World Water Day 2021

This year’s World Water Day (March 22) theme is ‘Valuing Water’. At IWMI we are highlighting the value of water as central to all systems that underpin human life. Water is crucial when addressing the key challenges faced by the world today from climate change and environment to health and global hunger.

The knowledge that will underpin solutions to these global challenges is at the heart of IWMI’s mission – to provide water solutions for sustainable, climate-resilient development.

But, as well as the challenges we also see the positives: we read stories about wild-swimming, how people look to the rivers and lakes for calm, we read about new technologies that are helping smallholders improve their irrigation systems. Conversations IWMI is contributing to.

Join the conversation on social media #Water2Me and #WorldWaterDay and share just what water means to you.

The value of water

#Water2me

This year, the UN theme for World Water Day is “valuing water”. At IWMI, we know that water is at the root of the many issues our planet and people are facing. But we also know that water can have personal significance too. So, we asked our colleagues what water means to them. We prepared a video showing what our IWMI colleagues value most about water, which we’ll launch on World Water Day.

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Related Publications

Displaying 7 publications (Show all records)
Monitoring spatial-temporal variations of surface areas of small reservoirs in Ghana’s Upper East Region using Sentinel-2 satellite imagery and machine learning (12/31/2021)
Ghansah, B.; Foster, T.; Higginbottom, T. P.; Adhikari, R.; Zwart, Sander J. 2022. Monitoring spatial-temporal variations of surface areas of small reservoirs in Ghana’s Upper East Region using Sentinel-2 satellite imagery and machine learning. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, 125:103082. [DOI]
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Modelling neglected and underutilised crops: a systematic review of progress, challenges, and opportunities (10/31/2022)
Chimonyo, V. G. P.; Chibarabada, T. P.; Choruma, D. J.; Kunz, R.; Walker, S.; Massawe, F.; Modi, A. T.; Mabhaudhi, Tafadzwanashe. 2022. Modelling neglected and underutilised crops: a systematic review of progress, challenges, and opportunities. Sustainability, 14(21):13931. (Special issue: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Mainstreaming Underutilized Crops) [DOI]
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Elevating the role of water resilience in food system dialogues (10/27/2022)
Matthews, N.; Dalton, J.; Matthews, J.; Barclay, H.; Barron, J.; Garrick, D.; Gordon, L.; Huq, S.; Isman, T.; McCornick, P.; Meghji, A.; Mirumachi, N.; Moosa, S.; Mulligan, M.; Noble, A.; Petryniak, O.; Pittock, J.; Queiroz, C.; Ringler, C.; Smith, Mark; Turner, C.; Vora, S.; Whiting, L. 2022. Elevating the role of water resilience in food system dialogues. Water Security, 17:100126. (Online first) [DOI]
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Gap analysis and methodological framework to assess and develop water centric sustainable agricultural intensification pathways in Sub-Saharan Africa (10/26/2022)
Haileslassie, Amare; Mekuria, Wolde; Uhlenbrook, Stefan; Ludi, Eva; Schmitter, Petra. 2022. Gap analysis and methodological framework to assess and develop water centric sustainable agricultural intensification pathways in Sub-Saharan Africa. Frontiers in Water, 4:747610. [DOI]
More... | Fulltext (5.11 MB)

Mapping the spatial distribution of underutilised crop species under climate change using the MaxEnt model: a case of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa (10/25/2022)
Mugiyo, H.; Chimonyo, V. G. P.; Kunz, R.; Sibanda, M.; Nhamo, L.; Masemola, C. R.; Modi, A. T.; Mabhaudhi, Tafadzwanashe. 2022. Mapping the spatial distribution of underutilised crop species under climate change using the MaxEnt model: a case of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Climate Services, 28:100330. (Online first) [DOI]
More... | Fulltext (9.38 MB)

Optimal production areas of underutilized indigenous crops and their role under climate change: focus on Bambara groundnut (10/21/2022)
Nhamo, L.; Paterson, G.; van der Walt, M.; Moeletsi, M.; Modi, A.; Kunz, R.; Chimonyo, V.; Masupha, T.; Mpandeli, S.; Liphadzi, S.; Molwantwa, J.; Mabhaudhi, Tafadzwanashe. 2022. Optimal production areas of underutilized indigenous crops and their role under climate change: focus on Bambara groundnut. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 6:990213. [DOI]
More... | Fulltext (2.66 MB)

