27. Beyond the Provision of Water Infrastructures: Water Institutions in Irrigation Schemes

E-mail of panel organiser: atakilte.beyene@nai.uu.se

Development of irrigated agricultural schemes is increasingly becoming important policy priority for Africa for various reasons. Increasing population, expanding urbanization, climate change and food security priorities are the major reasons. As a result development of water infrastructures such as dams, diversions of rivers, and water boreholes of various scales are being undertaken by the states, donor organizations and the public sectors.   While the focus to expanding water infrastructures is a welcome development, there is, however, limited knowledge on the social and institutional dynamics unfolding in and around the water infrastructures. This panel, therefore, calls papers focusing on the following three interrelated issues related to irrigation schemes.

First, institutional and governance systems in irrigation schemes: Issues related to water rights, water transfer rights, water distribution, and water administration practices are important in this.   Similarly, collective action dynamics and formation of irrigation organizations’ are relevant topics.

Second, managing access to land and water across important stakeholders: Ensuring equitable access to and control over land and water for poor and marginalized rural households, women and groups are critical policy objectives for improving food security. Furthermore, sustainability of irrigation systems can also be dependent stakeholders who do not directly use the irrigation scheme, such as those located in the upper-steam. Experiences on mechanisms on how to bridge such gaps are welcome in this panel. Frameworks for payment for environmental services, water fees, compensation for costs incurred by the stakeholders etc are relevant in this.

Third, marketing and production systems dynamics in irrigation schemes: Full water control irrigation schemes often imply new products and agronomic practices that require high inputs-output system. The particular properties of products and the corresponding market requirements are important aspects in this.


1. COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION IN WATER SECTOR GOVERNANCE IN KENYA: A Performance Based Appraisal of Community Water Management Systems in Ngaciuma-Kinyaritha Catchment, Tana Basin, Mount Kenya Region

Authors: Cush Ngonzo Luwesi (Kenyatta University, Kenya), James M. Mathenge, Chris A. Shisanya,, Ishmail O. Mahiri, Rose A. Akombo, Mary N. Mutiso


The Republic of Kenya initiated key reforms in 1999 for its water sector governance, which culminated with the release of a water act in 2002. In compliance to the Water Act 2002 and to enhance their water security, local stakeholders in Ngaciuma-Kinyaritha came to create  the unique Water Resource Users' Association (WRUA) in that catchment in 2006 amid many Water Service Providers (WSPs) and Community Water Management Systems (CWMSs).  How would the Water Resource Management Authority (WRMA) integrate the existing CWMSs in the legal and institutional frameworks guiding the development, supply, utilization and conservation of local water resources by the new WRUA?  Should these CWMSs seek registration to qualify as WSPs? This study sought to assess the performance of all the above key institutions involved in the management of water resources and supply of water services in Ngaciuma-Kinyaritha Catchment of the Tana Basin of Mount Kenya Region. It basically aimed to isolate the contribution of CWMSs to domestic water security in the catchment among other Water Service Providers (WSPs) and managers (WRUAs).  Empirical tools of scientific research employed to achieve these objectives included a household survey of 165 farmers and 36 in-depth interviews. The analysis encompassed an appraisal of the performance of these water governance institutions based a Performance Assessment and Evaluation (PAE) approach. Findings revealed that CWMSs played and keep playing a key role in developing the existing water resources, thus increasing farming water profitability in the catchment. These CWMSs were achieving 30% of the targets of the water sector reforms in ensuring domestic water security in Ngaciuma-Kinyaritha Catchment among other WSPs and the WRUA. If their technological innovativeness on water supply and catchment management was enhanced, these institutions would perform better and make a greater contribution to the success of the water sector reforms therein. Hence, WRMA, WRUA and WSPs shall not neglect to integrate them in their legal and institutional frameworks for future collaboration.

2. Management of water supply and sanitation in Namibia: a pilot case Namport (MARIWATER)

Author: Minna Keinänen-Toivola (Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, Finland)


Clean and hygiene water (drinking water and sanitation) should be a basic right to everybody that leads to food safety, health and security. In Africa, there is a growing demand for clean and secure water. On the other hand, human acts, especially sewage can interrupt the marine ecosystems. Namport (= port of Walvis Bay) is the only important international sea harbor in Namibia. The planning and construction of 300 million € expansion project is starting this year. When finished, the port will be a work place for 500 hundred workers at a time.
The aim of this project is to study and find cost effective technological solutions on water, using a pilot site Namport as an example. Purifying sea water to potable water in Namibia is also studied, due to high water scarcity in Namibia and many other African countries. In addition, the effects of sewage to marine ecosystems will be studied. The knowledge will be transferred to the local researchers and companies using eLearning environment. The way of acting can be transferred to other buildings such as schools and hospitals in Africa. The project will provide new tools for help risk management, and political decision making processes on water issues in Namibia and other African countries.
Local partners for this project are the Polytechnic of Namibia and Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources. In addition, there are several European partners, presenting research, education and small and medium size enterprises on water sector. Funding for MARIWATER is applied from Horizon2020.

