Rainwater management for resilient livelihoods: NBDC Science Workshop

Table of Contents

9-10 July 2013
Lalibela Auditorium, ILRI, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

  • To bring exchange experiences and research results across (NBDC team and partner) scientists involved in Nile Basin Development Challenge projects and to discuss challenges and possible solutions around NBDC programme scientific work;
  • To collectively review all NBDC outputs developed up to date and provide feedback to complete them;
  • To plan and ensure the publication of outputs before the end of the project;




Day one (Tuesday 09/07/13)
Registration Time: 8:30-9:00 am
Welcome and Opening Speech: Simon/Alan Time: 9:00-9:30 am
Session One (a): Overview regarding rainwater or sustainable land management
Paper title
Chair person
Simon et al. (2013)
The Nile Basin Development Challenge: an overview of methods outputs and outcomes.
Allan/Dr. Assefa
Doug (2013)
Is research for development (r4d) a good investment? reflections on lessons from NBDC

10:10– 10:30
Don (2013)
Why rainwater management matters in the Nile Basin?

10:30– 11:00
Session One (b): Irrigation & Livestock
Getaneh et al. (2013)
The impact of selected small-scale irrigation schemes on household income and the likelihood of poverty in the Lake Tana basin of Ethiopia
Allan/Dr. Assefa
Abeyou et al. (2013)
Realistic Assessment of Irrigation Potential in the Lake Tana Basin, Ethiopia.

Kebebe et al. (2013)
Unlocking the potential of livestock technologies in Ethiopia: Shifting from individual pieces to optimizing the sum of the parts.

Discussion on session one
Session Two (a): Water Productivity

Don et al. (2013)
Improving agricultural water productivity through integrated termite management
Tracy/Dr. Adane
Teklu et al. (2013)
Enhancing farming system water productivity through alternative land use and improved water management of rainfed agriculture in Vertisol areas

Bedasa et al. (2013)
Effect of Current Feed Sourcing and Feeding Strategies on Livestock Water Productivity in Mixed Crop-livestock Systems of the Blue Nile Basin Highlands of Ethiopia

15:00– 15:30

Session Two (b): Hydrological/Erosion Modeling
Tracy/Dr. Adane
15:30- 15:50
Emily & Birhanu (2013)
Hydrological modeling of sustainable land management interventions in the Mizewa watershed of the Blue Nile Basin

Maru and Birhanu (2013)
Erosion modeling in the Upper Blue Nile Basin: the Case for Mizewa Watershed

Solomon et al. (2013)
Understanding the dynamics of hydrological processes and rainfall runoff modeling-: the case of meja watershed, in the upper blue nile basin, Ethiopia

16:30– 17:00
Discussion on session 2

17:30– 19:00
Interactive poster presentation and cocktail reception
Some tips:

Day Two (Wednesday 10/07/13)

Session three (a): Rainwater, Land and Water Resources Management
Notenbaert et al. (2013)
Prioritising rainwater management strategies in the Blue Nile Basin

Eva & Josephine (2013)
Rhetoric versus Realities – An assessment of rainwater management planning and implementation modalities in Oromiya and Amhara Region, Ethiopia

Beth and Zelalem (2013)
Participatory approaches to tackling power and representation in innovation platforms:
Lessons from the use of WAT-A-GAME in Fogera, Ethiopia

Hirpaha et al. (2013)
Socio-technical solutions for rehabilitating degraded crop and rangeland associated with destructive termite behavior in Diga, East Wollega, Ethiopia

Kinde (2013)
Sustainable intensification of small-scale agriculture in the upper Blue Nile Basin: Multi-criteria optimization of rainwater management strategies.


Session three (b): Rainwater, Land and Water Resources Management
Tammo et al. (2013)
Evaluating best management practices for decreasing downstream sediment load in a degrading Blue Nile basin

Haimanote et al. (2013)
Effects of biochar and charcoal on moisture retention characteristics of agricultural soils and its implication on soil and water management in the Ethiopian highlands.

Tim et al. (2013)
Local agro-ecological knowledge of impacts of land use change on water security: impacts of eucalyptus expansion in the Ethiopian highlands

Discussion on session three


Session four: Institutions/Adoption/Marketing
Gebrehaweria et al (2013)
Assessment of Farmers’ Rainwater Management Technology Adoption in the Blue Nile Basin

Mengistu (2013)
Is ‘social cooperation’ for traditional irrigation, while ‘technology’ is for motor pump irrigation?

