Optimising the water we eat - rethinking policy to enhance productive and sustainable use of water in agri-food systems across scales
Sustainable and resilient food systems depend on sustainable and resilient water management. Resilience is characterised by overlapping decision spaces and scales and interdependencies among water users and competing sectors. Increasing water scarcity, due to climate change and other environmental and societal changes, makes putting caps on the consumption of water resources indispensable. Implementation requires an understanding of different domains, actors, and their objectives, and drivers and barriers to transformational change. We suggest a scale-specific approach, in which agricultural water use is embedded in a larger systems approach (including natural and human systems). This approach is the basis for policy coherence and the design of effective incentive schemes to change agricultural water use behaviour and, therefore, optimise the water we eat.
Sustainable Development Goals / Resilience / Climate change / Water users / Groundwater / Water management / Water productivity / Water scarcity / Water resources / Food security / Food production / Agricultural production / Policies / Agrifood systems / Water use efficiency / Sustainable use / Agricultural water use
Monitoring spatial-temporal variations of surface areas of small reservoirs in Ghana’s Upper East Region using Sentinel-2 satellite imagery and machine learning
Small reservoirs are one of the most important sources of water for irrigation, domestic and livestock uses in the Upper East Region (UER) of Ghana. Despite various studies on small reservoirs in the region, information on their spatial-temporal variations is minimal. Therefore, this study performed a binary Random Forest classification on Sentinel-2 images for five consecutive dry seasons between 2015 and 2020. The small reservoirs were then categorized according to landscape positions (upstream, midstream, and downstream) using a flow accumulation process. The classification produced an average overall accuracy of 98% and a root mean square error of 0.087 ha. It also indicated that there are currently 384 small reservoirs in the UER (of surface area between 0.09 and 37 ha), with 20% of them newly constructed between the 2016-17 and 2019-20 seasons. The study revealed that upstream reservoirs have smaller sizes and are likely to dry out during the dry season while downstream reservoirs have larger sizes and retain substantial amounts of water even at the end of the dry season. The results further indicated that about 78% of small reservoirs will maintain an average of 54% of their water surface area by the end of the dry season. This indicates significant water availability which can be effectively utilized to expand dry season irrigation. Overall, we demonstrate that landscape positions have significant impact on the spatial-temporal variations of small reservoirs in the UER. The study also showed the effectiveness of remote sensing and machine learning algorithms as tools for monitoring small reservoirs.
Machine learning / Satellite imagery / Climate variability / Remote sensing / Reservoirs
Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) in a refugee context in East Africa: kitchen gardening helps with mineral provision
Kitchen gardening is considered a way to reconnect with agriculture and complement the cereal-based relief food offered to refugees in East Africa. This work aimed at profiling mineral content of okra in four refugee camps and settlements located in Ethiopia and Uganda and its contribution to adequate intake (AIs) or recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) for young children and pregnant and lactating women (PLW). The study also evaluated the applicability of portable X-ray fluorescence (PXRF) as compared with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) for mineral profiling of okra powder samples. The contents of minerals (mg kg-1) from the ICP-MS readings were in the following ranges: K (14,385–33,294), Ca (2610–14,090), P (3178–13,248), Mg (3896–7986), Cu (3.81–19.3), Fe (75.7–1243), Zn (33–141) and Mn (23.1–261). Regardless of geographic origin, at low-end consumption probability (17 g day-1 for young children and 68 g day-1 for PLW), okra could contribute 15% (2.7–12.9%) AI for macro-minerals (K and Ca). In addition, the contributions to RDA values for Fe and Zn, elements of known public health interest, ranged from 4.5 to 34.7% for young children. Interestingly, regression lines revealed strong agreement between ICP-MS and PXRF readings for Mn and Zn, with R2 valuesgt;0.91. This information is useful in support of nutrition-sensitive kitchen gardening programs through scaling culturally important crops in refugee settings.
Public health / Children / Women / Nutrition / Recommended dietary allowances / Mineral content / Domestic gardens / Settlement / Refugees / Abelmoschus esculentus / Food consumption
The contribution of tipping fees to the operation, maintenance, and management of fecal sludge treatment plants: the case of Ghana
Globally, collection of tipping fees is being promoted as a solution to sustain the operation of fecal sludge treatment plants (FSTPs). Currently, there are six large-scale FSTPs in Ghana, of which five were in operation in June 2017. In Kumasi, Sekondi-Takoradi and Tamale, fecal sludge (FS) is co-treated with landfill leachate using waste stabilization ponds (WSPs). In Tema and Accra, FS is treated using WSPs and a mechanical dewatering system coupled with an upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB). The focus of this study is FSTPs and to assess how, and if, the tipping fees set by the municipalities could enable cost recovery to sustain their long-term operation. Using a questionnaire survey to interview plant managers from the public and private sectors, and directors of waste management departments, we found that the overall average operation, maintenance and management (OMamp;M) costs per 1000 m3 of treated waste (FS or FS + leachate) in 2017 were USD89 in Kumasi, USD150 in Tamale, USD179 in Tema, USD244 in Sekondi-Takoradi and USD1,743 in Accra. There were important disparities between FSTPs due to their scale, age, and level of treatment and monitoring. Currently, most FSTPs charge tipping fees that range between USD310 and USD530/1000 m3 of FS, averaging USD421 98/1000 m3 of FS discharged at FSTPs. Our study also showed that the OMamp;M costs of large-scale intensive FSTPs cannot be sustained by relying solely on tipping fees. However, there could be potential to cover the routine expenditures associated with operating smaller FSTPs that relying on WSP technologies.
