Category Archives: Dams, Irrigation Systems & Management

Hydroelectric power sustainable development in Laos needs to focus on environmental, social impacts

VIENTIANE, March 7 (Xinhua) — An official from International Finance Corporation (IFC) urged Lao government to better understand cumulative river and ecosystem-wide impacts, which was of vital importance to achieving sustainable hydropower projects.

Kate Lazarus, team leader for the Mekong Sustainable Hydropower Program at IFC told Xinhua that the government of Laos has identified hydropower as an important source of income while contributing to poverty reduction and graduation from least developed country status.

“Hydropower investments require lengthy and thorough study to determine project feasibility and impact. The environmental and social impacts from hydropower projects need to be understand and managed. Government policy needs to be continually updated,” Lazarus said.

“With abundant water resources, hydropower, if developed and managed well, hydropower can be shared regionally through wider connectivity of the grid, benefitting neighboring countries,” she added.

The Mekong-side country is expected to have more than 60 generation projects online by 2020 up from the current 38, bringing electrification to 98 percent of the country’s households up from the current 85 percent, according to the Lao Ministry of Energy and Mines.

According to the Ministry’s Vision 2030 presented to January’s five-yearly 10th Congress of the ruling Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, the country’s installed hydropower capacity by 2030 will be 17,000 megawatts (MW) of which 10,000 are expected to be exported, providing a significant economic and fiscal contribution in the highly import-dependent country.


Article Disclaimer: This article was published by the ShanghaiDaily on and was retrieved on March 10, 2016 and posted at INDESEEM for information and educational purposes only. The views, comments and contents of the article remains those of the author. Please cite the original source accordingly.


 

 

Uganda: Harvesting water to build community resilience in Karamoja

 


By Lydia Wamala; 10 Jul 2015 Source(s):World Food Programme (WFP)


Nayese Village, Karamoja – As Regina Nakwang, Veronica Locham, Lina Sagal and Cecilia Kapel look down at the completed sand dam, their pride is clear to see.

“For now it may look like just a wall and dormant water, but come back in the dry season and you will see,” Regina said with a knowing smile. “It will just be a wall and sand, which is currently accumulating under the water. The water will have disappeared into the sand, which is able to retain it for months through the dry season for us and our animals.”

The families in the community are very happy to see that a new source of water has been created for their animals, which are a major source of livelihood. Some 138 households, nearly 700 people, worked together to construct the dam and will benefit from it.

“The water has been flowing away each rainy season, leaving behind a dry environment for months,” explained Lina. “But now we will be able to stop and store the water and then dig it out when we need it in the dry season.”

Requesting a dam

Veronica and Cecilia explained that the community harvested water in the past and knew the retention potential of the Nayese area. So, when WFP asked what type of community assets it could help them build, they requested a traditional dam. Knowing that traditional dams did not typically hold water beyond two months after the rainy season, WFP suggested an innovation which the community had never heard of, a sand dam. The community agreed.

“On our own we could not do it. We did not have the skills or knowledge to build such advanced infrastructure; neither did we have the means to buy the cement and tools,” said Cecilia.

Karamoja, Uganda’s only semi-arid region, suffers from inter-connected challenges ranging from chronic food shortages, acute and chronic malnutrition and poor access to social services. Frequent droughts and erratic rains, caused by the impact of climate change, have resulted in the inability of soil to retain water.

Building resilience

The Nayese sand dam is one of many water harvesting and catchment projects that WFP is supporting amongst communities in four districts of Karamoja to help build their resilience to the impacts of climate change. Sustainability is embedded into projects because the communities themselves help identify the problems to be tackled and develop a sense of ownership as they work to implement them. The involvement of local leaders also ensures the projects complement the district development plans.

WFP targets moderately food insecure households that have at least one member who is able to work. WFP provides food or cash support to every household whose members voluntarily participate in building the community assets. The food enables the households to overcome hunger in the short run, during the lean season. Extremely food insecure households – those headed by children or elderly and chronically ill persons – meanwhile benefit from unconditional food assistance.

Before the sand dam is put to use, the women’s community has started to plant vegetables, taking advantage of the increased moisture of the surrounding ground. The women are already scooping the fringes of dam, testing and proving that the new technology will provide even clean water, which they can boil and use at home. There is a plan to build a cattle trough nearby, which will be used to feed animals.

