V4: Sub-basin management and governance of rainwater and small reservoirs

Published on 6 December 2011

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Countries

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Timeline

Start Date: 1 October 2011 | End Date: 31 December 2012

Overview

A strong international consensus has been created regarding the need for Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and what it means. The river basin is singled out as the natural unit for organizing water management but implementation is invariably said to be faulty. Calls for more reforms follow, but they rarely question policy models themselves: they face the same shortcomings they were meant to address. This project aims at understanding the processes that govern IWRM policy-making, practice and research in the Volta Basin. This will be done to identify demand-driven opportunities for the management and the governance of rainwater and small reservoirs at the watershed (sub-basin) level. The project will make use of tools and results of previous Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF) projects, such as the Small Reservoirs Project, and other works, to develop and test participatory approaches to watershed (sub-basins) management in the Volta river basin. A modeling platform will bring together expert knowledge on the biophysical aspects of watersheds and local understanding of natural resources dynamics. This will serve as the basis for initiating a participatory process at the watershed level in which multiple stakeholders such as local farmers and decision makers, researchers, and national policy makers will engage. Participatory modeling and role playing game will be used to identify desirable rainwater and small reservoirs governance options. This research is based on the hypothesis that participatory approaches are useful to link local knowledge and perceptions of natural resources systems -that translate into transformation pathways- to expert/scientific knowledge and policy-makers imperatives. Participatory approaches will be combined with a critical assessment of the theory and practice of natural resources policy making and research activities –including this project. We will draw from the fields of Political Ecology and Science and Technology Studies to better understand local dynamics and appropriation pathways of innovations such as IWRM policy interventions. By going beyond the simplistic –yet commonly admitted- divide between formal decision making and informal practices, this research project will lead to enhance impacts of on-going policy initiatives in the Volta basin.

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