The impacts of climate change on the irrigation water demand, grain yield, and biomass yield of wheat crop in Nepal (10/20/2022)
Kaini, S.; Harrison, M. T.; Gardner, T.; Nepal, Santosh; Sharma, A. K. 2022. The impacts of climate change on the irrigation water demand, grain yield, and biomass yield of wheat crop in Nepal. Water, 14(17):2728. (Special issue: How Does Agricultural Water Resources Management Adapt to Climate Change?) [DOI]
More... | Fulltext (4.81 MB)

Related Projects

Ongoing ProjectsCompleted Projects

Economics and equity

At IWMI, researching underlying economic and social trends helps us understand why people migrate. They also explain the impact of remittances and loss of agricultural labor, as well as consequences of migration on gender roles and food and water security. For instance, communities with higher levels of income inequality, or relative deprivation, may experience greater levels of out-migration compared to consistently low-income communities. In addition, migration changes intra-household gender-labor composition, which can change the access of smallholders to water resources, affecting the functioning of community-based institutions and consequently household and local food security. IWMI also focuses on circular economy, a strategy to recover and reuse waste, to boost food security and understand how interventions can encourage refugee and host communities to retain scarce resources.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Nutrition, health and food security Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion

Urban & rural transformation

As agricultural opportunities fluctuate in rural areas, migration, particularly to urban areas, is an adaptation technique to secure incomes and alternative livelihoods. Income generated by migrants is often sent back to family as remittances to support communities at home. At IWMI, we assess linkages between rural and urban areas, as well as the role of agricultural knowledge systems and food and water security. We recognize there are complex push and pull factors such as individual aspirations, economic opportunity, social norms, climate variability and government policies which drive migration and affect rural communities, particularly youth. Our work follows a ‘positive migration’ philosophy, framing migration as an adaptation technique and socio-economic choice (in many cases) rather than a problem to be solved, and focuses on establishing safer, more regular migration by supporting changes to migration governance in sending regions.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Nutrition, health and food security Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion Climate adaptation and mitigation

Covid-19 disruption & adaptation

Covid-19 has caused a rupture in migration logistics and exposed inequities in the migration system, yet drivers of movement remain. Government lockdowns and closed borders due to the pandemic curtailed movement for migrants, posing complex problems for migrant hosting and origin countries. There have been significant economic shocks, with a sharp decline in unemployment for migrants and an inability to send money home through remittances to support family. Some migrants face social stigma for returning home without an income, particularly if families relied on loans to support their journeys. Consequences have been severe for informal migrants who lack government protection in their host countries. Migrants, particularly those living in crowded, lower-income neighborhoods, have been experiencing stigmatization related to the spread of Covid-19. We look at the impacts of Covid-19 on migration governance and rural areas across seven countries, development planning in Ghana, migration challenges in Southeast Asia, and community-based disaster management and resilience building in South Africa.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Nutrition, health and food security Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion

Water, climate change and agrarian stress

Migration, water and climate stress are inextricably linked to rural development. Water stress and climate variability can act as a driver of fragility, intensifying pre-existing political, social, economic and environmental challenges. Initiatives designed to address migration-related challenges must tackle inequalities and the exclusion of women, youth and marginalized groups; governance opportunities to better manage water and natural resources and technology and innovations to help communities escape socio-ecological precarity and thrive despite climate challenges. IWMI intends to build climate resilience by implementing projects which tackle gender-power inequalities in the face of dynamic, economic-social-ecological challenges. Our work brings together affected communities, institutional stakeholders and social actors to manage water in response to climate variability and agrarian stress, striving to address complex physical and social variables.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Nutrition, health and food security Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion Climate adaptation and mitigation

Gender, intersectionality and social inclusion

It is critical to center gender and intersectional identities when unpacking migration phenomena. Gender as a social construct guides social norms and relations, including the decision-making processes and mechanisms leading to migration. We recognize that the intersections between race, age, class, sex, caste and region shape the migrant experience.

IWMI strives to offer transformative approaches and solutions for women, youth and marginalized groups, regarding them as equal partners in our work rather than passive end-users.  For example, within communities that experience male out migration, socio-political systems are restructured to make women, youth and other groups active agents in their own agri-food transformation. Migration patterns contribute to the feminization of agriculture, and women may experience a greater burden of responsibility coupled with an increased ability to access and control resources and policies to build sustainable livelihoods. Acknowledging social complexities helps researchers and communities understand migration trends and address structural power imbalances to build a more equitable world.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Nutrition, health and food security Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion

