The Ethiopian / Netherlands project: Ecosystems for Water, Food and Economic Development aims to strengthen local authorities, development organisations and the private sector in the field of sustainable land and water use and sound environmental planning and management, with the aim to contribute to the sustainable development of the CRV . So far the project has a strong focus on water/ agriculture and over the past few years, the project has developed a sound knowledge base of the problems at stake in the Central Rift Valley (CRV). Major conclusion of the project is that the current way of water and land resources development is not sustainable and will sooner of later result in an environmental and humanitarian crises. One of the main reasons for this deteriorating situation is the surface water extraction for irrigation purposes by smallholders in the upstream areas, resulting in the watershed-wide drop of surface water tables and increased Stalinization of water resources. These changes directly impact the resource productivity of downstream water resources like Lake Ziway and the Bulbula river. Ultimately the drop in surface water will influence livelihood strategies of communities living down streams and reduce the resilience of ecosystems and the biodiversity of lake Abiyata and the national park. There is ample evidence from similar cases in Ethiopia, that the water resources will gradually become saline, will silt up as a result of increased erosion and will become ecologically poor waste lands.