Importance of animals

Gilbert Buzu, who heads WFP’s programme in Kotido district says, “Animals are very important in Karamoja as not only do they provide income but milk and blood that boosts children’s nutrition. But, the locals have been taking their animals to far away land to find water in the rainy season. WFP’s water harvesting technologies are helping to keep the animals closer to home.”

Gilbert says the sand dam technology has worked elsewhere in other dry areas in Karamoja and in Kenya and will work in Nayese and at other new sites planned this year. He says while communities traditionally drew water from sand in the seasonal river beds after the rain is gone, the WFP-sponsored sand dams guarantee higher volumes of sand, water and a way out of vulnerability.

Additional information

http://www.wfp.org/stories/harvesting-water-build-community-…

Keywords

  • Themes:Climate Change, Community-based DRR, Economics of DRR, Food Security & Agriculture, Water
  • Hazards:Drought
  • Countries/Regions:Uganda
  • Short URL:http://preventionweb.net/go/45100

This article was published online by the World Food Programme (WFP) and retrieved on 09/15/2015 and posted here for information and educational purposes only.


 

Injustice is just one dam thing after another

Dam construction. Picture: REUTERS/ROOSEVELT CASSIO

Mega-scale dams built in the developing world are often fashioned as a move towards sustainable societies. But activists argue that these projects leave many displaced, with disastrous consequences for societies. Picture: REUTERS/ROOSEVELT CASSIO


TO provide more clean energy, particularly in fast-growing Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, the world needs more hydropower dams and energy, experts say.

But a surge in building big dams is also leading to poor people being displaced and losing rights to water — something that needs to be addressed if more projects go ahead, community leaders and researchers say.

“When you build a mega dam your land acquisition and inundation creates a great level of displacement. This is a disastrous plan and not true development,” says Rajendra Singh, an Indian water activist and winner of this year’s Stockholm Water Prize for his efforts in protecting rivers and boosting rainwater harvesting.

Singh, speaking at World Water Week in Stockholm two weeks ago, said building small-scale dams, rather than huge ones, may be a more effective way to protect poor people, while increasing access to clean power.

“Build your dam on the river, just before the bend, and communities can still use the free flow of water,” he said, drawing a serpentine line on a piece of paper. “You can still produce energy, though on a smaller scale, and you can still ensure people’s rights to use the water.”

About 160 countries worldwide use hydropower technology for electricity generation, according to Adnan Amin, director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency. The power produced amounts to just under 16% of the world’s total electricity generation, he says.

In more than 50 countries, hydropower plants provide at least half of the total electricity supply. An increase in this number, Amin says, is crucial if the world wants to shift to a sustainable society. That is particularly true in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, where much of the world’s population growth is expected to occur by 2050.

Building small-scale hydropower facilities can make sense, Amin says — but he warns they may not be up to meeting the coming demand.

“There is a strong business case for small hydro projects, but we are also facing a situation where the energy demand in Africa is set to triple and in Asia Pacific it will double by 2050. So we have to explore all possibilities.

“If we look at the developing countries with large power needs, large water needs, growing populations, we have to find power and water sources that can support this growth in the future. It’s very difficult to forgo opportunities to develop clean power (and) irrigation because of some sceptics.”

But research in West Africa by the UK-based International Institute for Environment and Development, a research and policy group, suggests that building large-scale dams is leading to widespread displacement of people there.

Seven dams in West Africa, six of them in the Niger basin, have led to about 237,000 people losing their homes or land, researchers found. Many have had difficulty finding new ways to make a living.

In Burkina Faso, a planned tomato processing plant and fish stocking facility, promised to help provide new jobs, have yet to be built, and in Senegal and Burkina Faso, over-fishing in dam reservoirs by displaced families has led to conflict among fishermen, one study found.

Nouradine Zackaria Toure, the chief of a dam-affected village in the Gao region of Mali, says nine countries in West Africa today have 150 dams, with 40 more planned in the region. That has led to displacement, a lack of irrigated land, forced migration and conflicts over scarce food and water, he says.

Dams in West Africa, though built with the best of intentions, are failing to benefit the poorest of the communities, says Toure.

In particular, the energy and the water produced by the dams is reaching others, but not those displaced by the projects, says Toure, who also heads a network of riverside communities in the Niger Basin, the Regional Coordination Group of Users of the Niger Basin. He says the size of dams is less important than ensuring local communities share in their benefits, including access to the energy they produce and sufficient water to irrigate their fields. Dam-displaced communities must also have a genuine voice in deciding what should happen to them.