3. Emerging irrigation systems and institutional requirements in Ethiopia

Author: Atakilte Beyene (The Nordic Africa Institute, Sweden)


Ethiopia is a case where expansion of water-based economic development is set as one of the key policy priorities to attain accelerated economic growth and irrigation development is one of these. Today the frontiers in irrigation development range from very localized individual- and plot-based water development practices to large-scale irrigation schemes involving diverse actors who have direct and indirect stakes in decision making processes. In between these, degrees of autonomy in decision making (individual vs collective), scale of operation and number of stakeholders vary significantly. These are important configuring factors in irrigation management regimes.
Similarly, the boundaries between what is small-scale and large-scale irrigation and between traditional and modern irrigation systems have also increasingly become blurred and some conventional assumptions need to be reexamined. For instance, irrigation systems are commonly described as small-, medium- and large-scale systems and each of these are often assumed to have somehow exclusive institutional and organizational properties and operating independent of each other. However, many of the new irrigation schemes involve active role and interest of multi-stakeholders such as the government, donors, the private and public sectors and local the people themselves. What institutional and governance systems are developing in such multi-stakeholder contexts?
The paper aims to develop typology of irrigation systems, which reflect the diversity (existing and emerging) of irrigation regimes, and map the corresponding management features and requirements. The intended outcome of this exercise is to enhance knowledge on institutional and governance systems of irrigation management.

4. Strengthening Formal Institutions: Framework for evaluation of relevance of integrated ICT solutions for sustainable water resources in the Lake Victoria Basin

Author: Hector John Mongi (The University of Dodoma, Tanzania)


Integrated Water resources infrastructure management (IWRIM) to achieve sustainability is a complex phenomenon involving many people, institutions, sectors and activities. The governance institutions in developing world have sacrificed a lot of their limited resources to invest in water infrastructures to address challenges of urbanization,population growth and impacts of climate change. However, many of these infrastructures have fall short of sustainability due to uninformed decision making, poor coordination and inadequate control. One of several ways of improving coordination is the use of appropriate technologies including integrated Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). Integrated ICT solutions can play a pivotal role in engaging water resource institutions to attain sustainability goals of IWRIM. They provide tools and techniques that can create a common platform for sharing information at the bottom level. They can provide many options through which community can engage in giving and receiving information regarding water resources. Despite this potential, integrated ICT solutions have not been evaluated against their relevance to community engagement for sustainable water resources. This study, therefore is proposing a multi-theory framework combining both technical and social aspects to evaluate relevance of currently implemented integrated ICT solutions to coordination activities of formal water resource institutions. Implementation focuses on small scale but sensitive irrigation schemes around Trans-boundary Lake Victoria in Tanzania’s part. Three theories considered in the framework are relevance theory, social theory of change and technology adoption model. This architecture is believed to complement strengths and minimize weaknesses of individual theories thereby improve the methodologies of evaluating the contribution of ICTs in strengthening formal water resource infrastructures in transboundary water resource context of a developing country.


Authors: Wanja Kinuthia (National Museums of Kenya), Rose A. Akombo and James M. Mathenge and Cush N. Luwesi.


Topographic and orographic patterns of water catchments are key factors disadvantaging many farmers living upstream to access equitably water resources vis-ā-vis their downstream counterparts. Climate change is also another threat to water availability for farming and poverty alleviation in rural areas. Finally, the absence of market outlets locks out business opportunities to these farmers’ category. In response to these issues, the Kenya Water Act 2002 introduced several pro-poor schemes enabling stakeholders’ participation in the planning, development, allocation, management and monitoring and evaluation of water resources for poverty alleviation. These pro-poor schemes have been propounded to be effective mechanisms for poverty alleviation initiated by local stakeholders instead of national strategies. They are the best strategy for sustainable farming water management in time of water stress and scarcity. This evaluation dealt with Green Water Saving (GWS) schemes implemented in Muooni Catchment of Eastern Province of Kenya. This paper focuses on the results of the PESTLE and SWOT analyses conducted on Kauti Irrigation Water Users’ Association (Kauti IWUA). It presents results from responses of 101 farmers, 20 key informants and a Focus Group Discussion (FGD). It reveals that Kauti farmers have high potentials to curbing floods, but their weakness to mitigate drought was mainly stressed by the lack of proper strategy for disaster preparedness and a weak technological capacity, basically due to the obsolescence of hydro-meteorological equipments and financial capacity. These evaluation findings highlights insights for further implementation of the water sector reforms initiated by the Government of Kenya in the year 1999, which are being revised in line with the Kenya Constitution 2010.