Developing countries / Cost recovery / Stabilization ponds / Waste management / Public-private partnerships / Maintenance / Treatment plants / Faecal sludge
Berken plow and intercropping with pigeon pea ameliorate degraded soils with a hardpan in the Ethiopian highlands
Closing the yield gap and enhancing efficiency in rainfed maize production systems in Ethiopia requires urgent action in increasing the productivity of degraded agricultural land. The degradation of land through continuous compaction and decline in the organic matter has resulted in a wide-spread formation of a hardpan that restricts deep percolation, prevents plant root development, and, ultimately can lead to increased erosion. Studies exploring practical low-cost solutions to break the hardpan are limited in Ethiopia. The main objective was to evaluate soil mechanical (i.e. modified plow or Berken plow) or biological intervention (i.e. intercropping with pigeon pea) effectiveness to enhance soil water management and crop yield of rainfed maize systems whilst reducing soil erosion and runoff. Five farm fields, each including four plots with different tillage treatments, were monitored during two rainy seasons in 2016 and 2017. The treatments were: (i) farmers practice under conventional (CT) tillage; plots tilled three times using an oxen driven local plow Maresha, (ii) no-till (NT), (iii) Berken tillage (BT), plots tilled three times using an oxen pulled Berken plow, and (iv) biological (CT + Bio), taprooted pigeon pea intercropped with maize on plots conventionally tilled. Results showed that mean tillage depth was significantly deeper in the BT (28 cm) treatment compared to CT and CT + Bio (18 cm) treatments. Measured soil penetration resistance significantly decreased up to 40 cm depth under BT and maize roots reached 1.5 times deeper compared to roots measured in the CT treatment. Under BT, the estimated water storage in the root zone was estimated at 556 mm, 1.86 times higher compared to CT, 3.11 times higher compared to NT and 0.89 times higher compared to CT + Bio. The positive effects on increased water storage and root development resulted in an average increase in maize grain (i.e. 15%, 0.95 t ha- 1 ) and residual above ground biomass (0.3%, 6.4 t ha- 1 ) leading to a positive net benefit of 138 USD ha- 1 for the BT treatment compared to the CT treatment. The negative net benefit obtained under CT and CT+Bio was mainly related to the high labor cost related to plowing, weeding, planting, and fertilizer application whilst in the NT this was related to the significantly lower maize yields. The positive effects in the BT treatment, and to some extent the CT+Bio treatment show great potential for smallholder rainfed maize systems where degraded soils with hardpans and high variability in rainfall prevail.
Watersheds / Sediment / Infiltration / Soil chemicophysical properties / Crop yield / Economic analysis / Farmers / Smallholders / Highlands / Water storage / Runoff / Rainfed farming / Tillage / Soil moisture / Hardpans / Soil analysis / Soil degradation / Soil penetration resistance / Pigeon peas / Maize / Intercropping / Agricultural production
Mapping land suitability for informal, small-scale irrigation development using spatial modelling and machine learning in the Upper East Region, Ghana
Small-scale irrigation has gained momentum in recent years as one of the development priorities in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, farmer-led irrigation is often informal with little support from extension services and a paucity of data on land suitability for irrigation. To map the spatial explicit suitability for dry season small-scale irrigation, we developed a method using an ensemble of boosted regression trees, random forest, and maximum entropy machine learning models for the Upper East Region of Ghana. Both biophysical predictors including surface and groundwater availability, climate, topography and soil properties, and socio-economic predictors which represent demography and infrastructure development such as accessibility to cities and proximity to roads were considered. We assessed that 179,584 49,853 ha is suitable for dry-season small-scale irrigation development when only biophysical variables are considered, and 158,470 27,222 ha when socio-economic variables are included alongside the biophysical predictors, representing 77-89% of the current rainfed-croplands. Travel time to cities, accessibility to small reservoirs, exchangeable sodium percentage, surface runoff that can be potentially stored in reservoirs, population density, proximity to roads, and elevation percentile were the top predictors of small-scale irrigation suitability. These results suggested that the availability of water alone is not a sufficient indicator for area suitability for small-scale irrigation. This calls for strategic road infrastructure development and an improvement in the support to farmers for market accessibility. The suitability for small-scale irrigation should be put in the local context of market availability, demographic indicators, and infrastructure development.
