Farmers’ vulnerability to climate change-induced water poverty in spatially different agro-ecological areas of northwest Ethiopia

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

This study assessed the vulnerability levels of farmers to water poverty in spatially different agro-ecological areas of northwest Ethiopia, where severe climate change risks exist. Data were collected from 525 randomly selected rural households in dega (highland), woyna-dega (midland) and kola (lowland) agro-ecological zones using questionnaires. This study also used secondary meteorological data. Rural households' exposure and vulnerability levels were analyzed using simple regression, standardized precipitation index, drought intensity and climate vulnerability index (CVI). The study also used the United Nations Development Program's (UNDP's) equation to measure vulnerability differential across agro-ecologies. The indicators were normalized as indices by considering functional relationships of indicators with vulnerability. Composite vulnerability indices were calculated using the equal weighting method. The result indicates that households in kola agro-ecology were found to be more exposed and vulnerable (0.62 score) to climate change-induced water poverty than those households in woyna-dega (0.49) and dega (0.30 score). The assessment of vulnerability at the appropriate spatial scale is a key step in designing context-specific adaptation responses that are effective in addressing the needs of the poor people who reside in different agro-ecological settings.

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