Implementing integrated water resources management (IWRM) can often seem overwhelming given the scale and complexity of the changes needed. This article describes how IWRM is a long and participatory process based on an on-going learning process in Ethiopia. The IWRM pilot project in the Berki watershed (Ethiopia) has shown that IWRM involves changes to the existing system through a step-by-step approach that creates a sense of ownership amongst all stakeholders. The case/project demonstrated that gaining political support at various levels and multi-stakeholder platforms are crucial for the success of the IWRM process. Building stakeholders' capacities (tailored training, awareness workshops and experience sharing activities) also played a significant role in facilitating the process.