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Gendered need for irrigation development in changing climate context

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A study from the Gandaki basin factors in gender vulnerability in analysing the dominant trends in irrigation systems.

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Gendered need for irrigation development in changing climate context

  1. 1. Gendered need for irrigation development in changing climate context Pranita Bhushan Udas International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development
  2. 2. Outline • Introduction • Study area • Trend on changing climate • Trend on socioeconomic changes • Changing landscapes and genderscapes • Gendered need for irrigation 2
  3. 3. Introduction Is there a change in irrigation need with gender perspective in changing climatic and socioeconomic conditions? Dominant trend: Promotion of flood irrigation system, either through river or spring diversion is the common practice. Irrigation investment is guided by: Potentially irrigable land Cost benefit analysis Internal rate of return Gender vulnerability perspective- Irrigation for food security vs irrigation for economic growth Subsistence farmers vs commercial farmers Gender issues of subsistence farming families and landless families 3
  4. 4. Study area Gandaki Basin Study along Trisuli tributaries Upstream >2000m MASL Upper Rasuwa Midstream 500-200m MASL Nuwakot Downstream <500m Chitwan Though the study included Bihar part of the basin, this presentation focus on study in Nepal part of the basin
  5. 5. Trend on climate change Temperature trend monsoon Postmonsoon Premonsoon Winter Upstream Region Cool days - + - + Cool nights + + + - Warm days - - + 0 Warm night + 0 - - Midstream Region Cool days - + - + Cool nights - 0 0 + Warm days - - - + Warm night - + 0 - Downstream Region Cool days - 0 - - Cool nights - + 0 + Warm days + 0 + + Warm night + 0 - - Note: + increasing, - decreasing and 0 no change. Change in rainfall data is not statistically significant, however the changes in temperature trend is significant Less snow Drying of soil water source Increasing warmness High evapotranspiration Farming- a risky occupation
  6. 6. Trend on socioeconomic changes The proportion of employed population in the primary sector, mainly in agriculture, is gradually declining Yet 65.6 % of population is dependent on agriculture as of 2011. Female headed households between 2001 and 2011 increased by 14.87% in 2001 to 25.73% in 2011. Only 20.5% of women have assets in 2011, although the proportion has increased from 17.1% in 2001. Decline in population growth rate between 2001 to 2011, 27 districts all from mountains and hills shows negative growth rate ¼ of hill Dalit do not have access to safe drinking water, only 1/10 of Madhesi Dalits have toilets, Feminization of demographic composition of the districts in Gandaki Basin Census 2011
  7. 7. Changing landscapes and genderscapes In the face of changing climate there is change in landscapes in upper, middle and downstream of the basin To respond to changing landscapes (snow depletion in upstream, fallow farm land during winter due to low rainfall in winter in midstream, increase river erosion during rainy season in downstream), farming has been challenged because of this there is change in genderscapes (increasing trend of male leaving home in search of alternative income outside villages, feminization of demography, responsibilities, increased engagement of women in market, financial institutions, however limited engagement of women in water users’ association)
  8. 8. Upstream Gandaki Livelihood: farming_ soil moisture retained through snow, nomadic lifestyle for livestock like Chhauri_ tourism_ hydropower development A place with spirituality, higher degree of collectivism, gender egalitarian relations
  9. 9. Upstream _Upper Rasuwa Increasing trend of young men leaving villages causing feminization of responsibilities Thick snow in farmland is declining, making the field dry in summer. Need for irrigation in summer
  10. 10. Midstream_Nuwakot Increasing trend of young men leaving villages, feminization of responsibilities, even women opting for foreign labor migration, cases of vulnerable children observed Delay in winter rain as major stressors, men women opt for alternative livelihood such as labour employment. Trend of leaving land fallow in winter is increasing Need for irrigation in winter
  11. 11. Irrigated scenario Labdu Dikure Irrigation System in Nuwakot – midstream - Farming in hand of women due to male migration. Khageri Irrigation System in Chitwan- downstream - Intensive use of ground water to cope with water scarcity in tail end Though, there is increasing trend of women’s involvement in commercial farming, still their involvement in water users association nominal. -Intensive use (mishandling) of pesticide to cope with pest and diseases observed with increasing trend of women’s involvement due to male absentees, Increase incidence of disease and pest , referring to -days with intense difference in temperature and brightness of sun is reported Sprinkle irrigation could be effective for plan to tolerate heat stress Empower women through structural change to actively participate in governance , literacy on use of chemicals
  12. 12. Changing genderscapes- Gendered Activities Productive - increased involvement of women in various activities(eg. Involvement in enterprises, local jobs) Reproductive - used to be women’s responsibility and is still women’s responsibility Community – increased involvement of women in public affair (women’s self help group, microfinance), yet attending the meeting of water and forest management local organisation is men’s task. Analysis based on 100 FGD with homogenous male and female groups of different social categories
  13. 13. Changing genderscapes- Access and control to resources Women’s still have limited access to land due to patriarchal structure Women’s lack access to loan due to lack of collateral to invest further on irrigation Increase involvement of women in market, however security aspect of market is limited Women with water work, men with water decisions: There is increased participation of women in canal cleaning, however their involvement in water governance is limited. Hence though women have increased access to water bodies as representative of their absent men, but control over making rules of water organization is yet with few influential men. This hampers possibilities for women and few men to change water distribution rule in the command area, specially the tail end.
  14. 14. Gendered need in irrigation development Declining snowfall and coverage in upstream Delay of winter rain in uphill and flood in hillfoot in midstream Floods during rainy season and drought in winter in downstream Search for alternate livelihoods other than farming Male migration Feminisation of responsibilities Increased vulnerability of women left behind Need of small and nonconventional irrigation system that is handy for women and older population left behind- for high altitude farming Promote nonconventional gender friendly irrigation technology i.e. pond, rainwater, waste water management in mid hills to help women continue farming for food security Improve water governance allowing women and tail enders to participate to influence the rules on water distribution, specially in large irrigation system There are changes in genderscapes, that calls for formal and informal institutions to address them while investing, designing and prioritizing irrigation programs Critical issues Effect/Impact Gendered need
  15. 15. Thank you

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