Socioeconomic aspects / Population density / Reservoirs / Forecasting / Dry season / Soil properties / Land cover / Land use / Water availability / Groundwater / Semiarid zones / Food security / Machine learning / Modelling / Land suitability / Small scale systems / Farmer-led irrigation
This paper highlights how farmers in a northern Lao village transformed their customary land rights – in the face of incoherent overlapping state territorialization attempts – into a territorial strategy to secure their land tenure. By planting rubber, some villagers have engaged in a crop boom to lay claim to land which has recently been zoned for upland rice cultivation (and conservation) as part of a state-led land use planning initiative. We show how internal resettlement, ethnic division and the influx of commercial agriculture in the Lao uplands intersect in a novel land use planning process and predetermine the plan’s actual significance.
Households / Cash crops / Strategies / Farmers / Social structure / Villages / Ethnic groups / Communities / Institutions / State intervention / Land governance / Concession (land) / Customary land rights / Highlands / Resettlement / Rubber industry / Land use planning
Informing equitable water and food policies through accurate spatial information on irrigated areas in smallholder farming systems
Accurate information on irrigated areas’ spatial distribution and extent are crucial in enhancing agricultural water productivity, water resources management, and formulating strategic policies that enhance water and food security and ecologically sustainable development. However, data are typically limited for smallholder irrigated areas, which is key to achieving social equity and equal distribution of financial resources. This study addressed this gap by delineating disaggregated smallholder and commercial irrigated areas through the random forest algorithm, a non-parametric machine learning classifier. Location within or outside former apartheid “homelands” was taken as a proxy for smallholder, and commercial irrigation. Being in a medium rainfall area, the huge irrigation potential of the Inkomati-Usuthu Water Management Area (UWMA) is already well developed for commercial crop production outside former homelands. However, information about the spatial distribution and extent of irrigated areas within former homelands, which is largely informal, was missing. Therefore, we first classified cultivated lands in 2019 and 2020 as a baseline, from where the Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) was used to distinguish irrigated from rainfed, focusing on the dry winter period when crops are predominately irrigated. The mapping accuracy of 84.9% improved the efficacy in defining the actual spatial extent of current irrigated areas at both smallholder and commercial spatial scales. The proportion of irrigated areas was high for both commercial (92.5%) and smallholder (96.2%) irrigation. Moreover, smallholder irrigation increased by over 19% between 2019 and 2020, compared to slightly over 7% in the commercial sector. Such information is critical for policy formulation regarding equitable and inclusive water allocation, irrigation expansion, land reform, and food and water security in smallholder farming systems.
Normalized difference vegetation index / Datasets / Sustainable development / Farmers / Crop production / Catchment areas / Cultivated land / Irrigated land / Rainfed farming / Spatial distribution / Water security / Food security / Food policies / Water policies / Irrigated farming / Farming systems / Smallholders
Implications of water abstraction on the interconnected Central Rift Valley Lakes Sub-Basin of Ethiopia using WEAP
Study region: Central Rift Valley Lakes sub-basin, Ethiopia. Study focus: The competition for water is rapidly increasing in Central Rift Valley lakes sub-basin due to the combined effect of various water resources developments. However, the impacts of recent and future water resources development pathways on the water balance of the three interconnected lakes (i.e. Lake Ziway, Langano and Abiyata) are unknown. The Water Evaluation And Planning (WEAP) model was used to assess the development impacts on water resources of the interconnected lakes. We considered three development pathways that are, recent (2009–2018), short-term (2019–2028) and long-term development (2029–2038). Lake Ziway water inflows from six catchments were estimated using the Hydrologiska Byrns Vattenbalansavdelning (HBV) rainfall-runoff model. Crop water requirements for irrigation schemes were estimated by the CROPWAT model. New hydrological insights for the region: WEAP simulations show a total water demand of 102.3 Mm3 under the recent development pathway that increases by 46% and 118% for short-term and long-term development pathways, respectively. This will notably affect the water balance of the interconnected lakes and cause an unmet water demand of 47.9 Mm3 for the long-term (2028–2038). For Lake Ziway and Abiyata, water levels will decrease substantially to cause water scarcity in the long-term, and developments in Lake Ziway will significantly affect water storage in Lake Abiyata storages in Lake Abiyata. Overall, future developments will threaten the water resource of the interconnected lake system.
