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Are we learning from the past?

07 November 2012, CGIAR Water and Food

CPWF recently published the fourth paper in its research for development series, entitled 'Evolution of Agricultural Water Management in Rainfed Crop-Livestock Systems of the Volta Basin'. The paper presents findings of a comprehensive review of more than four decades of agricultural water management work in the Volta Basin and provides recommendations for future efforts.

What is integrated water management? 

"Agricultural water management (AWM) is the activity of planning, developing, distributing and managing the optimum use of water resources for agricultural purposes, through a suite of strategies. This sector comprises all types of agricultural systems, from rainfed to fully irrigated, with water sources varying between rainwater, surface water or groundwater.

What is its significance in the Volta Basin? 

"In the dry areas of the Volta Basin, agricultural systems are mostly rainfed…AWM strategies [in the Volta] have been over-studied, over-promoted, and over-funded. However, despite the efforts of numerous projects, water scarcity still limits agricultural production of most of the smallholder crop-livestock farmers of the basin and cereal yields are still lying far below their potential."

What is the purpose of this paper?

"Numerous projects and programs are currently working on best-fit AWM identification and promotion in the basin. In this context, there is a high risk of duplication of what has been done or of reinventing the wheel. The objective of this paper is to synthesize existing knowledge, interventions, lessons, and gaps in knowledge regarding AWM in the Volta Basin."

What questions did this paper set out to answer? 

"The questions that the paper addresses include (i) who did what, how, where, with which results and why, (ii) what are the lessons learned for longer-term development efforts and interventions and (iii) what are the knowledge gaps, with focus on the Volta Basin?"

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