A strong evidence base is the backbone of our operations in communications, trade, investment and consultancy. We gain this knowledge from our own research, thought leaders, research institutions and other key sources of information. We stay abreast of developments in sustainability and industry innovation to keep our network members well informed. Click on categories to see a full list of our thematic areas.
Mapping Water Governance Results
The GWP network delivers results and this month we launch an online, interactive map showing how we have contributed to improving water resources management over the years. You can use several filters to see the results according to different categories.
Water insecurity keeps hundreds of millions of people in poverty. It hampers human development and economic growth, and since 2012 the water crisis has been continuously listed among the top five global risks in the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report.
“In contrast, the map we offer you to dive into, tells a different story: one where water, when managed well, is an enabler of inclusive, sustainable growth, and a solution to many of the challenges of sustainable development, from achieving food and energy security to alleviating poverty, promoting equitable societies, reducing disaster risk, and combating climate change” explains GWP Resource Mobilisation and Partnership Manager Nicolas Delaunay.
Explore the Results
Behind the many dots on the map are stories where a new water policy, a national adaptation plan, a transboundary management agreement, an investment plan or strategy, a regional planning framework, strengthened legislation or institutional reform led to stronger water governance.
“This is a condition sine qua non to ensure real development and socioeconomic benefits through increased investment in appropriate infrastructure, empowerment of marginalised groups and more sustainable use of resources, across many of the most vulnerable countries, regions, water basins”, says Delaunay.
With the overall vision of achieving water security and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), GWP supports countries to advance governance and management of water resources for sustainable and equitable development.
In the little over 20 years since GWP was founded, the network has successfully influenced more than 400 outcomes that have contributed to improved water governance. These results are the most demonstrable illustration of GWP's achievements and progress in reaching the vision of water security through the incorporation of IWRM and water governance.
The map can be searched through filtered results - global, regional & transboundary river basins, and country – and by key pillars of IWRM and themes. It also responsive and adapats to all devices. The content will be updated continously.
OPIC Helps Farmers Flourish with Access to Water
Water is essential to life. Water is also essential to agriculture.Access to water has a crucial impact on farming practices and food production. In many countries where Feed the Future works, smallholder farmers struggle with the limited availability of water and are dependent on a generous rainy season. If the rains come late or only sporadically, farmers see little to no crop yields, and the community is left with food shortages. The unavailability of water also limits farmers’ ability to practice subsistence agriculture that can provide food all year round.
To solve this problem, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), a Feed the Future interagency partner, is developing innovative approaches to increase water access by partnering with private companies that can reach the world’s most vulnerable farmers.
In 2011, OPIC provided a $4.75 million loan to the Participatory Microfinance Group in Africa (PAMIGA), an impact investment microfinance institution. PAMIGA’s microfinance facilities offer loans to farmers in countries such as Kenya and Tanzania so that they can extend their agricultural activities throughout the dry season.
PAMIGA is providing both capital and technical trainings to individual farmers in water-insecure communities. This enables them to buy and implement irrigation systems on their land so farmers can grow crops throughout the year. It also drives up the profitability of agriculture, as farmers produce more and sell their goods during the dry season at up to five times the price they would have fetched during the rainy season. The loans are expected to reach almost 100,000 farmers.
Irrigation systems, and the knowledge to implement and operate them, are also yielding incredible benefits to communities that rely on agriculture for income and nutrition. In Tanzania, farmers supported by PAMIGA are helping to combat chronic undernutrition, the largest contributor to mortality for children under five. Communities are increasing the availability of nutritious food for their children, and are now farming in areas where it was previously impossible to do so. In Kenya, where only 20 percent of the land is arable and suitable for growing crops, this is a boon to the local economy and the health of families.
Helping smallholder farmers move out of subsistence farming is creating long-lasting development impacts and making communities more resilient. Before, farmers worried about being able to produce enough for their families to survive throughout the year. With sustainable farming practices, food producers are increasing yields and building buffers against poverty as they enter new markets to sell their products. Farmers are improving their livelihoods and can better secure their futures—even if the rains don’t come.
The Overseas Private Investment Corporation is one of 11 agencies and departments working together under Feed the Future to combat global hunger and poverty. OPIC mobilizes private capital to help solve critical development challenges. The agency works with American small businesses and companies to help them enter new markets, fosters economic development in emerging market countries, and advances U.S. foreign policy and national security priorities.
Safe water hope for slum dwellers
Attempts to deliver safe water to people living in some of the world’s poorest slums are falling at the final hurdle, according to research led by Lancaster University.
The team has been conducting research in slum communities in Bangladesh and Tanzania since 2013. This work - supported by ESPA - aimed to understand why water is becoming contaminated in the 'last 100 metres' before it reaches households, and to find ways of resolving the problem. In this new phase of their work, funded by the British Academy, the researchers are evaluating a range of approaches to improving sanitation and reducing contamination of treated water in eight communities in Tanzania and Bangladesh, to see which approaches are the most effective.
The research findings will be used to inform government and NGO policy; to transform infrastructure and practice; and to make a huge difference to the lives of millions of slum dwellers around the world.
Find out more about tackling contamination in the 'last 100 metres'.
Image credits: Women at standpipes, courtesy Asian Development Bank; aerial view of Dhaka, Bangladesh, courtesy Bread for the World.
Interview with Noj Barker about Sponsor a Dot for World Water Day
How did you begin to develop your style of dot painting?
I started painting with gouache in 2007. It was then I became a dot painter. Applying voluminous droplets of paints which descend onto the canvas and dry quickly. I created a language with a specific set of rules and for three years I was down an obsessive-compulsive rabbit hole of elaborate jigsaw puzzles. Culminating in spending nine months on one huge painting comprising of literally millions of dots.
Creating these pictures must take considerable concentration:
Well, I am engaged in a self-absorbing meditation where my focus is on a very small area. As I create more and more circles and more and more dots the repetition is like a never-ending mantra. It's the same, but ever-changing. In nature we see patterns, but everything is unique. The more dots I paint the more beautiful, intricate and complete it becomes. For as long as I can remember I have always had an urge to obsessively count things and I attach huge significance to what I am counting.
It seems you had successful shows up to 2010 and then stopped exhibiting:
I had reached a point where my work was attracting attention and good sales were being made from the shows, but I felt I wanted to concentrate primarily on my young children, work on my painting in the studio and not focus on the demanding aspects of exhibiting. We moved out of London to live in the countryside, focused on family life and now It now feels like the future has caught up with me. I have gained a basic understanding of social media and the tremendous opportunity to reach a broad audience. The most exciting aspect of my work has resulted form the development of scanning technology, which means that my very detailed pictures can now be magnified to previously unimaginable proportions. In 2013 I made the video, Dot Painting To Schubert, and this year decided to promote it on Facebook. As it has just reached 750,000 views I am realizing the huge power of these platforms. Using this network to help others is a very positive step.
The video has a mesmerising quality, the music is beautiful, do you paint to music?
Yes, it helps with the focus and classical music is my first love. Although I am inspired by many other genres too and styles from all over the world.
Has access to water always been important to you?
Definitely! In the Western world we forget how important it is to be able to simply turn on a tap to get water. Considering the riches of the world, the fact that so many people can't do this simple thing is really distressing. It just seems incredibly obvious that if you can dig a hole deep enough to find water where people above ground are thirsty we ought to be helping to do that.
Why did you particularly decide to paint a picture for World Water Day?
I have always thought that the process of painting these pictures is like rain falling. It was recently pointed out to me that the endurance required to paint a picture is like running a marathon. So why not be sponsored like a runner? Each drop of paint can represent provisions of water wherever it is needed. This is a really exciting prospect.
When did you first hear about WaterAid?
I came across WaterAid at Glastonbury Festival in 1994. We asked if they came to assist Oasis! I realized then how important their work is and I thought one day I would like to do something significant for them.
Thank you for your time Noj, and I wish you every success with Sponsor A Dot for World Water Day.
Visit: The Sponsor A Dot page at nojbarker.com more about Noj at nojbarker.com
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For more information, print-ready pictures and availability for interview:
Contact Noj by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dot Painter Noj Barker is Going Blue for World Water Day
WACDEP: A unifying force in Ghana
The Water, Climate and Development Programme (WACDEP) is an initiative of The African Union (AU) Heads of States and Governments borne out of a declaration to improve water and human security. It is a three year programme being implemented in 8 African countries and 5 river basins including the White Volta Basin in Ghana. The project aims to promote water security and climate resilience development as a key component of socio-economic transformation of the people by strengthening decision making processes while ensuring coherence at all levels. As part of the project implementation process, a Field demonstration project is being implemented in the Upper East Region in the White Volta Basin.