Models / Stream flow / Environmental flows / Water resources development / Water extraction / Water demand
Establishing worldwide sustainable and phosphorus efficient cropping systems is urgently needed because the supply of suitable phosphate rock is limited, and excess phosphorus in streams causes eutrophication. One of the impediments in the developing world for sustainable P practices is the lack of studies on P transport and its eventual disposition in the environment. One of these regions with few studies is the Ethiopian Highlands, with permeable volcanic soils. The objective was to establish baseline data on P watershed export in the (sub)humid highlands. Two contrasting watersheds were selected near Lake Tana. For 2 years, stream discharge and sediment, total P, dissolved P, and bioavailable particulate P concentrations were determined at the watershed outlet. The first watershed is the 57 km2 Dangishta, with lava intrusion dikes, forcing subsurface flow through faults to the surface and preventing gully formation. Subsurface flow was half of the 1745 mm annual precipitation, and surface runoff and erosion were minimal. The second watershed is the 9 km2 Robit Bata with 1,420 mm precipitation. The banks of several river banks were slumping. The upper part of the watershed generates saturation excess runoff. A hillslope aquifer in the lower part provided interflow. The average sediment concentrations of 10.5 g L-1 in the stream in Robit Bata (11 times that in Dangishta) reflected the sediments from banks slipping in the stream. The hydrology and the soil loss directly affected the phosphorus export. In Dangishta, the total P concentration averaged 0.5 mg L-1 at the outlet. In Robit Bata, the average total P concentration was 2 mg L-1 . The bioavailable particulate P concentration was only twice the concentration in the runoff water. The low phosphorus content of the subsoil slipping in Robit Bata moderated biologically available particulate P at the outlet. Average dissolved P concentrations for both watersheds were around 0.1 mg L-1 in the low range found in temperate climates. It reflects the difference in length of time that phosphorus fertilizers have been applied. Our research concludes that commonly implemented practices such as strengthening river banks and stabilizing gully might not lead to improved water quality in Lake Tana.
Sediment / Land use / Discharges / Precipitation / Soil loss / Runoff / Rural areas / Watersheds / Phosphorus / Highlands
Participation and politics in transboundary hydropower development: the case of the Pak Beng Dam in Laos
Hydropower development in the lower Mekong Basin is being rapidly developed. Taking the Pak Beng hydropower project in Laos as a case study, this paper looks at participation and politics in transboundary hydropower development, how the latter is revealed by multiple, parallel institutional architectures in hydropower decision-making across scales, and its implications for transboundary environmental governance. We look at the institutional disjuncture in hydropower decision-making, how it is (re)produced by powerful, albeit conflicting narratives at respectively national and transboundary levels, power relations shaping these narratives, and how these translate into local communityapos;s limited ability to convey their voices and represent their development needs. Conceptually, the paper sheds light on the underlying politics in transboundary environmental governance by bringing to light the structural factors that prevent participation, including how these factors are justified, sustained and to a certain extent reproduced as an integral part of legal, policy, and institutional landscapes that govern hydropower decision-making across scales (e.g., local to transboundary).
Governance / Participation / International waters / Hydropower
Increased antimicrobial use during COVID-19: the risk of advancing the threat of antimicrobial resistance
Risk / Antimicrobial resistance / COVID-19
Parameters / Financial analysis / Private sector / Sanitation / Resource recovery / Landfills / Biogas / Composting / Recycling / Treatment plants / Waste disposal / Waste treatment / Waste collection / Faecal sludge / Solid wastes / Assessment / Waste management / Municipal authorities / Urban wastes / Organic wastes
Natural and anthropogenic sources of salinity in the Awash River and Lake Beseka (Ethiopia): modelling impacts of climate change and lake-river interactions
Study region: Awash River Basin, Ethiopia Study focus: Many river basins in sub-Saharan Africa have become vulnerable due to the impact from climate change, weak governance and high levels of poverty. One of the primary concerns is the elevated salinity and the degradation of water quality in the Awash River. Located in the Great Rift Valley in Ethiopia, the Awash River has unique hydrochemistry due to water-rock interactions. However, in recent years, increasing anthropogenic activities including the discharge from saline Lake Beseka into the Awash River has caused some concern. This study used an Integrated Catchment Model to simulate chloride concentration in the Awash River Basin by taking both natural and anthropogenic sources of salinity into consideration. Future scenarios of climate change and Lake Beseka discharge were examined to assess the impact to the river water quality. New hydrologic insights: Results show that Lake Beseka has made significant contribution to the rise of the salinity in the Awash River. If the trend of human interference (e.g. increased irrigation and unregulated water transfer) continues, the river downstream of Lake Beseka could see Cl increases up to 200 % in the near future (2006–2030). The modeling results are essential for generating long term plans for proper utilization of water resources especially in the region where the resources and the economic capacity to meet the water demand is lacking.