Seifu et al. (2013)
Factors in sub-optimum performance of rural water supply systems (as lessons learned for rain water management systems) in the Ethiopian Highlands

Simegnew et al. (2013)
Market imperfections, the brokerage institutions and smallholder market linkages in marketing of horticultural crops in Fogera woreda, Amhara national regional state


Discussion on session 4 and closing

List of poster presentations

  1. Addisu et al. (2013) Effect of management practices and agro-ecology on crop-livestock water productivity in Meja watershed, Jeldu district, Oromia, Ethiopia.
  2. Bamlaku & Teklu (2013) Characteristics and onsite financial cost of erosion in Abay basin: the case study from Meja watershed.
  3. Birhanu Ayana et al. (2013) Assessment of rainwater management practices and land use land cover changes in meja watershed, Jeldu district, Oromia, Ethiopia.
  4. Geremew (2013) Determinants of smallholder farmer’s participation in sesame production and marketing: the case of diga district, Oromia regional state.
  5. Getnet et al. (2013) Characteristics and estimated onsite costs of sediment lost by runoff from Mizewa catchments, northwestern Ethiopia; blue Nile basin.
  6. Gizaw et al. (2013) Examining advance time of furrow irrigation at Koga irrigation scheme, Ethiopia.
  7. Cronin, M. et al. (2013) A synthesis of local agro-ecological knowledge on drivers of tree cover change in the Blue Nile Basin: opportunities and constraints to integrating trees in Diga, Fogera and JelduWoredas in Ethiopia.
  8. Mahtsente et al. (2013) Runoff estimation and water management for Holetta river, awash sub basin, Ethiopia.
  9. Menelik & Amare (2013) Comparative analysis of lining materials for reduction of seepage in water harvesting structure.
  10. Tigist et al. (2013) Visualizing of clogging of soil pores formation of hardpans in tropical degraded soils.
  11. Solomon et al. (2013) Effect of drip lateral spacing and irrigation regime on yield, irrigation water use efficiency and net return of tomato, onion and pepper in Kobo Girrana valley, northeastern Amhara Region.
  12. Tewodros and Birhanu (2013) Hydrological modeling of a catchment using swat-cn and swat-wb approaches in the upper blue Nile basin of Ethiopia.
  13. Tigist et al. (2013) Factors in gully stabilization in the Ethiopian highlands.
  14. Notenbaert et al. (2013) Water investment domains for sustainable agricultural development in the Blue Nile basin
  15. Alemayehu et al. (2013) An onsite financial cost of soil erosion by water from a watershed in Blue Nile Basin.
  16. Cullen et al (2013) Innovation platforms, power and representation: Lessons from the Nile Basin Development Challenge

Monday 8 July
  • 2-4pm: Screening posters and papers: Reviewing papers and posters ==> Screening papers is sthg to be organised by the science meeting organisation group on Monday afternoon (Wolde, Simon, Alan, Doug and Don).
  • 4-5pm: Tasks for consultants (Belay, Don, Doug, Cornell Uni etc.): same group as paper reviewing + Kees and Tracy.

Tuesday 9 July
  • Late afternoon: Reviewing posters (Alan + Ewen) with participants. Pre-cocktail session to explain what makes a good poster/what doesn't.

Wednesday 10 July
  • 1.15-2pm: SWAT modeling (what it can do, what you need to do with it and how it can be used) to create common understanding. Focus on partners and priority lunch for participants.

Thursday 11 July
  • 9-10am: SWAT modeling (what it can do, what you need to do with it and how it can be used) to create common understanding, on Thursday. For CG- staff / Addis-based people.
  • 10am-12pm: What's coming out of CPWF and moving forward into WLE (Doug, Simon, Alan, Belay + whoever else) ==> WLE proposals, concept notes etc.
  • 1.30-4pm: Final NBDC workshop discussion (combined with 'Progressing rainwater management strategies'): Simon, Alan, Doug, Belay, Ewen + open meeting. About where this science meeting took us and what we need to do to get there.
  • 4-5pm: What's on the wiki, web etc.: broken links, outdated links etc. concerted efforts to keep the website updated. Wiki update on the spot, collaboratively. Alan, Simon, Ewen, Doug, Zelalem, Yemisrach (to sort out email list).

Friday 12 July
  • 9.30am-12.30pm: Any other issue, including institutional history.

