Abaya Lake in southern Ethiopia invaded by water hyacinth


Melat Mulugeta

Eichhornia crassipes, commonly known as water hyacinth, is one of the world’s most invasive fast-growing and formidable aquatic weed. Due to its rapid reproductive rate and complex root structures, it forms dense interlocking mats that grow exponentially with the potential to develop twice their original size in just 7 days. It compromises aquatic life and all living activities related to fresh water. In Ethiopia, the species is now present in the lowlands of Illubabor, in the Lake Tana area, and in the Rift Valley. The most probable entry seems to be upper the Nile swamps.

The spreading was first noticed on Lake Tana in 2011. Despite manual and machine-based harvesting, the administration is still struggling to contain the rapid invasion. Currently, the Tana Georgis peninsula blocks the weed from spreading to the South Side. Nowadays, the weed has spread to Lake Abaya, a lake in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region of Ethiopia.