Modelling / Anthropogenic factors / Chlorides / Salinity / Climate change
Governance analysis for urban-wholesale-to-household’s food waste prevention and reduction in Sri Lanka
Institutions / Climate change / Nutrition / Food safety / Policies / Legislation / Guidelines / Waste management / Wholesale markets / Household wastes / Urban areas / Frameworks / Governance / Waste reduction / Food wastes
Institutions / Policies / Food production / Solid wastes / Local authorities / Municipal authorities / Urban areas / Waste management / Stakeholder analysis / Waste reduction / Food wastes
Impact of natural and anthropogenic stresses on surface and groundwater supply sources of the Upper Awash Sub-Basin, Central Ethiopia
Improving water security is critical to delivering the best outcomes for development. In Ethiopia, the upper Awash sub-basin supports expanding urban and industrial areas, with increasing water demands. Studies have preferentially focused either on surface water hydrology or on groundwater characterization. However, novel tools are required to support the conjunctive use of surface and groundwater for competing users under potential climate change impacts. In this paper, we present research based on a WEAPMODFLOW link configured for four catchments in the upper Awash sub-basin (Akaki, Melka Kunture, Mojo, and Koka). The Akaki catchment supplies water for Addis Ababa city. Unlike most surface water hydrological models, both supply (surface water and groundwater) and demand (domestic, industrial, and livestock) are modeled. The tool was used to evaluate the impacts of population growth, leakage, expansion of surface and groundwater supply schemes, and climate change scenarios up to the year 2030. Considering the high population growth rate scenario for Addis Ababa city, the unmet domestic water demand may increase to 760 MCM in 2030. Water leakage through poor water supply distribution networks contributed about 23% of the unmet water demand. Though not significant compared with population and water loss stresses, climate change also affect the supply demand condition in the basin. Planning for more groundwater abstraction without considering additional surface water reservoir schemes will noticeably impact the groundwater resource, with groundwater levels projected to decline by more than 20 m. Even more groundwater level decline is observed In the Akaki catchment, where Addis Ababa city is located. Conjunctive use of surface and groundwater not only boosts the supply demand situation in the basin but will lift off some of the stresses from the groundwater resources. Even under the likely increase in temperature and low precipitation climate scenarios, the conjunctive use resulted in a significant increase in domestic water demand coverage from 26% for the reference condition to 90% in 2030, with minimum effect on the groundwater resources. To improve water security conditions through sustainable utilization of both surface and groundwater resources, policy responses need to consider surface and groundwater conjunctive use. Minimizing water leakage should also be given the highest priority.
Models / Climate change / Livestock / Water demand / Water security / Water supply / Groundwater / Surface water
Promoting inclusivity and equity in information and communications technology for food, land, and water systems
Sustainable Development Goals / Gender / Models / Innovation / Digital divide / Social change / Water systems / Inclusion / Equity / Information and Communication Technologies
Participatory management and sustainable use of groundwater: a review of the Andhra Pradesh Farmer-Managed Groundwater Systems project in India
This GRIPP Case Profile assesses whether the proactive involvement of rural communities in the management of groundwater positively contributes towards sustainable resource use. The assessment uses the long-term (2003-2013) Andhra Pradesh Farmer-Managed Groundwater Systems (APFAMGS) project in India as a case study. Implemented across seven districts, the assessment is based on a critical review and synthesis of existing literature and complementary field visits conducted five years after project closure. APFAMGS worked towards creating awareness and bringing about behavioral change to achieve sustainable groundwater use, primarily for irrigation. The approach focused on knowledge transfer and capacity building to set up participatory processes conducive to informal management measures, and technologies supporting participatory hydrological monitoring and crop water budgeting. In addition, awareness creation in relation to demand as well as supply side management options was critical. The analysis suggests that APFAMGS has helped in filling the knowledge and information gaps on groundwater resources among local farming communities. Some degree of long-term reduction in groundwater pumping was observed, but the attribution to the project is not clear, and effects on reducing groundwater level declines may be limited and localized. The APFAMGS approach of participatory groundwater management (PGM) fell short in terms of equity considerations, with implications for the institutional sustainability of the approach. The study provides policy guidance for adopting more inclusive PGM-based institutions on a wider scale.
Villages / Rural communities / Socioeconomic aspects / Food security / Livelihoods / Water user associations / Non-governmental organizations / Funding / Institutions / Water budget / Crop production / Equity / Regulations / Water policies / Hydrological factors / Groundwater level / Wells / Pumping / Groundwater extraction / Behavioural changes / Technology transfer / Awareness-raising / Capacity development / Project evaluation / Water systems / Farmer-led irrigation / Sustainable use / Water use efficiency / Participatory management / Groundwater management
Working / Discussion Paper
Bundled weather index insurance pilot for drought-affected areas in Sri Lanka: reaching marginal farmers
Drought is an almost annual phenomenon in Sri Lanka, occurring at varying degrees of severity and affecting many parts of the country. These droughts cause significant damage to agriculture and other economic and social activities. This paper assesses the effectiveness of satellite-based weather Index insurance (WII) bundled with real-time climate and agronomic advisory services provided to farmers’ mobile phones. The aim is to enhance the drought resilience of diverse groups of farmers by providing solutions and strategies to extend bundled insurance products to more people and address equity issues. In this pilot, an insurance product was introduced to farmers in a village in the North Central Dry Zone of Sri Lanka. WII products are seen as a part of the solution to reducing farmers’ risk to climate change. However, in many places, the structure of insurance schemes in the agriculture sector has failed to reach small-scale and marginal farmers who are most in need of risk transfer mechanisms. Based on a farmer survey, we extracted lessons from implementing a bundled insurance scheme as a pilot project to explore the utility of farmer organizations as an entry point for engaging different farmer groups and ensuring they can understand the WII insurance products and can make informed choices. The survey results show that efforts made at the outset to understand contextual issues and challenges contributed to an effective product design and rollout approach. The rollout was more effective due in part to a partnership with an established local organization while adopting an aggregator model. Covid-19 mobility restrictions prevented full implementation of the rollout. Index insurance bundled with mobile weather and agronomic advisories increased farmer resilience and reached diverse groups. Farmers emphasized that being able to assess the costs and benefits based on understanding how key elements of the product work is key to their future engagement with such products, which highlights the importance of investing in awareness raising through a blend of print, verbal and visual tools that make complex products understandable to stakeholders with low levels of literacy.