“We don’t care about the size. We just want our rights over land and water and energy to be respected,” Toure says.

Singh says the problem is that many dams and hydropower projects are designed to meet a country or region’s growing water and energy needs, but at the cost of curbing the rights of people and communities living near them.

In India and elsewhere in Asia, dams are in some cases reducing or ending community ownership or access to water and land near it, and are often the root cause of conflicts.

While the costs and benefits of building large dams need to be weighed, the “greater good” is what’s important, says Singh.


This article was published online at Business Day Live (BDlive) and was retrieved on 09/07/2015 for educational and information purposes.


 

Thomson Reuters Foundation

Laos Officially Approves Controversial Dam Project

Laos Officially Approves Controversial Dam Project
Image Credit: Flickr / Prince Roy

As the need for power surges, are small – or big – dams the answer?

IMG_20140204_131536

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lower Mekong River, Vientiane Province, Lao PDR

Photo credit: Jenkins Macedo


BY STELLA PAUL


 

STOCKHOLM (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – To provide more clean energy, particularly in fast-growing Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, the world needs more hydropower dams, energy experts say.

But a surge in building of big dams is also leading to poor people being displaced and losing rights to water – something that needs to be addressed if more dam projects go ahead, community leaders and researchers say.

“When you build a mega dam … your land acquisition and inundation creates a great level of displacement. This is a disastrous plan and not true development,” charged Rajendra Singh, an Indian water activist and winner of this year’s Stockholm Water Prize for his efforts in protecting rivers and boosting rainwater harvesting.

Singh, speaking at World Water Week in Stockholm, said building small-scale dams – rather than huge ones – may be a more effective way to protect poor people while increasing access to clean power.

“Build your dam on the river, just before the bend, and communities can still use the free flow of water,” he urged, drawing a serpentine line on a piece of paper. “You can still produce energy, though in a smaller scale, and you can still ensure people’s rights to use the water.”

At present, about 160 countries worldwide use hydropower technology for power generation, according to Adnan Amin, director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency. The power produced amounts to just under 16 percent of the world’s total electricity generation, he said.

In more than 50 countries, hydropower plants provide at least 50 percent of the total electricity supply. An increase in this number, Amin said, is crucial if the world wants to shift to a sustainable society.

That is particularly true in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, where much of the world’s population growth is expected to occur by 2050, experts say.

Building small-scale hydropower facilities can make sense, Amin said – but he warned they may not be up to meeting the coming demand.

“There is a strong business case for small hydro projects, but we are also facing a situation where the energy demand in Africa is set to triple and in Asia Pacific it will double by 2050. So we have to explore all possibilities,” he said.

“If we look at the developing countries with large power needs, large water needs, growing populations, we have to find power and water sources that can support this growth in the future. It’s very difficult to forego opportunities to develop clean power (and) irrigation because of some skeptics,” he said.

THREAT TO LOCAL PEOPLE

But research in West Africa by the UK-based International Institute for Environment and Development, a research and policy group, suggests that building of large-scale dams is leading to widespread displacement of people there.

Seven dams in West Africa, six of them in the Niger basin, have led to about 237,000 people losing their homes or land, researchers found.

Many have had difficulty finding new ways to make a living, researchers said. In Burkina Faso, a planned tomato processing plant and fish stocking facility, promised to help provide new jobs, have yet to be built and in Senegal and Burkina Faso, over-fishing in dam reservoirs by displaced families who turned to fishing has led to conflict among fishermen, one study found.

Nouradine Zackaria Toure, the chief of a dam-affected village in the Gao region of Mali, said nine countries in West Africa today have 150 dams, with 40 more planned in the region. That has led to displacement, a lack of irrigated land, forced migration and conflicts over scarce food and water, he said.

Dams in West Africa, though built with the best of intentions, are failing to benefit the poorest of the communities, he said on the sidelines of the meeting.

In particular, the energy and the water produced by the dams is reaching others, but not those displaced by the projects, said Toure, who also heads a network of riverside communities in the Niger Basin, the Regional Coordination Group of Users of the Niger Basin (CRUBN).