The WACDEP demonstration project is to drive innovation in the implementation of no/low regret investments employing water security and climate resilient strategies on one hand while on the other hand, support the mainstreaming of such investments into development planning and decision making processes in the districts. This main objective is being achieved through four (4) strategic objectives; Establishing current trends of the impacts of climate change; Creating pathways to “Innovative Green Solutions” and climate-smart interventions; Supporting the decision making process regarding the implementation of no/low regret investments to guarantee the sustainability of livelihoods and Build resilience in water, food and energy resources against the increasing threat of climate change and estimate the returns to such green no/low regret investments.
The main aim of the demonstration project is to improve the ecosystem along the White Volta Basin and some identifiable catchment areas through community focused approach geared at enhancing livelihood of community members who are mainly subsistent farmers.The activities were designed with a gender mainstreaming perspective and were supported by various partner institutions in the land, water and water management agencies like Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) through the Departments of Agriculture in the three districts, Ghana Irrigation Development Agency (GIDA), Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), Ministry of Land and Natural Resources (MLNR), Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Forestry and Minerals Commissions etc. The Water Resources Commission through its White Volta Basin Secretariat (WVBS) performed the coordination role of the project which includes monitoring, reporting and technical backstopping.
As part of the process, a baseline survey was carried out in 2013 to determine the community needs assessment, possible ways through which these needs can be met and implementing stakeholders. A second study, the socio economic and environmental analysis and logical framework development of field interventions for building sustainable use was also carried out in relation to further develop proposed activities and subtasks with appropriate timeline and budgets. Through the study, some communities were selected to commence the inception phase of the demonstration project in the Upper East region. Three communities were identified in two districts and one municipality notably; Tampezua in Bawku Municipality, Adaboya and Azum Sapeliga in the Bongo and Binduri districts respectively. Out of the identified partners, two institutions were chosen during the interactions to spearhead the field project. These institutions were the Department of Agriculture and the Forestry Services Department.
Owing to reasons that ecosystem restoration were long term and WACDEP’s ecosystem restoration void of monetary reward, WACDEP adopted an alternative livelihood support as a means of diversifying farmer’s income while serving as a motivational backstopping to communities.
The strategic approach of WACDEP in Ghana spans beyond ecosystem restoration to focusing on livelihood support for communities all year round. Some of such component is the dry season farming and small ruminant support integrated into the ecosystem restoration. The provision of these support were strategic and very important to the livelihoods of the people in these selected communities. Under the dry seasoning farming support, WACDEP assisted farming communities with farm inputs including vegetable seeds: onion, cabbage, okro and green pepper seeds) and irrigation equipment or tools water pumping machines).
A 60 hectare area along the banks of the White Volta were identified to be put into sustainable management over a period of 5 years in Tampezua and Azum Sapeliga. This will contribute to restoring the buffer zone ecosystem, reduce erosion, minimize siltation with a resultant impact of controlling flooding in these communities. However, the width of the buffer zone varies in terms of available land, ranging from 50m to 90m. In Adaboya, the community identified the need to protect the catchment area of their community reservoir with a grafted mango plantation with a target of covering an area of one hectare. Using techniques and methodologies applied in other GWP regions and in consultation with community members and landowners with technical inputs from implementing agencies, a variety of tree species were considered including dichro, acacia, for stabilizing river banks while mango, mahogany and cashew were also planted for economic purposes. These trees will contribute to both the restoration of the ecosystems of the riverbanks and provide fruit that contribute to improving livelihood of farmers and reducing poverty.
As part of the implementation, the Forestry Service Division in charge of the Districts and the municipality, together with the communities, are expected to establish community nurseries for the supply of seedlings for planting along the banks of the White Volta River.
Ownership and sustainability
One key outcome of the intervention is the high social capital that is being developed among the participants in all three (3) communities. Though the people has grouped themselves into community groups and farmer groups within the three communities this practice has been strengthened by the project through capacity building. In all the 3 communities, there is a marked unity towards the project among participants.
A section of the members of Tampezua community engaged in the
The initiatives in the Tampezua II just like the other community have been very successful. The community is and Azum Sapeliga have undertaken the tree planting as well as dry season farming initiatives In the Adaboya community, it is evident that women hold the highest stake in the project intervention. Under the leadership of the Queen mother, they have accepted their role as mothers of the project to ensure its success. Every woman in the community is actively involved in the implementation. As part of their duties, they have taken ownership of the planted trees and nursery. They take turns to water the plants and seedlings during the dry season every other day to ensure they grow well. In order to ensure the full participation of all the women in the watering exercise, attendance is taken whenever a group goes to water the plants and seedlings by the Secretary. A recent meeting in the community witnessed over 50 women in attendance with just about 10 men present. According to the Assemblyman of the community, the women virtually carry the project on their backs. He stated that without the women, the project would have either collapsed or would have been moved to another community.
“The tree planting exercise has been very helpful for the Adaboya community by helping us to unite. Formerly, participation in community activities and meetings was low but now, we have become more involved in the tree planting activities which has brought unity among the different sections of the community.” Zaliatu Abdul Malik, the secretary of the Adaboya women.
In Azum Sapelga, as part of the initiatives to sustain the dry seasoning farming activities and upscaling among all members of the Farmers Groups have decided to set aside part of the proceeds from the sale of the vegetables the project supported them to grow. They aim to open a Bank Account with this amount which they aim to grow by undertaken similar initiatives.
A man and woman pegging a bent mango tree at the catchment protection site in Adaboya
These initiatives by the participants show the strong ownership for the project. To them, the project is not for WACDEP but for them, since they are the direct beneficiaries. With this in mind, they have developed a strong commitment towards the successful closure of the project and continuous sustainability of its initiatives.
There is high gender interaction in the project with the involvement of both male and females. The activities records high participation from men and women based in the community. Though there are established social roles among the communities, there is a high participation from both men and women from all the communities.The men and women are all involved in the activities. During the capacity building activities towards the dry season farming, there were men as well as women beneficiaries. Out of the 131 farmers who participated in the training session organized in Azum Sapelga, 59 of them were women. A second training had 33 female participants out of the 72 total number. Also, Tampezua for a similar training had 17 out of the 48 participants being women.
In relation to the seed distribution for the dry season farming, 69 beneficiaries with 29 females in Azum Sapeliga and 50 with 27 females in Tampezua benefited from this initiative.
A group of men enjoying a meal after the seedling planting.
The women also play a key role in other aspects of the project. In Tampezua, though it is not the social role of women to undertake nursery activities, with support from the Forestry Services Department, the women also participate by cooking for the community on the days they undertake such activities. This is known as the “Food for Work” initiative.
According to the Head of the Department of Agriculture in the Bawku Municipality, Mr. Akotiga, the project has brought together institutions in the Assembly who have never collaborated on any activity. To him, being one of the lead implementing partners on the project has given his department the opportunity to work together with other government departments such as Forestry Department. As part of the implementation process, the Departments of Agriculture of the three Assemblies have to work in close collaboration with the two Forestry Services Departments operating in the three communities. Due to the project, the officers of the Forestry Department and Departments of Agriculture in charge of executing the duties of the departments in the three communities are working jointly to ensure that the project objectives are achieved. The dry season farming and small ruminants initiatives been implemented by the Departments of Agriculture is complementing the tree planting exercise towards the buffer zone creation. This was done to give the communities some short term benefits from the project to encourage them to fully participate in the nursing, transplanting and watering of the trees planted towards the buffer zone creation exercise. The collaboration between the stakeholders has resulted in accelerated results for the projects. With the possibility of receiving vegetable seedlings, water pumps, goats and trees for planting in their homes as well as contributing towards their future, community participants were motivated to commit fully to the objectives of the project and own them to ensure sustainability.
The WACDEP field project was initiated with the aim to show the environmentally smart way of carrying out activities to be climate resilient and water secured. The activities were selected and carried out by the beneficiaries with a well-developed value chain plan. As part of the indicators for the success of the Water, Climate and Development project, the demonstration project was aimed at impacting 7,000 beneficiaries from the selected communities. With the limitation in funds leading to the reduction in the number of communities to be covered, the current beneficiaries are about 4,400 in all three communities.
