In August 2019, at the University of Western Australia, Dr Ana Manero Ruiz gave a three-minute presentation on her equity and water governance research, which is based on the ACIAR funded Africa irrigation project. A video of the presentation can be viewed here.
Exploring the Head versus Tail‐End Dichotomy on Yield and Farm Incomes in Smallholder Irrigation Schemes in Tanzania (2019)
In most low‐technology, smallholder irrigation schemes, no accurate measures of physical water supply are available. This study proposes a multidimensional approach where various water‐related factors are evaluated in conjunction with socioeconomic and farm variables to understand their effects on crop yields and incomes. Based on two smallholder irrigation schemes in southern Tanzania, this study found that various water factors are critical for crop yields, but less so for incomes from irrigated crops. The results of this study suggest that water supply within smallholder schemes is better understood through its multiple aspects, rather than limited to the unidimensional head versus tail‐end dichotomy. Link
The dynamics of the relationship between household decision-making and farm household income in small-scale irrigation schemes in southern Africa (2019)
Irrigation has been promoted as a strategy to reduce poverty and improve livelihoods in southern Africa. Households’ livelihood strategies within small-scale irrigation schemes have become increasingly complex and diversified. Strategies consist of farm income from rain-fed and irrigated cropping as well as livestock and an increasing dependence on off-farm income. The success of these strategies depends on the household’s ability to make decisions about how to utilize its’ financial, labour, land and water resources. This study explores the dynamics of decision-making in households’ on-farm household income within six small-scale irrigation schemes, across three southern African countries. We found strong support for the notion that decision-making dynamics strongly influence total household income. Households make trade-offs between irrigation, dryland, livestock and off-farm work when they allocate their labour resources to maximize household income; as opposed to maximizing the income from any individual component of their livelihood strategy, such as irrigation. Combined with the impact of the small plot size of irrigated land, this is likely to result in sub-optimal benefits from expensive investments in irrigation infrastructure. Policy-makers must consider this when developing and implementing new policies. Link
Understanding agricultural water management in a historical context using a socioeconomic and biophysical framework (2019)
While the earliest irrigation societies were relatively simple in their technical and social structures, they represent complex socioecological systems where human activities interact with the biophysical environment. Actions taken within any part of the system affect other parts, often with detrimental environmental impact. In this paper, we propose an integrated framework that explains how the socioeconomic and biophysical factors influence the development of agricultural water management (AWM). We argue that the failure of AWM developments across time and space, and within any stage of complexity, is a consequence of a lack of understanding of the interconnectedness within these complex systems and a lack of political will to acknowledge and investigate the failure, which allows both positive and negative effects to influence decision-making. Link
Collaborative solutions for complex problems in Southern Africa (2019)
The Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-water), and the International Water Resource Association jointly published the joint Smart Water Management (SWM) Case Study Report. This report highlights case studies and SWM projects from around the world. The report provides an in depth look at how these were implemented, the enabling factors and potential barriers faced, and how SWM can assist with achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Based on cross case analysis, the report looks at the potential for replication and scalability, and provides policy recommendations to assist decision-makers with supporting future SWM implementation. Chapter 2 on Smart Water Management Case Studies includes in section 2.8 Tanzania, Mozambique and Zimbabwe: SWM for transforming smallholder irrigation into profitable and self-sustaining systems (page 330) a comprehensive case study on this research work. Link
A guide to ‘Transforming smallholder irrigation schemes in Africa’ (2018)
This publication is based on this research is meant as a guide to help farmers become more profitable and sustainable. Across Africa, smallholder irrigation schemes have performed poorly, leading to calls for their ‘revitalisation’, ‘reoperation’ or ‘rehabilitation’. The authors present knowledge generated through four years of research intervention at six irrigation schemes in Mozambique, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, and their understanding of what has worked to turn five of into successful enterprises. A summary of the best advice on good practices needed for more sustainable irrigation is presented. Each intervention can be considered alone, although a number of different complementary interventions are usually required to achieve better socioeconomic and environmental outcomes. Link
International Journal of Water Resources Development (IJWRD) Special Volume 33, 2017 – The productivity and profitability of small-scale communal irrigation systems in South-eastern Africa
The IJWRD special edition includes 11 project related papers that explore the challenges of increasing irrigation productivity in a world with growing demand for food based on scarce water supplies.
ICRISAT story on the scaling up of research results from our project and ZIMCLIFS, both funded by ACIAR. (2016)
The influence of the ACIAR supported research is obvious and there is an emphasis on helping the Zimbabwean Government agencies develop a Green Climate Fund project.
Project partner ICRISAT newsletter article commenting on the Harare workshop where our African project made major contributions: Integrated approach for irrigation development in Zimbabwe. Download the newsletter
Project Number: FSC-2013-006 Project Baseline Report. "Increasing irrigation water productivity in Mozambique, Tanzania and Zimbabwe through on-farm monitoring, adaptive management and agricultural innovation& platforms". Download the Baseline Report (pdf, 2.8 MB)
The 4th International Commission of Irrigation and Drainage (ICID) African Regional Conference was held in Aswan in Egypt from 26 to 28 April 2016:
ICID is the leading global organisations focusing on engineering aspects of water and drainage issues. ICID is increasingly become aware of the important of non-engineering aspects of irrigation development and management which was clearly evident at this meeting. Dr Henning Bjornlund attended the conference and presented two papers produced on the basis of the ACIAR project. These two papers made a significant contribution to the conference by illustrating the important and potential of combining technological and non-technological approaches to improving the productivity and profitability of irrigation schemes both in the development and implementation phases. The two papers were presented under the food security theme. The two papers were:
Catchment and Learning Symposium project presentations (2016)
In Tanzania, project leader Dr Makarius Mdemu and ground water advisor Prof Japhet Kashaigili presented project findings at a Catchment and Learning Symposium, held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania 5-6 May 2016. The symposium was organised by WWF Tanzania in collaboration with partners. The aim was to share and reflect on the opportunities and challenges associated with catchment governance – with an emphasis on effective or emerging approaches from both within and outside of Tanzania.
Effective management of water resources is vital to sustainable development. However, implementation of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) policy and legislation continues to struggle throughout Tanzania and Africa at large. WWF-Tanzania has considerable experience with supporting the development of the Ruaha River catchment management through their Sustainable Water Access, Use and Management (SWAUM) programme. SWAUM aims to address the complexity inherent in catchment management through multi-stakeholder social learning and places ‘integration’ at the heart of water resources use and management.