6. "Rush for the 'blue gold' - The governance of land and water resource allocation for agricultural investments influencing the socio-ecological systems of the Gambella region, Ethiopia"

Author: Kata Molnar (Lund University, Sweden)


This paper presents a case study from the Gambella region of Ethiopia, where large-scale land concessions shape the resource system and necessitate adoption of new institutions. The analysis looked into how the governance of water and land resource allocation for agricultural investment influences the complex social and ecological system in Gambella. Private investors are free from water charges, and have the right to take over already built irrigation structures such as dams or main canals. The Alwero river in Gambella, located in the Baro-Akobo river basin, is one of the key sources of water for indigenous rural communities who practice fishing, pastoralism and shifting cultivation agriculture. New water users are increasing, one of them is the Saudi Star company, developing a rice plantation on 10,000 hectare along the river. The mandate of governing authorities often unclear or overlap with each other, and have limited capacity to monitor the investment sites. The rules do not consider land and water as connected resources. The paper finds that the influence of the currently malfunctioning governance of agricultural investments on users and the ecosystem is overlooked. The future development of the region, the adoption of a comprehensive land use and river basin plan would be important to avoid the escalation of resource conflicts.


Authors: Philip Wambua Peter (Kenyatta University, Kenya), Cush N. Luwesi1, Esam Badr, Mary N. Mutiso, Rose A. Akombo, James M. Mathenege


Muooni farmers shall continuously review their cropping strategies in line with the market dynamics, without withstanding the environment in which they operate, if sustenance of their competitive advantage and farming production possibility frontiers are to be met. The ever shrinking water endowment and changing climate in Kenyan Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) have forced a majority among farmers to adopt various strategies so as to survive. This study sought to investigate some of the competitive strategies used by farmers to secure higher earnings and good incomes while facing the threat of unpredicted drought.  The study also investigated the effects of these competitive farming strategies on farmers’ irrigation water demand and their farming profitability. A survey was conducted among 101 farmers located at a radius of 100 meters and above around Muooni Dam. The analysis was supported by a descriptive design. It applied optimization inventory models to sense the adjustment of crop water requirement in each farm to the fluctuating active water storage capacity of Muooni Dam. This enabled unveiling the effects of farmers’ competitive strategies on their irrigation water demand and farming profitability. Results indicate that product differentiation was probably the most important competitive strategy used at different magnitudes by farmers in Muooni. The use of market segmentation, convenience retailing and low cost leadership strategies were the least used competitive strategies. On the other hand, was very high. Hence, Farmers have adopted multiple cropping of about 9 seasonal crops and 6 perennial crops on a small parcel as a strategy to cope with crops failure under unexpected drought. On average, farmers recorded total annual incomes and deficits (negative profits) of US$ 640.99 and 529.94 in the year 2010. Results also revealed that this smallholder farms’ economic viability was threatened by higher average water cost of US$ 217.78 (representing 31 cents/ m3), water over-abstraction (about 231.73 m3/acre/annum) and fertile soil loss due farmlands sub-division, over-cropping, eucalyptus tree planting and soil erosion problems that enhanced water stress in the catchment.  Farmers were thence obliged to adjust their irrigation water orders with increased water prices without taking into consideration their crop water requirement. The depleting soil moisture did not allow them meeting crop water requirement, thus leading to massive crop failures. Even though the analysis lauded Muooni farmers for their efficient hydro-policies such as Rain Water Harvesting and Storage (RWHS) and water treatment, it did not condone them for not using appropriate bylaws, tariffs and technological devices (meters) to regulate water use, measure water abstractions and effluent discharges, and charge them accordingly. Therefore, efficient farming competitive strategies were found to be highly correlated to farming water demand and required the optimization crop water requirement within the limits of affordable costs, under any rainfall regime. Farmers may have opted for either an economic order quantity (EOQ), or for a quantity well-matched with the limit average cost (LAC) or a minimum efficient scale (MES). This may have enabled them implement rational farming water use strategies and appropriate alternative technologies to foster agricultural allocative and technological efficiencies within their farming production possibility frontiers.

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