Harnessing Floods to Enhance Livelihoods and Ecosystem Services

Flood-based Farming Systems (FBFS) influence local livelihoods and economies, and biophysical systems. FBFS divert floodwater and spread it over large areas to grow crops, support water rangeland and replenish shallow groundwater. In semi-arid environments it is often the only source of water. Recognizing the importance of FBFS for local livelihoods and economies, the Ethiopian and Sudanese governments, supported by donors are investing in the improvement of infrastructure and on-farm practices to enhance agricultural productivity. However, it is unknown how these interventions may interact with other functions provided by floods at the local and landscape level and how these interventions affect livelihoods.    

This project sought to explore how FBFS interact with other functions provided by floods at various scales, especially how to optimize the use of floods for agriculture and ecosystem services to support livelihoods in different landscapes and socio-economic settings in Gash Area (Sudan) and Tigray Area (Ethiopia).  The aim was to improve investments in FBFS to ensure an equitable distribution of costs and benefits of the impacts of proposed interventions. The project also explored how investments in FBFS can best embrace gender and social equity.

Research Guide for Inclusive Management of Floods

The Harnessing Floods project produced this Research Guide for Inclusive Management of Floods in Sudan and Ethiopia by engaging with local partners. The project partners have embraced women representation and involvement in flood management. The guide discusses three elements that lay the foundation to successfully conduct research work, pilot the findings and upscale them. The elements are: clearly formulated research questions, scientific and practically relevant methodologies and the full engagement of committed local partners, with interest in the project. The questionnaires and focus group discussions used to collect data have included specific questions to capture the differentiated needs and priorities and constraints of men and women for both project sites in Ethiopia and Sudan. Incorporation of women in the socio-economic research has led to extensive consultation of female farming community members. The project has seen Gash farmers Water User Association endorse the gender and ecosystem approach. 

Video highlights

Harnessing Floods to Enhance Livelihoods and Ecosystem Services Project

Harnessing Floods to Enhance Livelihood and Ecosystem Services In the Gash River basin

Spate Irrigation: First Floods

Interview with High-level Ethiopian Delegation Visiting UNESCO-IHE

Managing Microclimates

WLE's regional program in the Nile and East Africa Region (WLE Nile-East Africa) was a research-for-development initiative that sought to restore and bolster opportunities for increased agricultural productivity through key ecosystem services, especially in the resource poor areas of the region. WLE Nile-East Africa was one of four regional programs of WLE, which also included the Ganges, Greater Mekong, and Volta/Niger.