Based on the Baseline and Sociological surveys carried out by WACDEP before the demonstration project was initiated it was noted that the communities of Azum Sapeliga, Tampezua and Adaboya were highly dependent on farming which formed the major source of income for the people. All interventions were therefore skewed towards protecting and promoting the livelihood of the people. The field activities were planned to be carried out within a period of five years under the leadership of the Department of Agriculture in the three assemblies and the two Forestry Service division responsible for the three communities. The project is within its first year of implementation but has seen tremendous progress. These can be observed in two key areas; capacity building and agricultural assistance.
As part of the initiatives towards the Buffer zone and Catchment protection creation, the Departments of Agriculture and Forestry Services Divisions implementing the project in the 3 communities have carried out capacity building trainings as per their mandate.
Two communities, Tampezua and Azum Sapeliga have gone through series of trainings on agricultural practices. The topics were informed from discussions with farmers to assess their capacity needs.
For Tampezua, the main concern of participants was for the need for increased knowledge in nursing of seedlings for field planting. The Department of Agriculture of the Bawku Municipal Assembly conducted a training session on sustainable dry season farming for participants on nursery and water management. The training involved 48 participants with 17 females with the objectives to enhance the germination and growth of vegetables seedlings; reduce the incidence of diseases, pest and loss of seedling at the nursery as well as the costs associated with raising seedlings and produce quality seedlings for field planting.
A total of 203 farmers including 92 females participated in two training sessions in Azum sapeliga the training organised by the Department of Agriculture in Binduri. Some of the issues addressed in the first training were General characteristics of Upper East Region soils, Soil fertility, Organic matter content, How to conserve soil and water, Organic matter usage (compost making and usage, Afforestation (Tree growing), among others. The second training dealt with issues such as choice of vegetable production venture (what to produce; choose high value crops); Source of good; Site selection for vegetable production and Land preparation (contouring and leveling).
The community nursery established at Tampezua by participants and officers of the Forestry Services Division.
As part of the ongoing afforestation process, the Forestry Officers also built on the training of participants and established a nursery in each of the three communities towards the initiative. However, it must be noted that in Adaboya, the project benefited from a Ghana Social Opportunity Project (GSOP) well protected area for its seedlings. On the average, each nursery contains 600 seedlings with trees like acacia, mango. Trees are planted by farmers to restore the riverbanks. These trees will contribute towards poverty reduction through the blend of economic as well as forest trees. The trees are also expected to serve as barriers and contribute to reducing the negative impacts of annual flooding during the rainy seasons. The trees (buffer zone) are expected to improve water quality by contributing to trapping sediment and influencing local climate. Diverse tree species planted possess medicinal properties and also provide building materials for the communities. Moreover the trees will provide feed (forage) for livestock.
The training exposed farmers to the various strategies that can be used to raise good seedlings for dry season farming.
The team from MOFA was able to level of capacity of the farmers and plans for more training session to address the concern of farmers. On the other hand MOFA plans to use demonstration or farmer field schools as its training strategy to get farmers adopt new technologies.
As part of the vegetable seeds demanded by the beneficiaries are Okro, Onion (Galmi), Watermelon, Tomatoes, Green Pepper, Cabbage and Groundnut. Other agricultural inputs demanded by farmers include Water Pumping Machine and Accessories, Fertilizers, Knapsack sprayers and Agro-chemicals for crop protection. Out of the total of sixty nine (69) direct beneficiaries of the vegetable seeds twenty nine (29) were females and forty (40) were males.
A participant of the small ruminate initiatives in Adadoya with her goat and its goat
Exhibiting a high sense of community participation in the field demonstration implementation, farmers have demonstrated commitment to the process using local materials and resources, constructing mud walls around the fruit trees and continuous watering of the plants during the dry season.
As a result of GWP facilitation and with support from the District Department of Agriculture and Forestry Service Division, the communities have learned to organize themselves better and set up community monitoring teams; trained farmers on nursery establishment and maintenance, tree planting and protection techniques. They are sensitised to create buffer zones in order to safeguard the lands for farming. Farmers were also trained on sustainable dry season farming and soil and water conservation techniques to introduce or build their capacities on best farming practice. Government services are contributing to the implementation of the activities because it is part of their mandate included in the Government agenda at district level to contribute to the improvement of the living conditions of the populations.
Ethiopia: Data Farming - How Ethiopian Farmers Harvest Data to Help Their Crops
What’s the weather doing? It’s a question that obsesses many but for many Ethiopians it is question that makes the difference between plenty and destitution. Ethiopia is a rich and diverse country that is home to around 100 million people, 88 different languages and imbued with long, diverse history. Its highlands are seasonally wet and fertile and its lowland deserts are among the most parched places on Earth.
Dangila woreda, or district, is a hilly area in the north west of the country with a population of around 160,000 people spread across an area of about 900 km2. Although the area receives rainfall at around 1,600mm a year, over 90% of this falls between May and October. For farmers, who depend on livestock and rainfed crops, understanding and predicting these rains is crucial to their livelihoods. Traditional strategies, which have served for millennia, are coming under threat from new pressures of shifting climate patterns, land degradation and population growth.
Exactly what is happening now and what is likely to happen in the future is uncertain due to the lack of rainfall, river flow and groundwater level data. Throughout much of Sub-Saharan Africa, under-investment by governments has led to a widespread decline in environmental monitoring, and this in turn makes water resources management harder and harder.
But what if those who stood to gain most from better understanding and management of water resources were those leading the data collection? Can communities reliably collect accurate weather, river and groundwater data? This is the question that is being investigated by researchers, led by Newcastle University in the UK through an UPGro-supported project called AMGRAF ).
In a new paper in the Journal of Hydrology , David Walker and his colleagues explain why they think citizen science has a future in rural Ethiopia and beyond:
“The benefits of community involvement in science are being slowly recognised across many fields, in large part because it helps build public understanding of science, ownership and pride in the results, and this can benefit both individuals and local planning processes,” said Walker. “Because there are so few formal monitoring stations and such large areas that need to be understood and managed, we need to think differently about how data collection can be done.”
The community-based monitoring programme was started in February 2014 and residents of an area called Dangesheta were involved in the siting new rain and river gauges, and identifying wells that were suitable to be monitored. Five wells are manually dipped every two days, with a deep meter to measure the depth from the ground surface and the water level in the well; a rain gauge was installed in the smallholding of a resident who then took measurements every day at 9am; two river gauge boards were installed in the Kilti and Brante rivers and were monitored daily at 6am and 6pm.
Every month, the volunteers would then give their hard copy records to the Dangila woreda government office, who then typed them into an Excel spreadsheet and emailed to the research team.
But is this data any good? For David and his colleagues, this was a critical question that could make or break the whole approach. The challenges of data validation are substantial, and there are generally two types of error:
Sampling errors come from the variability of rainfall, river flow and groundwater level over time and over area. The sampling error increases with rainfall and decreases with increased gauge density. A challenge in tropical areas, such as Ethiopia, is much of the rain is high-intensity thunderstorms, which can be quite short in duration and small in size, and therefore easy to miss, or only partially record, if the density of monitoring stations is low.
Observational errors are the second type, and can come from a number of things: wind turbulence, splashing around the gauge, evaporation can affect how much is in the rain gauge, and then the observer might not read the gauge accurately or make a mistake or unclear notation, when writing the measurement down.
“Tracking down errors is tricky, but it can be done, mainly through statistical comparison with established monitoring stations and with each other,” said Walker. “What we found was that the community collected data is more reliable than that gathered through remote sensing instruments from satellites.”
It is hoped that this promising approach can attract further support and be used more widely, but what are the secrets, and challenges, to making community monitoring work?
“People are at the heart of this process and selection of volunteers is crucial to avoid problems with data falsification or vandalism,” concluded Walker. “Feedback is absolutely vital and through workshops and meetings the data can be presented and analysed with the community so that they can make decisions on how best use the available rainfall, river flows, and groundwater to provide secure sources of water for their farms and their homes.”