Background information

After action review

Notes of the NBDC science meeting

NBDC overview

Presentation by Simon Langan


Presentation by Doug Merrey

  • Effective partnerships require strong commitment from the demand side and that commitment has to include empowerment viz researchers and partners must be more empowered from the start
  • Strong linkages to existing dev programs – ideally implementation and research programs developed together, though not often possible. Research needs to address priority issues for impact.
  • Long term commitment and resources by funders and scientists (long term = decade plus). Engagement of senior scientists over time is critical.
  • Foundation in excellent science. It’s necessary but not sufficient – we need to publish.

  • Q: Foundations on excellent science require sufficient time commitment and resources to generate data etc. from original sources that can be analysed etc. to source scientific evidence.
  • You just strengthened my case. We need to do more data collection etc (not enough data in Africa to make good conclusions)…

‘Why rainwater management matters in the Nile Basin’

Presentation by Don Peden

Imagine a future that attracts investments with positive returns... what would be the most important reason for rainwater management research / development and what would be most important future research topics or interventions?

Notes from the participants' consultation on these two questions:
Most important reason for RWM research/development?
  • Key to Ethiopian agricultural development (95% rainfed)
  • Increase crop water productivity
  • Rainfed livelihood scarcity productivity
  • Livelihoods, resilience, effect of poor RWM on groundwater (drinking water), partitioning (RWM is resource, decisions on how it’s used)
  • Livelihood / economic growth / peace
  • Scarcity of water
  • To improve water use efficiency for supporting livelihood
  • To investigate complex issues on a landscape scale / upstream and downstream issues
  • Potentially lots of water but not able to use it for agriculture due to loss. Important for crops, grazing, livestock, feed, trees and peoples’ livelihood
Most important future research topic or intervention?
  • Empowering local communities to deal with RWM issues and scale up solutions
  • Improving primary data collection
  • Scaling up best practices but adapted to local context / appropriate land use planning (technical and institutional), efficient use of water at farm, landscape, ecosystem level
  • Did we come up with scaleable recommendations? Complexity: no blue prints, local solutions, menu of options; Methods/approaches are scaleable (where is the agency to take this forward)
  • Packaging of technologies/practices and targeting of the intervention + identify suitable strategies / approaches for effective implementation of RWM interventions
  • How to increase biomass production (feed, food, fiber)
  • Infrastructures, technologies, institutions, clients
  • Scaling up of rainwater harvesting techniques
  • Evidence-based, demand-driven, outcome-oriented, research on NRM livelihood

Session One (a): Overview regarding rainwater or sustainable land management

Small scale irrigation schemes

Presentation by Getaneh Ayel
  • Q: What happened with impact of irrigation on livestock and contribution to livelihood?
  • A: I considered livestock. This research lasts 1 year. I considered products (meat, milk, eggs). I calculated livestock product production every week and estimated per year accordingly. But the research was done during a low-grazing period so livestock income was low but it is otherwise expected to be higher. Livestock helps with transportation, ploughing, social consolidation etc. and I haven’t touched those parts.
  • Q: What about groundwater irrigation? Was this considered, as it is the case in India?
  • A: I considered a low flow and base flow. The average low flow. We don’t have information on the ground water data and considered the base flow which is part of the ground water. Traditional methods use rivers and surface water, not groundwater. Deep wells are not considered because we don’t have groundwater observation in the Tana basin. Groundwater potential is not known for some reason but it’d be extremely important to find out. The history of groundwater is limited in this country. Its potential was estimated as very low until recently but now people are drilling wells and finding groundwater with high potential. 1.1 Bn Ha irrigable land using groundwater has been confirmed and new discoveries keep coming. Groundwater-based irrigation is getting cheaper compared with surface water.