Innovation bundles

Farmer-led irrigation development is about much more than installing a pump in a field. It requires access to financing, labor, energy, and input and output markets, so that investments in irrigation translate into sustainable returns. IWMI uses a systemic approach to understand the farming system as well as the factors in the enabling environment that prevent women, men and youth from engaging in and benefitting equitably from farmer-led irrigation. We partner with farmers and the public and private sectors to test contextually relevant innovation bundles that combine irrigation technology such as solar pumps with financing mechanisms like pay-as-you-own or pay-as-you-go, agricultural inputs and agronomic techniques. We also look at ways to improve on-farm water management and nutrient use efficiency and reduce evapotranspiration through digital advances and agricultural extension. We integrate the scaling of innovation bundles into agricultural value chains to enhance the impacts on farmers’ irrigation investments, incomes and livelihoods.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Nutrition, health and food security Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion Environmental health and biodiversity Climate adaptation and mitigation

Gender and social inclusion

The barriers facing women and men in accessing irrigation technologies are not the same. Neither are the benefits. Social, cultural and religious norms influence inter- and intra-household power relations. These, in turn, affect access to resources such as land, credit, information and training. IWMI carries out cross-dimensional analysis of gender and social inclusion in policy, financing, livelihood assets and access, institutional approaches and interventions as well as gender-based technology preferences. For example, we work with farmers, financial institutions and the private sector to address gender-based constraints in credit scoring and enhance women’s purchasing power. But benefitting from farmer-led irrigation does not stop at accessing and adopting technologies; enabling women and resource-poor farmers to participate in input and output markets is equally important to ensure that investments in irrigation result in improved nutrition and economic empowerment. Other ways we enhance gender and social inclusion include tackling agency issues around financial management and literacy, livelihood diversity and social capital as well as access to infrastructure, extension services and market linkages.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion

Environmental sustainability

Population pressure and increasing water competition in a changing climate require us to take stock of the availability and use of water across scales. Water availability not only influences farmers’ commercial prospects but also irrigation-related enterprises and agri-businesses. Greater water scarcity could jeopardize irrigation and agricultural markets while excessive water use can lead to declining ecosystems, water quality and soil health. IWMI advises development partners and the public and private sectors on all aspects of water resource availability and use through a variety of advanced modeling and remote-sensing products and tools, including Water Accounting+solar irrigation mapping and internet of things. These are complemented by multi-criteria analysis to evaluate the potential of irrigation expansion, taking into consideration environmental flows. With our private sector partners, we are leveraging converging technologies, such as sensors on solar pumps that capture usage data, to encourage better resource management and governance.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Environmental health and biodiversity Climate adaptation and mitigation

Adaptive scaling and partnerships

The ability of farmers to engage in or expand irrigation depends on the prevailing socioeconomic, ecological and political contexts, which are often complex, non-linear and changeable. Overcoming systemic barriers to farmer-led irrigation development while taking advantage of existing opportunities requires scaling processes to be adaptive. This means diverse actors feed off, adapt to, support, cooperate, compete and interact with each other, forming different multi-actor networks and engaging in collective action to undertake various functions in the scaling ecosystem. IWMI works with farmers and public and private sector partners to co-design and pilot contextually relevant innovation bundles and their scaling pathways or strategies, influence policies and accelerate the transition to scale of innovations with demonstrated early impact.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Nutrition, health and food security Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion Environmental health and biodiversity Climate adaptation and mitigation

Financing ecosystem

A lack of affordable credit, particularly for women and resource-poor farmers, is one of the main barriers to expanding farmer-led irrigation in low- and middle-income countries. But credit alone is not enough. Financing for irrigation equipment must be embedded in a wider financing ecosystem that bundles credit with inputs and services, market information and access, and technology such as digital payment. In several countries, irrigation equipment suppliers are stepping in to provide financing directly to farmers. In doing so, they increase their own risk. To address this issue, IWMI works with farmers, private companies, finance institutions and development partners such as the World Bank Group to analyze whether credit-scoring tools are inclusive. We also help to identify gaps in the financing ecosystem and de-risk the private sector from testing innovative end-user financing mechanisms that take into account farming system typologies, financial and social capital and crop seasonality.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion

Human capacity development and knowledge exchange

Scaling farmer-led irrigation requires strengthening human capacity and knowledge exchange among all actors and stakeholders involved. IWMI takes an action research approach, working with national and international research institutions, governments, extension agents and public and private organizations to co-develop the scaling ecosystem and strengthen capacity to drive scaling networks and collective action. We support the development of or reinforce national multi-stakeholder dialogues with the aim of sharing scaling experiences and realizing win-win collaboration, interactive learning and capacity development. Other modalities for capacity development include hackathons, innovation research grants for bachelor’s and master’s students, private sector scaling grants and innovation internships with private companies. These all serve to stimulate local and contextually relevant innovation, close the research-private sector divide and enhance job readiness among young professionals.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Nutrition, health and food security Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion Environmental health and biodiversity Climate adaptation and mitigation

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