African Water Ministers Adopt Dar es Salaam Roadmap for Achieving Water Security and Sanitation
Photograph: Officials at the 10th AMCOW General Assembly in Dar es Salaam
Activities at the expansive Julius Nyerere international conference centre in Dar es Salaam hit a crescendo over the weekend as over 30 African water ministers and high-level delegations from 53 African nations adopted a roadmap aimed at achieving sustainable and universal access to safe water and sanitation all over Africa.
The adoption of the roadmap titled “the Dar es Salaam Roadmap for achieving the N’gor Commitments on Water Security and Sanitation in Africa” drew the final curtains on the 10th AMCOW General Assembly and the 6th Africa Water Week which began on Monday the 18th of July 2016 in Tanzania.
With a strategic objective of making considerable progress on water security and sanitation in line with the Agenda 2030 by improving efficiency, transparency and integrity within sector institutions to achieve sustainable services and create a conducive investment climate as well as integrating the agenda for water, sanitation and climate to improve health and nutrition outcomes, the Dar es Salaam roadmap aspires to ensure coherence in policy implementation, increase gender, equity and social inclusion, and transboundary cooperation in Africa.
African water ministers believe that by increasing transparency and accountability in the sector, governments across Africa would be able to account for financial contributions, focus on complementing existing initiatives with a view to avoiding overlap and redundancy and ensure a participatory environment for civil society and citizens in policy formulation, sector planning and monitoring.
The roadmap also recognizes the role of innovative financing and budgetary prioritisation for the water sector, sanitation and monitoring. Other aspects of the ministers’ plan of action for the continent’s water resources include provision of drinking water, improved sanitation, hygiene, effective and efficient management of wastewater, transboundary water resources, and strengthening Africa’s capacity to respond climate change.
The 10th General Assembly of the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) which was held on the sidelines of the biennal 6th Africa Water Week also witnessed a change of guards as the Water and Irrigation Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E Gerson Lwenge took over the reins of AMCOW presidency from his Senegalese counterpart, H.E Amadou Mansour Faye who held the fort from 2014 – 2016 while Dr. Canisius Kanangire was officially unveiled as the new AMCOW Executive Secretary. Dr Kanangire, who hails from Rwanda, is the immediate Executive Secretary of Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) has over two decades of high level experience in water resources management and he succeeds Mr Bai Mass Taal who leaves AMCOW after 8 years of admirable leadership.
In his acceptance speech, the new AMCOW President expressed delight at AMCOW’s rotational mechanism which led to his emergence and he urged his colleagues to roll up their sleeves for the onerous but achievable task of ensuring the realisation of the SDG-6 in Africa.
“We must build and sustain cooperation among riparian countries in managing transboundary water resources as it is a fact that the more we invest in managing water resources, the more we strengthen AMCOW and the more we advance collectively towards achieving SDG-6,” Engr Lwenge said.
To serve alongside the new AMCOW President are Water resources ministers from Central African Republic, South Sudan, Egypt, Swaziland and Liberia who were elected AMCOW Vice Presidents representing central, east, and north, southern and West African sub regions.
Addressing the General Assembly, Vice President Samia Suluhu of Tanzania urged the august assembly of water ministers from across the continent to “tackle present and future challenges by diversifying our sources of water and be innovative in financing mechanisms taking into account the huge funding requirements for the sector, and the urgency of mobilizing funds to put the right infrastructure and skilled manpower to develop and manage the sector more efficiently.”
Also speaking at Africa’s flagship water event, the commissioner for rural economy and agriculture of the African Union Commission, H.E Rhoda Peace Tumusiime implored Member States to step up efforts to realize the African Agenda 2063 on the ‘Africa we want’ because water is key to reducing poverty in Africa.
“There is need for us to put in place sound policies, legal and regulatory frameworks to support investments from various sources in water, sanitation and hygiene and also promote gender equality and women empowerment,” she added.
Organised by AMCOW in collaboration with the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union Commission alongside regional and international partners, the 6th Africa Water Week represents a political commitment at the highest level for creating platform to discuss and collectively seek solutions to Africa's water and sanitation challenges.
Africa Water Week: Panel Urges Increased Transparency in Water Resource Management in Africa
Picture: African leaders at the opening plenary of the AMCOW General Assembly
CORRUPTION has been identified as one of the biggest problems that has affected the water sector not to function as expected on the African continent.
The vice which according to Transparency International (TI) is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain is unfortunately very widespread taking many forms – the small scale corruption in bribing to get connection for which one is not entitled to or quicker.
Executive Director of Water Integrity Network (WIN), Frank van der Valk during the second day technical session on “what policy shifts are needed to achieve Sustainable Development Goals” on the sideline of the Africa Water Week conference in Dar es Salaam said the sum of the small scale corruption together amount to pretty large amount of money.
Valk says people taking wrong decisions which are geared to specific interest for themselves or groups they represent rather than trying to solve the challenges that SDGs require is common in many African countries.
“Diversion of funds for purposes that they are not intended to, the appointment of people that are not qualified for the job because they are friends and appointing wrong people have continued to hinder the water sector,” Valk says. He suggested it is timely to now have a broad initiative led by institutions such as African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) who are the major players on the continent to work on increasing integrity in African countries.
According to him African countries need capacity building at different stages both at government level and civil society organisations to help increase accountability in the sector.
Valk stressed the need for more involvement of civil society within major water programmes to ensure that those who execute the programmes are held accountable to the beneficiaries of the programme.
“We think that both governments and funders need to much more at the start of the project, include the right mechanisms to ensure the involvement of civil society and also to ensure proper financial management,” he says adding that financial management is lacking on the continent. Noting down some of the good examples of proper financial management on the continent, Valk says when proper mechanisms are in place before a project starts, positive results are usually visible.
In Burkina Faso, the building of the Ziga dam was documented where complete restructuring of the implementing organisation ONEA was carried out to ensure proper project delivery.
Kenya Water Trust is another good example of proper management because of proper mechanism in place to ensure project delivery.
He bemoaned the fact that too many people still do not enjoy their human rights to water and sanitation access and that the challenge is how to achieve it due to rampant corruption.
Water Integrity Network works with partners on the continent promoting water integrity and making sure governments take it serious as a subject.
Water integrity also develops tools to be used by governments and civil society organizations to strengthen the integrity in the organization and decision making.
Senegalese director of Environment and Sustainable Development Amadou Lamine Ndiaye said a new strategy for improving the management of water resources on the Senegal River basin has been launched. “Sharing good practices of different river basins helps to have shared interests and understanding of communities that are involved in the river basins."
Malawi: World Vision Intensifies Borehole Drilling
By George Mhango
Mary Msampha used to walk 10 kilometers to and from her house searching for water in Lipiri, Dowa District, Central Region Malawi.
The area is within the control of Traditional Authority (T/A) Kayembe and shares boundary with T/A Chakhaza, another popular chief in the district.
“Our children suffered a lot. Even cooking food was a challenge without water. Secondly, as you know that when you have infants or young children you have to wash their nappies, this was another setback,” says Msampha.
Most of her time was spent on searching for water. Little time was spent on taking care of her family and practicing farming, according to Msampha.
“We sometimes had no option but to travel to a distant place called Kawande to draw water,” recalls Msampha, adding that like other women, they were subjected to long queues and sleepless night as their efforts to draw water.
People in Lipiri, Dowa are both great commercial and subsistence farmers of beans, cotton, maize, groundnuts, soya sorghum and other crops.
Initially, Dowa is an agricultural district which focuses on cotton and groundnut farming, and the main food crops produced in the district are maize, sweet potatoes and pulses.
Even a visit to the area showed that the area has no enough portable water. Perennial rivers from where people can fetch water for home use and dambo farming are also few prompting such challenges women encounter.
Msampha adds that government funded community based care centres including those of various organizations such as World Vision in Lipiri were affected.
“It was difficult to run a Community Based Care Centre (CBCC) without water because apart from teaching children every operation depends on water. For you to prepare porridge, wash their clothes, one needs water. It was a problem running CBCCs then,” explains Msampha, who also teaches at Lipiri CBCC.
Go there today, such calamities are history. The area has more holes drilled by World Vision. Children and community members, who also used to suffer from waterborne diseases, can now afford a healthier life.
Water is also available in most CBCCs. “We now have the audacity to fetch water from boreholes World Vision drilled in the area. We no longer complain because we even have gardens where we grow vegetables to supplement the diet,” says another mother identified as Naphiri.