Realistic assessment of irrigation potential in the Lake Tana basin

Presentation by Abeyou Wal
  • Comment: The estimated irrigation potential of Ethiopia which you presented is old for new estimate please refer Awlachew 2010
  • Q: What about people? Where are they? When do they come in to discuss the evidence?
  • A: The study was to identify suitability for commercial purpose, thus not looking at small scale schemes.
  • Q: What about land rights? If people want to convert to irrigation?
  • A: We will try and discuss this later.
  • Q: What I miss is the implications for the current plans for developing irrigation…
  • Q: What about the availability of water? It should have been included in the factors.
  • A: Yes but it’s very difficult to assess so I started with land availability.
  • Q: You have assumed full irrigation but it shouldn’t be the only way you consider, you should also think about irrigating crops without stressing them.
  • A: We always consider that irrigation potential will increase etc. thanks to technology. I have used existing soil maps etc.
  • Q: On suitability for basin irrigation, you showed various variables e.g. slopes etc. I suggest separating biophysical and market issues… Do we combine variables to assess suitability or do we go through variable per variable.
  • A: Road proximity is important in the case of Ethiopia and the unit rate is very high. Of course validation is very important. Used existing soil map and that is the only data that we have around the Tana area and there is no funding associated with that.The value that are less than 40 are not suitable and the least value is not used for surface irrigation
  • Q: For the output mapping we need more information to know the quality of the map. We need to check at ground level cause some of the factors like soil are not at detailed level. We also need optimum irrigation efficiency.
  • A: ??
  • Q: What would be the ideal place to publish this work? Is this for planners, for journals etc.?
  • A: ??
  • Q: How easy would it be to scale up and apply your approach to other, larger basins?
  • A: ??
  • Q: Have you looked at unsuitability? What are constraints and limitations in Lake Tana, etc.?
  • A: ??

‘Unlocking the potential of livestock technologies in Ethiopia, shifting from piecemeal solutions to holistic approach

Presentation by Kebebe Ergano

  • Q: Not all functions need to be in place for innovation to happen. What are the underlying factors? People didn’t think of these factors or some of these factors are not working well? Did you really identify the key issues?
  • A: The underlying factors that are not working properly are the structure and focus of certain functions (e.g. capacity building to generate knowledge). Related to this, which interactions are missing, which institutions are hindering this process? We didn’t give proper attention to this. We have been in the same situation for 60 years and we’re trying to address it differently.
  • Q: When you talk about non-adoption of technologies by farmers, have you considered the number of livestock compared with other resource bases? In Ethiopia there is high livestock density and fodder is one technology that helps boost livestock productivity but it’s not adopted as it’s not economically interesting…
  • A: That is true. We need to intensify and then move from keeping large number of livestock to progressively move towards improved technologies. It is one of the factors that matters, but there are other factors that are also complimentary to achieve the goal.
  • Q: Research in a value chain approach… VCs are usually supported by specific projects on a given commodity. Is it possible to develop a research model for VCs without having specific projects/programs?
  • A: This is a relevant question. This work is a visualization. The business model visualizes the whole value chain. From there we know what activities are functioning well at each of these stages and interventions can then be targeted at gap areas… This business model without action doesn’t work. We’ve been struggling with this i.e. facilitating the process and balancing with activities on the ground. We need actions on the ground that try to solve the constraints etc. The functions self-select which organization needs to be involved. That’s why we need interactions with partners etc.

// General discussion on session 1

  • Q: What was the role of innovation platforms in NBDC, particularly at local level? How did they engage in transferring outputs of NBDC?
  • A: IPs are trying to solve a number of problems along the value chain. ILRI is trying to facilitate that process because no other party is taking care of this at initial stages. A number of other partners are also required to play their role. The leading body is facilitating, implementing and others have to play their part and fill gaps. It’s not about meetings, it’s about solving problems through action/research or action on the ground.
  • Q: You mentioned in your conclusions about NBDC that research is still boxed research rather than R4D. We are still evaluated on outputs as opposed to development outcomes. When we claim to have research that allegates poverty etc. how do we bring a mind shift?
  • A: The new CGIAR does not have a comparative advantage in the science but we do in linking science to its use in development. There are various actors who conduct science without applications but the vast majority of CG resources now need to go to applied science to find out how to turn innovations that can be used into making a difference. What are incentives for these changes in the CGIAR? Not many. Before you were expected to publish at least 2 papers every year, regardless of your status. It’s a serious problem as the new CGIAR is moving towards partner-oriented research. We need to reward other skills than just typical scientist skills. It will be critical to the success of the new CGIAR research programs.
  • Comment: at a PhD level we should always be engaged in innovative research and different people in e.g. land grants etc. have time allocated to e.g. extension etc. At PhD level the expectation is still that you have to contribute to your own field. It’s disheartening. There’s value in purely non-empirical research but we have to find balance.

Summary of session 1
Very eclectic range from R4D processes to considering technicalities of suitability etc. It’s a microcosm of the NBDC. It’s the diversity that we are dealing with in NBDC, connecting strong science with development outcomes. Thank you to all the presenters, participants and co-chairs.

