Presentation made to the French-Australian Forum on Water and Land Management "Food and water security shaping land-use futures" on CPWF 10-year achievements with a focus on the Ganges and Mekong basins.
The Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF) of the CGIAR has analyzed poverty-water relationships on 10 river basins including: the Andes and São Francisco in South America; the Limpopo, Niger, Nile and Volta basins in Africa; and the Ganges, Indus, Karkheh, Mekong, and Yellow in Asia. These basins – distinct and gargantuan geographic areas defined by water flows from high-ground to streams that feed major river systems – cover 13.5 million square kilometers and are home to some 1.5 billion people, and half of the world ’ s poorest .
Common discourse is one of scarcity of water (and in general of natural resources). Experience shows that variability much more affecting food security and livelihoods, a trend increasing with climate change.
Comparing the performance of agricultural systems between river basins, based on the production in kg per m 3 of water consumed or water productivity . With few exceptions, water productivity of cereals is very low (between 0.2 and 0.5 kg/m 3 ). Efficient farmers achieve water productivity of 2.0 kg/m 3 , but in most basins it is only a fraction of this level.
Huge potential to continue to increase production in areas where levels are currently low, if proper access to water and markets is given to communities. This, in turn, could create the right incentives for 'sustainable intensification ’ . There is a need to go beyond concepts of 'transfers', such as Payment for Environmental Service schemes, to more nuanced agreements that promote collaboration and 'win-win' situations where benefits are shared between different groups. Benefits (and risks) need to be shared in order for all of the diverse actor groups that make up society to be able to develop. While globally there is enough water to sustain human development and environmental needs, water-related conflicts will continue if we do not manage our resources well. A radical reform of how water is managed and used is necessary. This includes reform of the institutions that govern water resources . For the most part, there is a complete fragmentation of how water is managed amongst different actors, and even countries, where the water needs of different sectors—agriculture, industry, environment, mining—are considered separately, rather than as interrelated and interdependent. Institutions must develop a holistic approach to address the issues of unequal development that lead to unequal sharing of resources and benefits.
CPWF 10 years of R4D for water & food security ANU
10 years of research for developmentto improve water & food security of the rural poorAlain Vidal, DirectorCGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food
NigerWater, food and poverty analyzed in 10 basins1.5 billion people50% of the poorest < 1.25US$/day
Water productivityremains very low over most areasWP (estimated potential / typically 1-2 kg/m3)VoltaLimpopoNileNigerGangesIndusYRMekong
There is enough water to meet ourneeds, it’s how we manage it !Sustainable intensification Beyond a focus on productivity Income and ecosystem servicesEquitable sharing of benefitsfrom water Finding balanced solutionsInstitutional water management A holistic approach to avoid fragmentation among actorsAddressed through basin-focused research programsaddressing a major development issue in each basinGuiding investment to relevant pro-poor interventions
Policy dialogues, stakeholdersengagement, outcomes and impactResearch… evidence-basedto deeply understand problems development challenges ofrelevance to those living in a basinand target interventions or solutions… “innovations”, “interventions”, “strategies” or “alternatives”through engagement and learning processes…where stakeholder behavior is influenced and outcomesachieved Engaged and informed stakeholders themselves choose to changepractice because they perceive as to their own advantage
Sustainable fisheries and hydropowerin the Mekong river basin
The Mekong water – fish – energynexusMassive hydropower potentialFisheries provide 50-80% ofanimal protein to 60 millionpeople and 50% of ruralincomeFisheries and food securitythreatened by thediscontinuities due to largehydropower damsMRC, 2010
Changes in practice sharing the benefitsbetween fisheries and energy productionWater management techniquesand practices improving thebenefits of riparian communitiesRice-fish systems (THPC, Laos)Cassava (Yali Falls,Vietnam)Artificial wetlands(THPC, Laos)
Improved water control:an opportunity for the poor of theGanges Delta ?
Among world’s poorestBBS / WorldBank / WFP (2009)Poverty, food insecurity, vulnerability 75% of households (HH) with 0.2-0.6 ha HH income US$700/year 80% of population below national poverty lineToo much water in rainy seasonSalinity and lack of fresh water indry season
Untapped potential but growingpressure from salinityHuge potential toimprove foodsecurity andlivelihoodsSalinity not aconstrainteverywhere – evenan opportunity ifwater properlycontrolledSoil salinityNoneVery slightSlightStrongVery strong
Sustainable intensification of polders:technical and institutional challengesLots of viablecropping systemspossible with cropdiversification,fish and shrimpBut it’s all about water control !Need for political changes at national and local levelsCanal maintenance and managementShifting from rice monocultureRice ShrimpUpper threshold limit of salinity - RiceDateWatersalinity(ppt)Lower threshold limit of salinity - ShrimpDaily water salinity
How do such interventionsincrease water and food security ?Enhanced resilience Combined technical and institutionalinnovations prevent systems frommoving to undesired state when shockedWater and food security Looking beyond the « yield gap » enables diversify foodproduction (crops, fish and livestock) and ecosystem services Additional income alleviates povertyEmpowerment Enhanced people’s rights and institutional governance