World Vision Central Region coordinator Liddah Mtimuni Manyozo says currently, the organisation has intensified the drilling of 43 holes in Lipiri Area Programme.
“To this day 37 holes have been drilled with two dry holes in Lipiri, which has a population of 22, 382. On average,” said Manyozo.
The initiative is meant to deal with water challenges children and others face in homes, schools and habitable place. In fact, in other areas World Vision is drilling solar power driven boreholes.
Nigeria: UNICEF Constructs 280 Hand Pumps in Kaduna Local Communities
Water Journalists by Mohammad Ibrahim
Boreholes offer the cheapest technology option for safe water supply in most rural areas of Africa
(WASH) Specialist in Kaduna State Mrs Theresa Pamma has said 280 hand pump boreholes were constructed and 16 others were rehabilitated under Phase I of Sanitation, Hygiene and Water in Nigeria (SHAWN I) project in the three Local Government Areas of Kaduna State in Nigeria.
The communities are in Chikun, Kachia and Kubau Local Government Areas of the state.
Pamma stated this at a side line of a two-day mid-year review meeting held in the state.
``As a result, household water safety has improved in the 320 communities, with 220,000 beneficiaries having access to improved water sources.
``The objective of the project is to ensure that children and women have protected access to sufficient safe water, sanitation and hygiene facilities,” she said.
The WASH specialist said that the three councils had also implemented local government wide Open Defecation Free (ODF) plans, targeting 2,512 communities.
According to her, 748 communities are targeted for attainment of ODF status, out of which 320 communities were certified ODF within the last six months.
She said that 64 primary schools in the three SHAWN council areas were currently promoting group hand washing using taps innovation.
She said 7,200 pupils in 24 primary schools in the area had access to and utilize child-friendly gender-sensitive WASH facilities.
The specialist said that 71 local government officials and teachers had been trained and had acquired capacity for promotion of hygiene practices and management of school WASH facilities in SHAWN benefiting councils.
``Based on the achievement recorded in the three council areas, eight new councils have been selected to commence the second phase of SHAWN project in the state,’’ she said.
She identified delay in the release of counterpart and operational funds, change in government, dismissal and redeployment of key decision makers and staff verification as major challenges affecting the project.
She said that 84 communities in Chikun, Kachia and Kubau council areas were under security threats, thereby temporarily limiting implementation of intervention programme in the affected areas.
She urged the State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA) to liase with the Ministry of Finance to ensure timely release of funds.
Pamma also urged Kaduna state government to conduct training for selected technical officials as supervisors in charge of construction of WASH facilities to improve quality of services.
Africa Water Week: Experts Plot Africa's Path to Overcoming WASH Challenges
Photograph: Exhibitions at the 6th Africa Water Week in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. (Photo Credit: AMCOW/atayibabs)
The water and sanitation challenges that confront Africa are not new. What is new however is the growing determination by development actors to stand to the different challenges heads on.
The 6th Africa Water Week in Dar es Salam July 18-22, 2016 provided the right opportunity for researchers, civil society actors, government officials to show how determined the different actors are to find lasting solutions to the age old water and sanitation problems in the continent. It also provided the opportunity to share experiences on different pathways to sound hygiene in water management and success stories that could be replicated in other countries.
According to Pierce Cross, senior advisor USAID, the problems of access to water and sanitation in Africa are stark and cuts across the different countries. He thus called for a comprehensive plan of action to accompany demonstrated political will by different African governments and other actors to improve on the situation.
“Demonstrated political will must be accompanied by concrete action plans to move the water and sanitation commitment forward,” said Piers Cross at a side-event discussion under the theme “The AfricaSan Commitment on Sanitation and Hygiene and the SGDs.
The discussions accordingly aimed at deepening the ownership and monitoring of the commitments by different governments to improve on water, sanitation and hygiene. Experts called for heightened behavior change and the establishment of a community driven culture to ensure better treatment of water for consumption to reduce the risk of contamination and disease.
“ We have frequently advised for better treatment of water before consumption by local communities. The carrying out of frequent water tests to ensure its safety from all types of contaminants is imperative,” says Sophie Hicklings, development consultant in Kenya.
She cautions that even pipe water from public systems can pick up impurities during distribution, thus the need for effective monitoring and control. Experts recommended defluoridation process that will help reduce the possibilities of contracting waterborne diseases. Waterborne diseases experts cautioned are fast killers. According to WHO diseases like cholera, dysentery and typhoid fever are common in many countries in Africa, rooted in poor water treatment systems.
Other nasty and almost equally dangerous diseases from water include as salmonella, diarrhoea, Hepatitis A etc.
These diseases, in most cases experts say, erupt in heavily congested, unsanitary squatter areas in urban centres or in rural villages where water is drawn from unconventional places like ponds, rivers etc. The ailments accordingly are caused by pathogenic microorganisms that most commonly are transmitted in contaminated fresh water. Infections commonly results during bathing, washing, drinking or consumption of unclean, infected food.
Reason to Hope
But all is not gloomy as there are considerable efforts on the ground by development organizations working in partnership with governments and local communities to improve on water sanitation.
In a press briefing on the sidelines of the 6th Africa Water Week, July 21, Lydia Zigomo, head of WaterAid, East Africa region pointed out that efforts by WaterAid to improve on education and awareness in local communities were bringing positive results in water hygiene.
“The collective progress of any community depends greatly on the education of its people and WaterAid is leaving no stone unturned in this direction,” Lydia Zigomo said. She said emphasis is laid on education and sensitization because “the more the population receive quality education, the more benefits the communities reap especially in sanitation and good health.” She expressed optimism with better healthcare delivery that is increasingly gathering momentum in many African countries on a global scale in line with the new sustainable development agenda.
The 6th Africa Water Week, organized by African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW) in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC) and other development partners, seeks to lay pathways for Africa’s drive towards achieving the SDG 6, with emphases on water and sanitation
Africa Water Week: Africa Can Convert Waste Water into Useful Resource - Experts
|by Water Journalists- Africa|
Scientists at the ongoing Africa Water Week have pointed out different innovative techniques which have succeeded elsewhere in the world, in which waste water can be converted into a useful resource for African countries.
“We have documented up to 150 different case studies in which waste water has been turned into a meaningful resource,” said Dr Kala Vairavamoorthy, the Practice Leader for Applied Research and Knowledge at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). “All we need is to change our perspectives, and create opportunity to do things differently,” he told participants at the AWW.
Dr Vairavamoorthy explained that flowing waste water can easily be used to rotate micro-turbines to generate hydro-electric power, and in the same energy sector, the water can be used in bio-digesters to produce biogas, which can be sold for income generation.
“Crop nutrients can also be extracted from waste water to be used for different purposes, and it can still be recycled for other purposes,” he said.
However, for this to happen, said Sarantuya Zandaryaa of UNESCO said that African countries need to put in place relevant policies to provide an enabling environment for reuse of the waste water. She gave examples of regulations in different countries, which have provided an enabling environment for companies to convert waste water into a resource. She gave an example of regulations governing the California use of waste water as a successful case study where policies have provided enabling environment for waste water use.
So far, the California Water Recycling Criteria (encoded in Title 22 of the California Code of Administration) allow 43 specified uses of recycled water – including irrigation of all types of food crops. These criteria include different water quality requirements for irrigation of each type of crop; those eaten raw, those receiving processing before consumption, and those not involving any human contact before industrial processing.
However, the regulations are among the most stringent in the world and have been used as a model for many other countries’ guidelines and water reuse regulations. It is in the same regard that Zandaryaa pointed out that for such policies to work for Africa, there must be very reliable monitoring, reliable enforcement of the regulations and appropriate technology.
These regulations, said Zandaryaam, must be developed with close involvement of local communities, and there is need for capacity building at all levels, from the government moving down to the people. She said that the countries can start by improving the existing legal frameworks, but should develop guidelines for waste water reuse. In a different forum elsewhere, Dr Paramjit Singh Minhas, an Indian research scientist gave a different perspective on how waste water can be used meaningfully.
In a study titled ‘Potential of tree plantations for wastewater disposal: Long term use in Eucalyptus,’ the researchers argue that trees with high transpiration rate (‘thirsty’ trees) such as eucalyptus can be easily used to clean the environment of wastewater. The trees grown in wastewater will also produce fuel-wood and timber for income generation, and as well sequester carbon from the atmosphere.