Models / Mobile phones / Socioeconomic environment / Households / Communities / Landlessness / Smallholders / Women / Gender / Partnerships / Stakeholders / Equity / Cost benefit analysis / Insurance premiums / Decision making / Resilience / Disaster risk reduction / Risk transfer / Compensation / Crop losses / Climate change / Arid zones / Awareness-raising / Advisory services / Farmers organizations / Pilot projects / Drought / Crop insurance / Weather index insurance
Working / Discussion Paper
Irrigation expansion is a critical development intervention to address food security challenges in Ethiopia. However, only a fraction of the country’s irrigation potential has been utilized so far. Information about the location and spatial extent of irrigated and rainfed areas is an important requirement for sustainable water resources development and agricultural planning. Currently, considerable variations exist in the irrigated area estimates made by different government agencies. In addition, irrigated area maps created as part of global mapping efforts have a spatial resolution of anywhere between 10 kilometers and 250 meters, making them too coarse for planning and management at a subnational scale. This study aims to develop an irrigated area map of Ethiopia using satellite images to support agricultural water management practices in the country, using multi-temporal, multi-resolution data sets from 2015 to 2016 with a spatial resolution of 30 m. The total area of croplands was estimated as 21.8 million hectares (Mha), of which only 1.11 Mha were mapped as the irrigated area. This is only around 5% of the estimated total agricultural area. The accuracy of the results was evaluated using geographic coordinates of irrigated areas provided by the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture. The results confirmed that irrigated areas can be identified reasonably well by analyzing seasonal trends in vegetation and moisture levels.
Time series analysis / Moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer / Normalized difference vegetation index / Datasets / Rainfall patterns / Weather data / Landsat / Satellite imagery / Land cover / Moisture content / Dry season / Biomass / Water management / Farmland / Irrigated land / Remote sensing / Mapping / Rainfed agriculture / Irrigated farming
Books / Monograph
Resource book on springshed management in the Indian Himalayan Region: guidelines for policy makers and development practitioners
Isotope analysis / Villages / Livelihoods / Social inclusion / Gender equality / Awareness-raising / Capacity development / Citizen science / Community involvement / Participatory approaches / Stakeholders / Government agencies / Civil society organizations / Water user groups / Payments for ecosystem services / Discharges / Hydrogeology / Databases / Data management / Scaling / Impact assessment / Geographical information systems / Remote sensing / Monitoring / Groundwater recharge / Water budget / Aquifers / Water security / Funding / Financial analysis / Technology / Policies / Best practices / Guidelines / Water management / Water springs
Data sharing in transboundary waters: current extent, future potential and practical recommendations
Data exchange in transboundary waters is fundamental to advance cooperation in water management. Nonetheless, the degree to which data are actually shared is falling short of basin-level and international targets. A global assessment revealed that a reasonable proportion of river basins exchange some data, but the breadth of such exchange is often limited and not regular. More in-depth examination of African basins nonetheless suggests that a real need for, and use of, water data appears to motivate exchange. Indeed, evidence suggests that data exchange needs which are more directly felt enhance exchange, e.g., the direct need to minimize flood impacts or manage transboundary infrastructure. As such, data sharing is much more likely to be considered as being successful if it responds to a palpable need and serves practical uses. Also, in developing data exchange programs, it may be prudent to adopt a focused and sequential approach to data exchange that starts with a short-list of most needed parameters.
Monitoring / Drought / Floods / International agreements / International cooperation / Water policies / Environmental impact / Risk assessment / Water quality / Water use / Modelling / Data transmission / Parameters / Groundwater / Surface water / Water management / Frameworks / River basin management / International waters / Information exchange / Data management
Governments in sub-Saharan Africa promote the expansion of irrigation to improve food security, primarily through the adoption and use of groundwater-based smallholder private irrigation. Using the case of Ethiopia, we examine farmers’ willingness to adopt smallholder private irrigation packages in response to subsidies on pump prices, loan availability and reduction in ambiguities related to borehole drilling. The results of the research highlight that subsidizing pump prices may not be the best use of public funds to expand irrigation. Instead, decreasing ambiguities around borehole drilling is likely to play a significant role and is a cost-effective step toward expanding groundwater-based irrigation and increasing the adoption of pumps by small-scale farmers. The policy implication is that the government should help farmers minimize the uncertainties and cost of unsuccessful drilling. This will require the government to study groundwater hydrogeology, use information on groundwater depth, seasonality and recharge to drill boreholes, and absorb the costs of unsuccessful drilling.
