CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems / Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences / International Water Management Institute / International Food Policy Research Institute / United States Agency for International Development

Small-Scale Irrigation—The Answer to Ecosystem Health?

Sunday 26 August | 09.00-10.30 | Room: NL 357
David Brazier / International Water Management Institute

Small-Scale Irrigation (SSI) is growing rapidly in many parts of Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. SSI has been promoted as a set of practices that is farmer-driven, profitable, and climate-smart and can support millions of rural smallholder farmers. SSI can be flexibly adapted to different socioeconomic and biophysical locations and ranges from using water cans and hoses to manual, diesel, electric and solar lift technologies and from kitchen garden drip kits to small, communal reservoirs. SSI does not require the development of large grey storage with well-known, potentially adverse impacts on ecosystem health. However, the environmental benefits and challenges of SSI have not been well studied and documented. This session will present a series of case studies on SSI and ecosystem health linkages based on studies supported by USAID, IFAD and the CGIAR, followed by a panel discussion on options to better align ecosystem health and smallholder irrigator agendas to ensure SSI supports both people and the planet. Throughout the session, audience feedback will be elicited using a live word cloud. The event will also consider incorporating social media, such as through a Twitter discussion held prior to the event, to identify questions for panelists and possibly live streaming on Periscope.


Programme

This session will present a series of case studies on small-scale irrigation (SSI) and ecosystem health linkages based on studies supported by USAID, IFAD and the CGIAR, followed by a panel discussion on options to better align ecosystem health and smallholder irrigator agendas to ensure SSI supports both people and the planet.

9.00-9.10: Introductory remarks and session framing: Dr. Robert Bertram, USAID

9.10-9.50: Case Study Presentations:

• Mapping small-scale irrigation for environmental sustainability and human prosperity: The case of Ethiopia (Dr. Claudia Ringler, IFPRI)

• Communal solar pumps in Mali: Curse or cure for ecosystem health? (Dr. Jennie Barron, CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems)

• Small reservoir for sustainable agricultural landscapes: Synthesizing the evidence from West Africa (Dr. Olufunke Cofe, IWMI)

• SSI and risks of intensification: Case study on water quality in the Ethiopian Highlands (Dr. Seifu Tilahun, Bahir Dar University)

9.50-10.20: Panel Discussion:

The panel discussion will focus on 1) Options to better align ecosystem health and smallholder irrigator agendas to ensure SSI supports both people and the planet; and 2) Key actors and partnerships, including roles and responsibilities, needed to manage potential trade-offs and enhance the benefits from SSI.

10.20-10.30: Summary and wrap-up: Dr. Robert Bertram, USAID