Mk1: Optimizing reservoir management for livelihoods

Published on 6 December 2011

Research Areas


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Start Date: 1 April 2010 | End Date: 31 December 2013


This project is about livelihoods, and how they can be improved through reservoir management for multiple uses and users. It is about developing strategies for optimizing the benefits of  Water Storage Infrastructure (WSI) and increasing the ways in which water can be utilized for the benefit of the poor. Strategies can be developed for individual reservoirs or for cascades or systems of reservoirs.

This project will explore ways in which riparian communities can improve their livelihoods by taking advantage of agricultural, fisheries and other opportunities afforded by WSI development. Suitable strategies will broaden the uses of reservoir water to support livelihoods, benefit riparian and downstream communities alike, increase the lifespan of reservoirs, and maintain hydropower generating capacity. Research will also seek to minimize negative down-stream impacts.

Research on water use and livelihoods will take account of different needs (agriculture, fisheries, hydropower, and the environment – for example, wetlands preservation) for different user groups (including gender differentiation). These needs can be direct or indirect (for example, health related issues), or for consumptive or non-consumptive use of water (for example, fisheries). In addition, water requirements may vary seasonally, annually or in the long-term (e.g. under the effects of global drivers such as climate change).

Research Partners


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