New project to improve water management in the Sahel

June 06, 2018
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A new IDRC-supported project will help improve water conservation and use for larger-scale irrigation.

Africa’s Sahel region has experienced a marked decline in rainfall since the 1970s. The resulting fluctuation of the rainy season has exacerbated the vulnerability of agro-pastoral production systems, and farmers have struggled to plant their crops. The effects of climate change, including the greater frequency of extreme weather events, are expected to increase the recurrence and prolongation of pockets of drought, and with it growing uncertainty about the start and length of the growing season.

To counteract these threats, the International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering (2iE) in Burkina Faso, with IDRC support, successfully developed and tested water retention tanks to supplement irrigation from water runoff to increase average crop yields.  

In May, the Ambassador of Canada to Burkina Faso, Edmond Dejon Wega, and the Minister of Agriculture and Agricultural Development of Burkina Faso, Jacob Ouédraogo, joined researchers at the 2iE campus in Ouagadougou to launch a new IDRC-supported project that will scale up this success. Implemented by 2iE, the project will help to sustainably manage water retention tanks in Burkina Faso and scale up supplemental irrigation strategies. The goal is to strengthen farmers’ resilience to the effects of climate change.  

Adopting a gender lens, the research will assess the social, cultural, economic, and environmental impacts of increasing the number of catch basins on households and on the watershed. The project aims to improve water conservation for use in complementary irrigation by integrating automated agricultural and weather information that will be transmitted from remote sensing using a centralized management platform. These technologies will also be scaled in Mali and Niger, where capacity will be built among agricultural stakeholders and where policymakers will be involved at all stages of the project.      

Learn more about the new project to sustainably manage water catch basins.