Smallholders / Hunger / Policies / Forecasting / Climate change / Irrigated land / Solar energy / Water drilling / Wells / Boreholes / Groundwater extraction / Private ownership / Pumps / Loans / Water pricing / Farmer-led irrigation / Groundwater irrigation
Urban areas / Sanitation / Health hazards / Socioeconomic impact / Sustainability / Donors / Capacity development / Public-private partnerships / Ponds / Aquaculture / Organic fertilizers / Faecal sludge / Solid wastes / Business models / Reuse / Resource recovery / Food security / Energy generation / Wastewater / Waste management / Circular economy
Solar-powered irrigation has expanded in India at an unprecedented pace—the number of solar irrigation pumps—from less than 4,000 in 2012 to more than 2,50,000 by 2019. It has been argued that besides giving farmers an additional and reliable source of income, grid-connected SIPs also incentivise efficient energy and water use—critical for sustaining groundwater irrigation. The Surya Raitha scheme was the country’s first, state-driven initiative for solarisation of agriculture feeders by replacing subsidy-guzzling, inefficient electric pumps with energy-efficient, net-metered SIPs. An early appraisal of Surya Raitha lauded the scheme as a smart initiative and argued that it could set an example for promoting solar power as a remunerative crop. However, the scheme was eventually executed as a single feeder pilot with some design changes in Nalahalli panchayat from 2015–18. The authors visited the pilot in 2017–18 and 2018–19 to assess if it had delivered the promises of Surya Raitha scheme. The results are a mixed bag and offer important lessons for implementation and scaling out of component C of the Government of India’s Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan policy.
Pilot projects / Irrigated land / Farmers / Water use / Energy consumption / Electricity / Energy generation / Pumping / Groundwater / Pumps / Irrigation / Solar energy
Assessment / Public-private partnerships / Waste management / Frameworks / Innovation / Business models / Scaling / Reuse / Resource recovery
Compost quality and markets are pivotal for sustainability in circular food-nutrient systems: a case study of Sri Lanka
Sustainable management of municipal solid waste (MSW) is a critical issue around the world, especially in South Asia where waste generation is expected to double by 2050. Closing the food-nutrient cycle through composting biodegradable MSW has the potential to meet human needs, including sanitation and food security, while protecting the environment. We use an interdisciplinary case study approach including systems thinking to assess Sri Lanka’s national MSW composting system, which primarily receives residential and commercial food waste. We embed quantitative compost quality analysis and interviews at 20 composting facilities within a broader qualitative assessment informed by ~60 stakeholders in total. This approach yields insights on how institutional, economic, social, and biophysical aspects of the system are interrelated, and how challenges and solutions can create undesirable and desirable cascading effects, respectively. Such dynamics can create risks of composting facility failure and unintended consequences, diminishing the chances of achieving a sustainable circular food–nutrient system. Compost quality, which was variable, plays a pivotal role within the system—a function of program design and implementation, as well as a determinant of value capture in a circular economy. We make several recommendations to inform future efforts to sustainably manage biodegradable MSW using composting, drawing on our case study of Sri Lanka and prior case studies from other nations. Key among these is the need for increased emphasis on compost product quality and markets in policy and program design and implementation. Targeted measures are needed to improve waste separation, boost compost quality, effectively use compost standards, encourage compost market development, ringfence the revenues generated at municipal compost plants, and identify efficient modes of compost distribution. Such measures require adequate space and infrastructure for composting, resource investment, local expertise to guide effective system management, strong links with the agriculture sector, and continued political support.
