guide will accompany you in the local taxis up to the mountain. This is an excellent opportunity for you to experience Ethiopian commuting. 

Once we arrive on Entoto Mountain, where the capital city was first founded in 1886, you will undoubtedly feel like having mentholated topical ointment. Yes, we are not big fans of the Eucalyptus tree either! That is why we want to promote indigenous seedling planting in Ethiopia by contributing to the Ethiopian Green Legacy.


Where do you plan to make your mark?

The Ethiopian Heritage Trustee Association is working to plant more than 50,000 indigenous saplings in Entoto Natural Park and Zego Kebele Association in Ankober District to cover exposed areas.
  Organizations: Associations: Educational institutions: All those who love Nature, together with our association, let's build a country with suitable air by planting saplings. Let's plant indigenous saplings together.

As we believe, we are ready and waiting for you this year. The Ethiopian Heritage Trustee Association has planted native saplings in place of Eucalyptus trees with partner organizations and members in the Entoto Natural Park. He tells you that this year, come and plant saplings together to protect the environment. For more information:

๐Ÿ“ž Call +251 Ethiopia  

011-5-15-88-02/ 09-22-97-27-46

Ethiopian Heritage Trust - Plantation of Seedlings

Ethiopian Heritage Trust - Plantation of Seedlings



Useful trees and shrubs for Ethiopia:

Identification, Propagation and

 Management for 17 Agroclimatic Zones

Azene Bekele-Tesemma

Edited by
Bo Tengnรคs, Ensermu Kelbesa, Sebsibe Demissew and Patrick Maundu

The contents of this handbook may be reproduced without special permission. However, acknowledgement of the source is requested. The photographers and artists concerned must be contacted for the reproduction of illustrations. The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of World Agroforestry Centre.



The total amount you donate will be used in Ethiopia.
The Trust is registered with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs for Gift Aid.


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