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Welcome to the Basin Focal Projects (BFPs)   See Papers published in http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~db=all~content=g929156149



Click here to see & download presentations from the
Andes, Karkheh, Nile, Niger, Limpopo,
Sao Francisco,
Indo-Ganges, Volta, Yellow River & Mekong basins



Photos from the BFP basins
at Flickr (click here)


Jacques Lemoalle explaining BFP Volta network map River Mekong at Khong Chiam Mid Karkheh, Iran Not an easy childhood yen-tanks4  Where is my water? Near Pak Mun Dam, Thailand
Commercial agriculture forms a strong driver of change in the Sao Francisco basin   Gallito Ciego dam , Peru What's happened to my water? DSC_6285240 med copy Yellow River Hydro PAramo, Venezuela Sudd fish


The Basin Focal Projects of the Challenge Program for Water and Food (CPWFprovide strategic insight of the links between water, food and poverty in river basins. Based on the best scientific analysis within ten River Basins these projects answer the followign key questions :


  1. How much water is there?
  2. Who uses the water? Irrigators, rainfed agriculture? Livestock systems? How much flow remains?
  3. How well is water used? What is its water productivity? What do we know about the eco-efficiency of water use systems?
  4. What is known about the Institutions that manage food and water systems?
  5. What are the impacts of water use patterns on poverty and livelihoods in Africa, Asia and Latin America?


The BFPs provide insight into the global condition of water, food and poverty, disaggregated in sufficient detail to support intervention within river basins. Some of the insights emerging include:

  • Relationships among water, food and poverty are variable, subtle and complex. The relationships between twin pressures on water and food depend on the overall development status, condition of water resources and characteristic of the agricultural system. A simple 5-class concept of water-related poverty has been posted for discussion here
  • The simplistic notion that “water scarcity increases poverty” is rarely adequate. It is true that some people are pushed into poverty as a consequence of water scarcity. More often, however, the ability to access, organize or exploit water and land resources seems more influential than total availability.
  • Poverty is increased by inequitable development of land and water resources. Lack of access is more important than total water availability. This remains true even in industrialized economies. For example, some people have been left behind in poverty within the Sao Francisco – an otherwise prosperous and (relatively) “water-rich” basin.
  • The loss of pre-existing livelihood support due to inequitable water and land governance is common and often under-reported. It tends to affect the poorest, such as those who rely on fish in the Mekong, or on livestock in the Nile, Volta or Niger. These people often lack a voice.
  • People are poor when they are unprotected against water-related hazards, such as drought, flood or water-related disease. The ability to cope, or even exploit, the “hazard” is more important than the hazard itself. For example in the Limpopo, floods are feared, especially after the catastrophic flood in 200. Conversely, many people depend on annual Mekong floods.
  • Water productivity – that is, the conversion rate of water into food - is generally very low. This is true almost everywhere in rain-fed systems. This is both bad news; the situation seems widespread, and good: there is ample scope for improvements which will lead to improvement of the common good.
  • Estimates suggest the potential water productivity of wheat is approximately 2 kg/m3, but it is rare to find systems with productivity greater than 0.4 or 0.6 kg/m3 (major exceptions occur in parts of the Ganges, Yellow River and Nile delta). This is the case for many other staple foods such as rice, sorghum or millet.
  • Water use accounting indicates that grassland systems dominate water use globally. In African basins, this importance is even more pronounced. Grassland systems in the Limpopo, Nile and Volta process by far the largest volume of water passing through the basins (52%, 45%, and 80%), yet much less is known about how such systems support rural livelihoods, even in the Nile, where the vast majority of people depend on livestock for an important part of their livelihood. More recent analysis of livestock water productivity indicates that these systems can be relatively efficient and valuable converters of water into livelihood support.
  • Runoff in relatively dry basins is less than 15% of rainfall received. By contrast, in the Mekong, a relatively wet basin, annual runoff is almost 40% of total water balance. This delivers an estimated average of 440 bcm of water to the system, which supports an aquatic environment over much of the basin on which most (estimated at 65%) of the population depend.




























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