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Defining Indicators of Irrigation Performance in the context of IWRM monitoring in West Africa

IWRA World Water Congress 2008 Montpellier France
4. Development of Water Resources and Infrastructure
Author(s): Jacques Rey
Florence Ardorino
Hervé Lévite
Rui Silva
Jean-Paul Luc

Keyword(s): IWRM, monitoring, irrigation, West Africa

AbstractFor more than a decade now, an important emphasis has been put by the international aid community on the setting up of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) principles. The aim is to avoid negative impacts and future conflicts over water and then to create an enabling environment for water development projects. However in Sub-Saharan Africa , there is still a lack of means for data collection and processing. Therefore IWRM tools must be simple and robust. The Commission of the Economic Community of West African States has created a Water Resource Coordination Unit (WRCU) with the specific role of helping its 15 member countries on IWRM policies. In order to harmonise these policies, WRCU is setting up a Regional Water Observatory. In this paper the process in progress is presented and especially the delicate issue of looking at performances of irrigated agriculture – the principal water consumer - in the evaluation of IWRM. The central question is: how can we put coherence between indicators of IWRM and indicators of performance in irrigation. For that work, the cases of three transboundary basin authorities (Senegal, Niger, Volta) which are at different stages of development are considered. The study is based on data available at WRCU and discussions with stakeholders and donors. The latter are posing new conditions on water productivity and integration of IWRM principles before any new agricultural water investment in the region. Analyse shows that this reflection is not so simple. Indeed one should not consider anymore the irrigation scheme only as an intake from the hydrological system. One must integrate possible positive externalities of irrigation (in terms of groundwater recharge, artificial wetlands, birds refuge, flood protection...). In the same vein, within the framework of foreseen development of several multiple uses dams in the region (i.e. Niger basin), the concept of performance must be reconsidered with more integration of the other uses and environmental services (fishing, drinking water protection, carbon sequestration, tourism and biodiversity) and more importantly with strong considerations of local situations.
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