Improving water management for agricultural production: International forum on water and food takes up the challenge

Water reservoir at Tsinkanet, Mek'ele, Ethiopia
Water reservoir at Tsinkanet, Mek’ele, Ethiopia (Photo: ILRI)

The Third International Forum on Water and Food (IFWF3) currently underway in Tshwane, South Africa  (14-17 November 2011) brings together partners from the CGIAR Challenge Program for Water and Food (CPWF) as well as water and food scientists and other key stakeholders to assess how a research-for-development approach can address water and food challenges through a combination of process, institutional and technical innovations.

The CPWF carries out research in six different basins, dubbed Basin Development Challenges:

  1. Andes system of basins to increase water productivity and reduce water-related conflict in selected basins through the development of more equitable benefit-sharing mechanisms.
  2. Ganges basin to reduce poverty and strengthen livelihood resilience through improved water governance and management in coastal areas of the Ganges basin.
  3. Limpopo river basin to improve integrated management of rainwater to improve smallholder productivity and livelihoods and reduce risk.
  4. Mekong river basin to reduce poverty and foster development through management of water for multiple uses in large and small reservoirs.
  5. Nile river basin to strengthen rural livelihoods and their resilience through a landscape approach to rainwater management.
  6. Volta river basin to strengthen integrated management of rainwater and small reservoirs so that they can be used equitably for multiple uses.

A bit about CPWF (from the CPWF website)

The Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF) was launched in 2002 as one of the reform initiatives of the CGIAR, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research. Phase 1 ran from 2004–2008 and Phase 2 runs from 2009–2013.

Over the last six years, and based on more 68 projects carried out throughout the world, the main lesson learned is that improved water productivity is only one piece of the puzzle. Equally important are equitable access to water and better water governance. Taken together and integrated across scales, these can reduce poverty, improve livelihoods resilience, and boost ecosystem services.

The CPWF represents the largest, most comprehensive investment in the world on water, food and environment research. Through the paradigm of water productivity – developing ways to produce more food within limited water availability – it offers a new approach to natural resources management research within the CGIAR. The CPWF works together in with institutions, NGOs and community groups in partnerships which seek meaningful impact for the people who use the new innovations developed by scientific research.

Check out the IFWF3 blog for more on the workshop activities or follow #IFWF3 on Twitter.