The Eucalyptus trees have long been blamed for their ‘thirst’ for ground water, owing to their long tap roots, and there is scientific evidence that the species could dry up water bodies. According to Dr Vairavamoorthy, waste water has always been a burden particularly in Africa. But with new evidence based studies, it can now be put to use, thus supplementing the clean water, which is scarce in many African countries.
African Ministers Call For Self-Driven Initiatives As 6th Africa Water Week Begins
Africa is experiencing water crisis with scientists saying there is strong evidence of decreased water flow and water quality in many countries.
Scientists, researchers and drivers of water policy have also warned that continued population and economic growth, combined with climate change, could result in serious water shortages in some parts of the continent by 2025. These challenges are coming at a time many African countries are mapping pathways towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Some officials at the opening of the 6th Africa Water Week in Tanzania.
It is against this backdrop that the African water ministers attending the sixth edition of the Africa water week have called for increased self-driven and innovative approach to addressing the water challenges.
According to the ministers, the flagship water event on the continent which began today at the Julius Nyerere International conference centre in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, provides the unique opportunity to explore pathways of addressing water challenges.
“We need new ideas and self-driven approaches to addressing the issues of water in Africa,” noted Engr. Gerson H Lwenge, Tazanian minister of water and irrigation, at the opening of the conference on Monday July 18, 2016.
In a pre-conference statement, African water ministers under the auspices of African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW ) said there was a range of actions – besides investments into large inter-basin transfer schemes – that could be taken to improve the prospects for quality water supply and quality.
The President of AMCOW and Senegalese hydraulic and sanitation minister, Hon Amadou Mansour Faye, the Executive Secretary, Bai Mass Taal and other high-level Speakers at the opening of the conference emphasized the need to better address issues related to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 6 and other inter-related goals with emphasis on new approaches adapted to the African reality.
“The SDGs is all about using local initiatives by both the private sector and the government working together," Mr Taal noted. Water resources is vital in realizing these goals,” says H.E Mwai Kibaki former President of Kenya and UNESCO Special Envoy on Water in Africa at the conference plenary.
The opening session of the 6th Africa Water Week in Tanzania
With the theme "achieving the SDGs on Water Security and Sanitation," the 6th Africa Water Week aspires to lay the building blocks for Africa to achieve the SDG-6 as well as other inter-linking SDGs connected with water resources management and improved sanitation service delivery. It also represents the quest in the continent to place emphasis on matching commitments and plans with concrete actions with impact on the ground.
It highlights Africa’s undaunted focus on achieving the Agenda 2063, the continent’s global strategy to optimize use of Africa’s resources for the overall benefit of all. The four sub themes of the AWW-6 revolve round achieving universal and equitable access to water and sanitation for all, and ensuring sustainable water resources management and climate resilience. Others are strengthening productive waste water management and improved water quality improving policy, financing and monitoring.
Part of the desired outcome for the conference is the adoption of a roadmap for developing a comprehensive action plan for Africa aimed at translating high-level commitments including N'gor Declaration on Water Security and Sanitation into implementation at country, sub-regional and continental levels.
The biennial water conference brings over 1000 participants from governments, regional institutions, international partners, the private sector, the scientific community, civil society and the media from all over the world.
Experts at the Second India-Africa Dialogue in Accra Root for Decentralised Excreta Management
CSE and Mhango George in Accra, Ghana
Experts expressed strong disapproval against centralised wasterwater or excreta management which was the norm the world over, particularly in urban areas of India and other parts of the world.
“Centralised wastewater management means excreta is not managed locally but is only transported through pipelines and dumped somewhere else,” said Dr Suresh Rohilla, Director of Centre for Science and Environment’s Water Programme. He was speaking at the Second India Africa Dialogue and Media Briefing Workshop held in Accra, Ghana, which was attended by leading science, water and sanitation reporters from around 15 countries of Africa.
A latrine in rural Uganda. The world remains behind in providing universal access to safe and hygienic toilets.
The workshop, Sewerage to Sanitation, Opportunities and Challenges for Sustainable Sanitation Solutions for Future, was organized by CSE in partnership with MESHA Kenya and SATCGO, a Ghana-based association of science journalists.
Experts at the workshop said that large quantities of water – a precious natural resource – was used in carrying human excreta. “This is not the best use of water,” said Dr Sudhir Pillay, a scientist with South Africa’s Water Research Commission. Pillay said the number of people defecating in the open was increasing in 26 of 44 countries in the sub-Saharan Africa. In Ghana, only 15 per cent of people used an ‘improved’ sanitation facility.
Pillay said the current technology – using water to flush down excreta and carry it away – was not sustainable. The solution, he said, was on-site faecal sludge management using modern septic tanks and other technologies so that the excreta did not use contaminate water bodies.
Pillay and Patrick Apoya, a water and sanitation expert, advocated for DEWATS – Decentralised Wastewater Management Systems – which used advanced systems including septic tanks, biogas digesters, anaerobic filters and other methods to convert wastewater into clean, usable water.
“The current piped sewerage systems do not treat sewage but merely transport it away. They are toxic and extremely polluting for the rivers and lakes where they are dumped,” said Rohilla. Apoya shared detailed suggestions on decentralised models which communities could adopt.
The participants in the workshop included Aghan Daniel from MESHA, Maxwell Awumah, president of SATCGO, senior journalists Maina Waruru; Linda Sante; Mandi Smallhorne , Fredrick Mugira and George Mhango of Water Journalists Africa network
Some of the leading science, water and sanitation reporters in Africa who met in the Ghanaian capital Accra for the second India-Africa dialogue and media briefing workshop about sewerage and sanitation
A CSE analysis says that in the corresponding period when the world population increased by three times, water consumption increased six times. The ‘modern’ lifestyle and processes required much more water than before, leading to water shortage. Currently, around 75 per cent of the world faces water scarcity. It is necessary that wasteful practices are discarded. “It is not prudent to create water and sanitation systems that are wasteful in design later which we will want to make efficient later,” he said.
CSE analysis says that earlier communities had a role to play in water and sanitation management in their areas. However, colonisation created systems and structures where the participation of local people in making decisions was completely eliminated while the systems also became more and more centralised.
While water supply systems were centrally controlled and relied on long transmission lines and transportation of water from distant locations, sewage disposal, too, was done in a centralised manner in most towns and cities. As much as 20 to 50 per cent of water was wasted during the supply process.
The analysis showed that the per capita (per person) consumption of water increased when the sewage systems became more ‘modern’. For example, data from India shows that in towns, the per capita consumption of water was 70 lpcd (litres per capital per day), it increased to 135 for cities. For the metros, it was as much as 150 lpcd. “Only 20 per cent of this water is consumed. The rest is wastewater – indicating an urgent need to curb wastage of water through wasteful sanitation and other practices,” said Rohilla.
CSE workshop with Ghana government
CSE also organised a workshop between March 14 and 16 on decentralised wastewater management for the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), Government of Ghana. Officials from the Environmental Sanitation department of the MLGRD were the key participants in the capacity-building workshop.
Speaking about CSE’s engagement with Africa and Asian countries, Rohilla said, “CSE has strong local roots as well as regional experience. We believe we can play a role in interlinking local and global action on water and sanitation.” Ghana is one of the two countries in Africa (the other is Rwanda) where CSE has “deep dive engagement”, indicating the intensive nature of CSE’s involvement in the water and sanitation programme of Ghana.
Describing the current situation which is common across countries and continents, Rohilla said the most used method of managing excreta was using water to wash it away. It did not amount to treatment. “Septic tanks treat excreta while the ‘modern’ methods simply rely on water carrying it away. This is unsustainable as water is too precious to be wasted in carrying faecal matter.
Moreover, the sewage needs expensive treatment and, if that is not done, can contaminate and pollute,” he said.
Speaking about the need for the workshop, Henrietta Ose-Tutu from the Department of Environmental Sanitation, MLGRD, said that the current discussion and effort around waste management was more focussed on solid waste.
“It is necessary that we lay emphasis on liquid waste or wastewater management as well,” she said.
The participants, she said, comprised officers from the ministry, the regions and assemblies of Ghana. This workshop, she said, was one of the several steps her department had taken in equipping officers technically to work on wastewater management.
Water Experts Call For Partnership in Solving Water Problems
Water experts from different countries across the globe are rooting for the partnership approach in solving water resource problems.