He said the size of dams is less important than ensuring local communities share in their benefits, including access to the energy they produce and sufficient water to irrigate their fields. Dam-displaced communities must also have a genuine voice in deciding what should happen to them, he said.

“We don’t care about the size. We just want our rights over land and water and energy to be respected,” he said.

Singh, of India’s Rajasthan state, said the problem is that many dams and hydropower projects are designed to meet a country or region’s growing water and energy needs, but at the cost of curbing the rights of people and communities living near them.

In India and elsewhere Asia, dams are in some cases reducing or ending community ownership or access to water and land near it, and are often the root cause of conflicts, he said.

The Tipaimukh dam, now under construction in northeast India, for example, is set to displace or affect the fishing or water access of about 100,000 people in India and Bangladesh, activists in the region say.

“Community rights have become scarce and mainly because of that, water has become scarce for people,” he said. To prevent that problem widening, Asia must find ways to tap rivers without ending people’s rights to them, largely by building small dams rather than large ones, he said.

Amin, of the International Renewable Energy Agency, admitted there have been some negative impacts from large dams in the past, especially in countries like Brazil. But such problems are increasingly a thing of the past, he said, and builders are now ready to learn from past mistakes.

While the costs and benefits of building large dams needs to be weighed, the “greater good” is what’s important, he said.

(Reporting by Stella Paul; editing by Laurie Goering :; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, climate change, women’s rights, trafficking and corruption. Visit www.trust.org/climate)


This article was initially published on the Thomson Reuters Foundation and retrieved on 09/05/2015 and shared on this blog for educational and information purposes only.


 

 

The Great African Water Grab?

The great African water grab?

Foreign direct investment in African agriculture could bring great benefits, but there are risks too.

“Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.” Mark Twain’s famous remark may be over a century old, but the allure of a patch of earth to call your own still remains potent.

Nowhere is this more true than in sub-Saharan Africa where, for many, land ownership is still seen as the key to a secure income. Against a bitter history of colonial appropriation in many countries, the lure of land still stirs deep emotions. Many African governments have tried to address historic grievances, but the results have been mixed. African agriculture remains in the doldrums, chronically underproductive by global standards.

urban farm ghana irrigation

Irrigation on an urban farm in GhanaPhoto Credit: Nana Kofi Acquah/ IWMI

So the news that foreign money is now pouring into African agriculture should be welcome. Investors are leasing land all over the continent with the intention of creating modern farms with high crop yields. It could be a win-win: bringing in new technology and infrastructure, creating jobs and boosting food supplies. Instead it is more commonly characterized as a “land grab” – a cynical attempt to further exploit African resources for the benefit of others.

Curiously the debate over foreign direct investment in African agriculture has focused almost exclusively on access to land.  Water has been largely ignored – until now. New research, commissioned by the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) and presented this week by IWMI’s Tim Williams at a session during World Water Week in Stockholm has attempted to tease out what the implications of the trend might be for the continent’s water and those who depend upon it.

Currently only 5% of sub-Saharan agriculture benefits from irrigation. New investments potentially offer opportunities to dramatically increase this. Nonetheless, questions remain about the motives of investors and the actual contributions of foreign direct investment in agricultural land (FDIAL) to the national development of host countries. What are their actual impacts on national food security, local livelihoods, on water quantity and quality, and on essential ecosystem services?  Unscrupulous large-scale land acquisitions and inadequate consideration of the actual and potential uses of water for the legitimate pursuit of customary livelihoods and lifestyles have the potential to lead to significant inequity, inefficiency and environmental problems.

How much thought is given to these investments?

Overall, says Williams, around 3.4 million hectares of land in 22 sub-Saharan African countries is currently under lease to foreign and domestic investors – about the size of Nigeria’s Benue state. But remarkably only 5% of this currently under productive use.

Williams and his team looked at a half dozen countries in more detail to see if water had been taken into account when land had been leased.  In all 6 water and land were governed separately. Water access rights were included in deals struck in 4 countries, but in two rights were not discussed at all. Only in Tanzania was there prior consultation with existing water users.

“Water is neglected or an afterthought,” said Williams, and he urged governments to do more to ensure that the legislative frameworks that underpin land leasing were robust enough to ensure that water rights were properly considered.

“Land given out by governments for FDI is often thought to be under underutilized,” he added, “but it may, in fact be being sustainably used by local people.” This needs to be better recognized.