Case studies / Social aspects / Economic aspects / Stakeholders / Policies / Standards / Organic fertilizers / Biodegradable products / Waste management / Food wastes / Solid wastes / Urban wastes / Circular economy / Sustainability / Nutrients / Food systems / Markets / Product quality / Composting
Most of the part of India is already under water-stressed condition. In this regard, the continuous monitoring of the water levels (WL) and storage capacity of reservoirs, lakes, and rivers is very important for the estimation and utilization of water resources effectively. The long term ground observed WL of many of the water bodies is not easily available, which may be very critical for proper water resources management. Satellite radar altimetry is the remote sensing technique, which is being used to study sea surface height for the last three decades. The advancement in radar technology with time has provided the opportunity to exploit the technique to retrieve the WL of inland water bodies. In the current study, an attempt has been made to generate long term time series on WL of around 29 geometrically complicated inland water bodies in India. These water bodies are mainly large reservoirs namely Ban Sagar, Balimela, Bargi, Bhakra, Gandhi Sagar, Hasdeo, Indravati, Jalaput, Kadana, Kolab, Mahi Bajaj, Maithon, Massanjore, Pong, Ramganga, Ranapratap Sagar, Rihand, Sardar Sarovar, Shivaji Sagar, Tilaiya, Ujjani, and Ukai. The WL of these water bodies was retrieved for around two decades using the European Remote-Sensing Satellite – 2 (ERS-2), ENVISAT Radar Altimeter – 2 (ENVISAT RA-2), and Saral-AltiKa altimeters data through Ice-1 retracking algorithm. Further, an attempt has also been made to estimate the WL of gauged/ungauged lakes namely Mansarovar, Pangong, Chilika, Bhopal, and Rann of Kutch over which Saral-AltiKa pass was there. As after July 2016, the SARAL-AltiKa is operating in the drifting orbit, systematic repeated observation of WL data of all reservoirs was not possible. The data of drifted tracks of Saral-AltiKa were tested for WL estimation of Ban Sagar reservoir. As the ERS-2, ENVISAT RA-2 and Saral-AltiKa all were having almost the same passing tracks, a long term WL series of these lakes could be generated from 1997 to 2016. However, at present only Sentinel – 3 is in orbit, the continuous altimeter based WL monitoring of some of these reservoirs (Gandhi Sagar, Nathsagar, Ranapratap, Ujjani, and Ukai) was attempted through Sentinel-3A satellite data from 2016 to 2018. The accuracy of the retrieved WL was than validated against the observed WL. In most of the reservoirs, a systematic bias was found due to the different characteristics and geoid height of each reservoir. The coefficient of determination, R2 , value for a majority of reser voirs was as good as 0.9. In the case of ERS-2, the values of R2 varied for 0.44–0.97 with root mean square error (RMSE) in the range of 0.63–2.72 m. These statistics improved with the ENVISAT RA-2 data analysis, the R2 value reached more than 0.90 for around 11 reservoirs. The highest, 0.99, for Hasdeo and Shivaji Sagar Reservoirs with RMSE of 0.44 and 0.56, respectively. Further, the accuracy improved with the analysis of Saral-AltiKa data. The R2 was always more than 0.9 for each reservoir a
Time series analysis / Altimeters / Satellite observation / Water resources / Inland waters / Lakes / Reservoirs / Estimation / Water levels
Revisiting the levels of aerosol optical depth in South-Southeast Asia, Europe and USA amid the COVID-19 pandemic using satellite observations
The countries around the world are dealing with air quality issues for decades due to their mode of production and energy usages. The outbreak of COVID-19 as a pandemic and consequent global economic shutdown, for the first time, provided a base for the real-time experiment of the effect of reduced emissions across the globe in abetting the air pollution issue. The present study dealt with the changes in Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD), a marker of air pollution, because of global economic shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. The study considered the countries in south and south-east Asia (SSEA), Europe and the USA for their extended period of lockdown due to coronavirus pandemic. Daily Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) from Moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) and tropospheric column density of NO2 and SO2 from Ozone monitoring instrument (OMI) sensors, including meteorological data such as wind speed (WS) and relative humidity (RH) were analyzed during the pre-lockdown (2017–2019) and lockdown periods (2020). The average AOD, NO2 and SO2 during the lockdown period were statistically compared with their pre-lockdown average using Wilcoxon-signed-paired-rank test. The accuracy of the MODIS-derived AOD, including the changing pattern of AOD due to lockdown was estimated using AERONET data. The weekly anomaly of AOD, NO2 and SO2 was used for analyzing the space-time variation of aerosol load as restrictions were imposed by the concerned countries at the different points of time. Additionally, a random forest-based regression (RF) model was used to examine the effects of meteorological and emission parameters on the spatial variation of AOD. A significant reduction of AOD (- 20%) was obtained for majority of the areas in SSEA, Europe and USA during the lockdown period. Yet, the clusters of increased AOD (30–60%) was obtained in the south-east part of SSEA, the western part of Europe and US regions. NO2 reductions were measured up to 20–40%, while SO2 emission increased up to 30% for a majority of areas in these regions. A notable space-time variation was observed in weekly anomaly. We found the evidence of the formation of new particles for causing high AOD under high RH and low WS, aided by the downward vertical wind flow. The RF model showed a distinguishable relative importance of emission and meteorological factors among these regions to account for the spatial variability of AOD. Our findings suggest that the continued lockdown might provide a temporary solution to air pollution; however, to combat persistent air quality issues, it needs switching over to the cleaner mode of production and energy. The findings of this study, thus, advocated for alternative energy policy at the global scale.
Moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer / Satellite observation / Humidity / Wind speed / Weather data / Emission / Sulphur dioxide / Nitrogen dioxide / COVID-19 / Aerosols / Air quality / Air pollution
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