The call comes as the water professional and authorities from Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Mexico, Mongolia, Peru, Tanzania meet in South Africa for a week-long knowledge exchange organised by the 2030 Water Resource Group (2030 WRG), a global public-private-civil society partnership based in Washington USA in collaboration with Stockholm International Water Institute and the Water and Sanitation Department of South Africa.
Addressing the close to 100 participants at Sheraton Pretoria hotel, Anders Berntell, the 2030 WRG Executive Director stressed that partnerships based on collaboration and teamwork would provide more consistent, co-ordinated and comprehensive solution to the water resource problems.
Such partnerships could be between individuals; private sector; agencies; organisations and governments. And according to water experts attending this meeting, this would help to solve problems like: water scarcity; aquifer depletion; corruption in the water sector; water overuse; pollution and changes in water availability among others.
One of the countries that have benefited from this approach is Kenya, a country facing a 30 per cent deficit between the water resources and demand, according to water experts.
In an exclusive chat with WaterSan Perspective at the meeting, Kimanthi Kyengo, the Kenya’s Deputy Director in charge of Water Services said such an approach is a practical solution to Kenya’s water problems.
“It is one of the solutions that is potentially beneficial to Kenya. It brings ideas, expertise and resources in the water sector.”
To make this approach work, Kimanthi says Kenya has, “Developed concepts on how it would benefit the economy, the environment and the citizens; sensitised all the stakeholders about the process and is now in the process of recruiting stakeholders to come together to look for solutions.”
Similarly, this approach has worked in Tanzania. Engineer Christopher Sayi, the chairperson of National Water Board for Tanzania says it is helping to make sure all stakeholders especially the private sector know their roles in conserving the water resource.
“That is why we are encouraging these partnerships so that they (private sector) can also contribute in terms of technology and also contribute towards financing the management of water resources in the country.”
Earlier, while speaking during the opening session, Anton Earle, the Director of Africa regional centre for the Swedish International Water Institute gave an example of partnership between governments citing the South African government which is partnering with that of Lesotho to import water to Pretoria, some 400 kilometres away, following high rains in Lesotho.
Building resilient and safe communities against poverty and disaster
This study examines the institutional networks required to link processes of community-level deliberation to city- and national-level processes of decision-making and implementation.
In 2010, the Philippine government introduced a resettlement programme to remove all informal settlers living along vulnerable waterways in Metro Manila. The introduction of the People’s Plan (PP) as the legal framework for the programme has become a formidable tool to address the exclusionary patterns of governance and development that perpetuate informality and push informal settlers to the peripheries of social, economic and political life in the cities.
The PP is expected to improve outcomes for housing and resettlement within the city for the informal settler families in the urban sprawl. However, communities have to comply with the complicated rules and procedures of different agencies and engage with various stakeholders that have disconnected programmes and policies and different interests.
The study found that the PP unleashed energy and dynamics among stakeholders to address practical matters and open up public and institutional spaces to forge new roles and rules that fit changed circumstances. The PP as a process raised awareness and harnessed the self-initiative, self-responsibility and self-reliance of communities, which are important elements for community resilience. Essentially, the PP is a transformation of the poor and marginalised from ‘informal’ to active citizenship.
The research was guided by the following questions:
Will the PP enable poor and marginalised citizens to form new, more empowered types of relationship with the state, civil society and other stakeholders?
Will it reshape institutional rules and the planning and decision-making process of the government’s housing and resettlement scheme?
What lessons can be taken from the PP with regard to how ‘climate resilience’ can be built into urban governance programme and planning?
Ghana: Parliamentarians Demand Explanation for Water Crisis
|by Water Journalists- Africa|
February 25, 2016
Usually, it is the agitations of residents that give an indication of water shortage, scarcity or crisis. But when a nation’s legislature become the agitators unanimously, it is a signal that water has now become an urgent political matter.
It is a good sign that, the current water crisis that has hit portions of the country has alarmed and shaken the nation’s Parliamentarians to demand an explanation from the relevant institutions. It indicates that leaders are beginning to understand with greater depth and clarity the urgent need to pay attention to water.
The crisis has come just at the heels of the commendation Ghana received for having made significant progress in attaining the water targets of the now ended Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In other words, Ghana was able to reduce by half the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water. The country’s attainment is pegged at 80 percent coverage.
Water scarcity is one of the world's leading problems affecting more than 1.1 billion people globally
While, ordinary citizens might be wondering what has gone wrong, water experts might not be puzzled by the unfolding events of water shortages or access to safe water in sections of the country.
They are aware of the fact that the country is well endowed with significant freshwater resources that could compare to current uses at that time and demands in the foreseeable future. They are also not ignorant that the amount of water available changes distinctly from season to season as well as from year to year. Moreover, the experts know that distribution of freshwater is not uniform, with the south western part of the country or the high forest zone being better water than the coastal and northern zones or savannah wood and grass lands.
The National Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) Plan prepared in December 2012, by a team of experts in consultation with representatives of the key stakeholders, warned that the nation’s water resources, “are at risk of depletion and degradation…”
According to the document, problems are emerging because of uncontrolled catchment degradation due to human activities such as poor agricultural practices especially farming along river banks coupled with population pressure, deforestation and surface mining, which all always affect surface water availability and quality.
Another major problem identified in the document include pressure from climate change and climate variability, which impact on the natural flow of water in river channels. The document notes that “Fresh water regimes have been modified resulting in shrinking of the resources, and affecting water supply and river transport.” Consequently, some areas experienced severe floods, with others drought.
A third key problem has to do with increasing population growth and urbanization leading to increased demand on land, water and other natural resources, resulting in conflicting and competing water uses and pollution.
On Friday, February 26th, 2016 when Parliament convenes, top on the agenda is a statement to the House by the Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing. The Minister and his key officials including the Executive Secretary of the Water Resources Commission will respond to queries regarding the current situation from the House.
It is certain that they will touch on the challenges such as weak enforcement of regulations; lack of regulations on dam safety and control of industrial effluent and sewerage outfalls and lack of adequate data on surface and ground water quantity and quality. They are also likely to mention the non-incorporation into sectorial water management strategies of climate change and climate variability impacts on water and other natural resources.
It will be prudent on the part of the Minister to also mention that unregulated activities in river basins leading to catchment degradation and poor water quality as well as inadequate systems for early warning and mitigation effects from floods and droughts are additional key challenges confronting the sector.
The Minister should be able to impress on the House that in the face of the increasing population and growing uses of freshwater vis a vis depletion of usable freshwater resources, water requires careful management and monitoring in its use and availability. The House will need to appreciate that the time has come to re-think the nation’s development priorities and institutions should be made to work.
As Parliamentarians spearheading national legislature formulation, they have the power to negotiate and resolve the current conflicts besetting the natural resources sector. Conflicts that could have been prevented if the there was a working National Land Use Policy in place. Such a policy would have identified practical land use options and provided guidelines for the competing land uses – agriculture, logging, mining and biodiversity conservation including integrated water resources management.
But the current water crisis in parts of the country is not an isolated case and happens to be one of the global scenarios. Scientists are even arguing that the current situation has arisen because “we’ve been significantly underestimating our water footprint.” New studies published in the Science journal estimates that “global water consumption has increased by nearly 20 percent,” adding, “we may have crossed an unsustainable threshold in our water use.”
It is against this background that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon convened an emergency panel of heads of states to prompt a political response to the world’s increasing scarcity of water. This was at the special session of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting earlier this month during which a special Panel was formed to move global water actions forward.
The Secretary General stressed that “Water is a precious resource, crucial to realising the sustainable development goals, which at their heart aim to eradicate poverty.” He hoped, “the new panel can help motivate the action we need to turn ideas into reality,” and said “countries needed to take the lead on tackling the problem.”
The President of the World Bank Jim Yong Kim, who was at the event said “achieving the global water goal would have multiple benefits, including laying the foundations for food and energy security, sustainable urbanisation, and ultimately climate security.” He expected the panel to “accelerate action in many countries so that we can make water more accessible to all.”
(The writer can be reached on email@example.comfirstname.lastname@example.org)
Better water management could halve the global food gap
Improved agricultural water management could halve the global food gap by 2050 and buffer some of the harmful climate change effects on crop yields. For the first time, scientists investigated systematically the worldwide potential to produce more food with the same amount of water by optimizing rain use and irrigation. They found the potential has previously been underestimated. Investing in crop water management could substantially reduce hunger while at the same time making up for population growth. However, putting the findings into practice would require specific local solutions, which remains a challenge.