During the session discussion, Claudia Ringler, of the International Food Policy Research Institute and a research leader in the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems raised concerns that many catchment agencies don’t deal with groundwater. There is growing interest in its potential as a critical resource for sustainable development, so how it will be included in future land-lease negotiations will be important. She also highlighted the fact that women, often not the main landowners in sub-Saharan Africa, were rarely consulted when such deals take place, but may be the main stewards of water in the community. Also neglected were young people. Land leases can last up to 50 years, so the input and opinions of youth should be an important part of the process.

Oseloka Zikora of AMCOW, who introduced the session summed up the challenge. “When people are looking for land they are actually looking for water – free water” he said. Governments must respond to the challenge to ensure that the benefits of new investment are fairly shared.

Research partners: IWMI/WLE, GRID Arendal, FAO, UNEP

 

This week, Thrive and WLE colleagues are at Stockholm World Water Week 2015. Opinions and analysis will focus on this year’s theme of “water and development.”

 

Resources

Policy Brief: Analysis of impacts of large-scale investments in agriculture on water resources, ecosystems and livelihoods in sub-Saharan Africa

Project overview: Analysis of impacts of large-scale investments in agriculture on water resources, ecosystems and livelihoods; and development of policy options for decision makers

Results Summary: Analysis of impacts of large-scale investments in agriculture on water resources, ecosystems and livelihoods; and development of policy options for decision makers

Powerpoint: Analysis of impacts of large scale investments in agriculture on Africa’s water resources, ecosystems and livelihoods

Written by:
James Clarke

James Clarke is the director of Communications and Marketing for the International Water Management Institute. [read more]

Ada farmers appeal for drip irrigation system

By News Ghana –

Small holder farmers in and around Ada Afiadenyigba, a community near Ada have appealed to the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority and the Ada West District Assembly to consider developing a drip irrigation system as way of helping them continue with the farming activities especially during the dry season.

Vegetable_farmer_in_adaOur farming is rain led, the end of the raining season means stop work of us. This is our biggest headache, a local cassava, pepper and tomato farmer, Jonathan Agbetiameh laments.   According to him, “the drip system is less costly than bringing a canal or any other thing.”

The farmers made the call when representatives from SEND-GHANA met with them to explore ways of solving their challenges. The meeting which was facilitated by Ayongo Foundation, a local Focal Non-Governmental Organisation (FNGO) was held at Ada Afiadenyigba.

If we have a drip system for each farmer who cultivates an acre of farm land, and the cost is about GH₵ 2,000, so for twenty farmers in a row, with a tractor, it means within one year the farmer can pay back. GH₵ 20,000 can take care of about ten farmers. It will be less costly than bringing a canal. If that can be replicated as it is being done in other countries, we will be okay, Agbetiameh believes.

Megh R. Goyal, PhD, PE, Senior Editor-in-Chief of Research Advances in Susutianable Micro Irrigation, Sustainable Micro Irrigation Managenmnet for Trees and Vines journal, describes Micro irrigation, also known as trickle irrigation or drip irrigation or localized irrigation or high frequency or pressurized irrigation, as an irrigation method that saves water and fertilizer by allowing water to drip slowly to the roots of plants, either onto the soil surface or directly onto the root zone, through a network of valves, pipes, tubing, and emitters.

According to him, drip irrigation is done through narrow tubes that deliver water directly to the base of the plant. It is a system of crop irrigation involving the controlled delivery of water directly to individual plants and can be installed on the soil surface or subsurface.

Micro irrigation systems are often used in farms and large gardens, but are equally effective in the home garden or even for houseplants or lawns. He argues that, they are easily customizable and can be set up even by inexperienced gardeners. Putting a drip system into the garden is great do-it-yourself projects that will ultimately save the time and help the plants grow. It is equally used in landscaping and in green cities.

The system is not new in Ghana as some vegetable famers have started making use of the system.

An article on a local Ghana News Agency (GNA) website on 25 January 2013, reported that World Vision International (WVI) Drip Irrigation Project at Gorugu and Dua in the Bongo District of the Upper East has curbed rural urban migration that has been a major problem in the area.

Upper East is a region which has only one rainy season in a year, coupled with the infertile nature of the soil.

It quoted Madam Akolgoma Atia, 35 as saying that, “she had been able to support her family through the proceeds from the sale of vegetables including paying her two children’s school fees.

Source-SEND-GHANA