Soil and water conservation (SWC) practices have been carried out to solve land degradation problems in Ethiopia since the last 3 decades. Technical evaluation of the implemented SWC structures is essential for effectiveness and sustainability of the measures. Therefore, the objective of this study was to identify and evaluate the technical quality of constructed physical SWC structures in Maego watershed, Ethiopia. The performance of the structures was evaluated based on technical standards set by Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture. Parallel transect walk method was used to measure the dimensions of the structures. The major types of SWC structures constructed in the study watershed are stone bund, hillside terrace, bench terrace, stone bund/hillside terrace + trench and gabion check dams. Some of the structures, especially the old ones which are found on the uncultivated land did not meet the site specific width and height standards. Furthermore, some of the spacing of SWC structures was not set depending on the desired vertical intervals/slope. With similar biophysical features of the watershed, some of the structures were narrowly spaced and some others were spaced greater than the standard. Most of the structures, especially the old ones are filled by sediment deposition. The main reasons for the failure to achieve the technical quality based on the technical standards were knowledge and skill gaps, free grazing and more attention was given to coverage areas rather than technical quality at the beginning of the watershed treatment. Furthermore, there is no maintenance of the structures on the communal lands. Therefore, awareness creation for the local community and capacity building about layout of structures for the local technical leaders should be given. Moreover, more attention should be given to technical quality rather than coverage area of SWC structures.
Key words: Soil and water conservation, technical evaluation, Maego watershed.