“Smart water use can boost agricultural production – we’ve in fact been surprised to see such sizeable effects at the global level,” says lead-author Jonas Jägermeyr from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. In a water management scenario the scientists call ambitious, global kilocalorie production could rise by 40 percent, while according to UN estimates roughly 80 percent would be needed to eradicate hunger by the middle of this century. But even in less ambitious scenarios, results show that integrated crop water management could make a crucial contribution to filling the plates of the poor, says Jägermeyr. “It turns out that crop water management is a largely underrated approach to reduce undernourishment and increase climate resilience of smallholders.”
Large yield increase potential in China, Mexico, Australia
The scientists have run comprehensive biophysical computer simulations, constraining these in such a way that croplands do not expand into forests and no additional water resources are needed. As it is a global study, it provides detailed vegetation dynamics and water use effects in river basins – certainly too coarse to simulate farm-level conditions but suited to identify regional hotspots. For example, the yield increase potential of crop water management is found to be particularly large in water-scarce regions such as in China, Australia, the western US, Mexico, and South Africa.
“Assessing the potential is tricky: If upstream farmers reroute otherwise wasted water to increase irrigation and production, less water returns to downstream users and consequently this can affect their production,” says co-author and team leader Dieter Gerten. “Below the line, we found that the overall production increases. Still, this of course poses quite some distributional challenges. Also, a lot of local government regulation and incentives such as-micro credit schemes are needed to put crop water management into large-scale practice.”
Mulching and drip systems to counter climate change impacts
The scientists took into account a number of very different concrete water management options, from low-tech solutions for smallholders to the industrial scale. Water harvesting by collecting excess rain run-off for instance in cisterns – for supplementary irrigation during dry spells – is a common traditional approach in some regions such as the Sahel region in Africa, but is under-used in many other semi-arid regions such as Asia and North America. Mulching is another option – the soil gets covered either simply with crop residues left on the field, reducing evaporation, or with huge plastic sheets. Finally, a major contribution to the global potential is upgrading irrigation to drip systems.
It is especially under ongoing climate change that water management becomes increasingly important to reduce food risks. The reason is that global warming is likely to increase droughts and change rainfall patterns, so water availability becomes even more critical than before. Assuming a moderate CO2 fertilization effect – plants take up CO2 and could hence benefit from higher concentrations in the air, but the magnitude of this effect is still under debate –, the study shows that in most climate policy scenarios water management can counterbalance a large part of the regional warming impacts on farming. Yet if greenhouse-gas emissions from burning fossil fuels are not reduced at all, in a business-as-usual scenario, water management will clearly not suffice to outweigh the negative climate effects.
Given the planetary boundaries, decision-makers should look into water use
”Water management is key for tackling the urgent global sustainability challenge,” says Johan Rockström, co-author of the study and Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre. “It has been an issue in many local and regional studies and its effects on farm level have been well demonstrated, but has not been thoroughly analysed at the global scale. The recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals by all countries – while stipulating sustainable agriculture among all nations – need to be based on more evidence on how to achieve such large system changes, and water needs to be central here. Since we’re rapidly approaching planetary boundaries, our study should indeed draw the attention of decision-makers of all levels to the potential of integrated crop water management.”
Article: Jaegermeyr, J., Gerten, D., Schaphoff, S., Heinke, J., Lucht, W., Rockström, J. (2016): Integrated crop water management might sustainably halve the global food gap. Environmental Research Letters 11, 025002 [doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/11/2/025002]
Weblink to the article: http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/11/2/025002
Blue Carbon: Ocean Grabbing in Disguise?
Will blue carbon projects have similar consequences for coastal communities as the negative socio-ecological impact from the market-based mitigation efforts on land (REDD-ii)
While the global rush to control land resources is well established, similar ‘power-grabs’ in relation to aquatic resources are less well-known and researched. Through on-going collaborative work between representatives of fisher peoples’ movements, scholar-activists and social justice organisations such processes have recently been coined as ‘ocean grabbing’.
Increasingly, conservation efforts that purportedly align the needs of the poor, profit interests and environmental concerns are one of the main processes through which ocean grabbing takes place. In recent years, different global policy processes have stressed the need for ‘valuation’ of aquatic resources as a tool to unlock their ‘blue-growth’ potential and simultaneously preserve them. Such policy proposals, effectively opening up for widespread commodification, are being advocated as the only sustainable response to the increasingly dire straits of the aquatic and coastal ecosystems. Coupled with this broader process of ‘selling nature to save it’, valuation efforts that also take the carbon storage and capture abilities of coastal ecosystems into account are increasingly being pushed as a crucial tool to fight the climate crisis.
In tune with broader emphasis on market-based solutions, under the rubric of ‘blue carbon’ a burgeoning alliance of international environmental NGOs, the private sector and a number of governments have begun advocating for the inclusion of coastal ecosystems into carbon markets. Most recently, at a side-event to the UNFCCC meeting in Paris, the ‘International Partnership for Blue Carbon’ was launched.
While proponents guarantee sustainable outcomes, similar market-based mitigation efforts on land (REDD+ii) have had huge negative socio-ecological consequences for communities on the ground. Will blue carbon projects have similar consequences for coastal communities? This short brief seeks to start a critical debate on the issue.
United Nations, World Bank Group Launch High-Level Panel on Water in Davos
The Secretary-General of the United Nations and the President of the World Bank jointly announced today at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2016 their intention to form a new panel to mobilize urgent action on the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for water, sanitation and related targets.
Co-chaired by the President of Mauritius and the President of Mexico, the panel will comprise a group of heads of state and government from developed and developing countries. It will also engage with a wide range of stakeholders and experts and leverage the networks and platforms of the Forum in support of its objectives.
“Water is a precious resource, crucial to realizing the SDGs, which at their heart aim to eradicate poverty,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “The new Panel can help motivate the action we need to turn ideas into reality. The United Nations system, including through UN Water and the United Nations development system’s universal operational presence, is committed to promote inclusive and country-led action on SDG6 and related targets.”
Convened by the United Nations Secretary-General and the President of the World Bank Group, the panel will:
- Motivate action – focus public-policy dialogue, private-sector models and practices and civil society initiatives towards the Water SDG
- Advocate financing and implementation – promote efforts to mobilize financial resources and scale up investment for the Water SDG, including through innovative financing and implementation strategies
“The World Economic Forum is delighted to support the High-Level Panel on Water, and recognizes the critical role it will play. Our Global Risks 2016 report placed water crises in the top three global risks of highest impact in the next 10 years. Leveraging our platform and networks will allow public-private cooperation to help advance the panel’s important objective to promote water-resilient economic growth in a warming world,” said Dominic Waughray, Head of Public-Private Partnership at the World Economic Forum.
The announcement was made at the Annual Meeting 2016 to a group of over 70 leaders drawn from government, business, civil society, development organizations, international and UN organizations.
“Achieving the water global goal would have multiple benefits, including laying the foundations for food and energy security, sustainable urbanization, and ultimately climate security” said World Bank President Jim Yong Kim. “My hope is that this panel accelerates action in many countries so that we can make water more accessible to all,” he said.
Leaders from business and other sectors welcomed the High-Level Panel on Water, and emphasized the need for this initiative to catalyse practical action.
“The High-Level Panel is an important effort. The mark of success for the panel will be practical action and tangible impact. Let this be an opportunity to break down silos at the highest level and collaborate with the private sector and others, building on existing partnerships and initiatives to bring these efforts to scale and to transform the water agenda,” said Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman of Nestle and Chairman of the 2030 Water Resources Group.
Over 2,500 leaders from business, government, international organizations, civil society, academia, media and the arts are participating in the 46th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, on 20-23 January. The theme of this year’s meeting is Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Taking a formative role in shaping the discussion at the Annual Meeting 2016 as the Co-Chairs are: Mary Barra, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, General Motors, USA; Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Brussels; Satya Nadella, Chief Executive Officer, Microsoft Corporation, USA; Hiroaki Nakanishi, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Hitachi, Japan;Tidjane Thiam, Chief Executive Officer, Credit Suisse, Switzerland; and Amira Yahyaoui, Founder and Chair, Al Bawsala, Tunisia.