Session Two (a): Water Productivity + hydrological/erosion modeling

Termite management

Presentation by Don Peden (et al.)

  • Q: Where are the people? How much of a change in peoples’ normal patterns of behaviour would be required to introduce INTM? Is this a major change or a relatively minor change?
  • A: Good question. It will vary according to the approach in assessing water productivity. In ET people have mixed crop-livestock systems so they have a long term tradition to get sthg more out of water-crop interactions. In one sense they’re already doing it. In terms of opportunities to increase water productivity, small changes are needed. You can get a huge increase in water productivity with improvements on veterinary care… Some of these changes are easy to do, others are very difficult and it depends on whether these changes would happen in community-managed settings or not. One thing we need to do that we still haven’t done is to think about a price/value on the type of water that’s being used. On ITM there’s a question of trade-offs between crop residues and ?? We have to better understand farming systems we are operating in.
  • Q: You seem to say that ITM solution is to increase biomass but there’s studies indicating that all biomass is currently fed to livestock so how do we increase biomass.
  • A: One of the first things is to recognize the problem and I didn’t do that until I went to Uganda. There’s a difference between protecting NRM and building up biomass capital etc. We have to consider limits to cultivation and to grazing pressure. We’ve seen examples where it works with the right control. One challenge is about land that’s at the edge of the rangelands and should never had been cultivated. What are options to have fewer animals, get them more productive etc.? This is a millennia-long exploration. Then you need to have budget. What institutional opportunities are there to decrease the amount of animals and provide more productivity accordingly. Can we find alternatives to ploughing fields with animals? People like to carry on with what they’ve always done. There are various options. Besides termites there are other options e.g. working on natural predators to deal with termites. Reducing termites helps increase land productivity / biomass and improve NRM… this might be interesting follow up… There’s a problem of marketing: it should be possible to create a market (regional/national level) for biomass… In Ethiopia there’s a lot of biomass and perhaps we could use subsidies to get it going and to have market partially solve this problem? // There’s possibilities there.

Enhancing farming system water productivity through alternative land use and improved water management of rainfed agriculture in vertisol areas

Presentation by Teklu Erkossa

  • Q: Integrated crop & livestock productivity: what are numbers/results supporting that conclusion?
  • A: We have numbers but only around the part related to feeds. That component has been calculated/estimated.
  • Q: The economic outputs of farming practices ok but what about storing AAS which has its unique characteristics (carbon & water storage etc.) – was there any research done on the benefits of such wetlands?
  • A: Vertisol areas are temporarily waterlogged but this is only temporary, it’s not like wetlands. In October these parts will be dry so there’s not much ecological function for these areas. We are trying to drain the temporary logged areas but not wetlands.
  • Q: We haven’t seen much uptake from the BBF approach but farmers are not using it, why?
  • A: This was developed by ICRISAT in the 80’s and ILRI adapted that to the Ethiopian context but it was still heavy and farmers were not happy. The adoption took a long time despite yield advantages. Vertisols retain a lot of moisture. We are trying to see how the innovation process has gone from ICRISAT to our work. It was such slow adoption at the beginning but gaining pace after continuing refinement.There was a continues improvement (5-6 generations) MoA is disseminating in Oromia and Amhara regions. It is beyond what we’ve presented here. We are trying to see how the innovation process has gone from ICRISAT. It was slow at the beginning now after continues refinement it is taken up by farmers.Issue of technology adoption BBF was still challenging…. It is because of the targeted problem because all vertisoils are not the same. All vertisoil types are not suitable for this technology

Effect of current feed sourcing and feeding strategies…

Presentation by Bedassa Eba

Hydrological monitoring of sustainable land management interventions in Mizewa watershed Long term research from Blue Nile basin, North Ethiopia etc.

Presentation by Birhanu Zemadim

  • Q: if you include downstream benefits etc., would the result be very different? A certain portion of benefits of public goods might offset this. Are you only counting private benefits or also public benefits downstream?
  • A: Benefits are according to costs… it takes a longer time to get benefits. We are looking at on-site benefits only.
  • Q: Reports of soil loss from various watersheds and relationship of this with yield?
  • A: We haven’t yet started to relate soil loss with yield but it would be a very good research topic.
  • Q: You use Hydromet to calibrate SWAT but your calibration was a one-off so how confident that your calibration is strong enough for 1-year simulation?
  • A: The model presented is showing further results according to hydrological efficiency criteria. At landscape level we’re relying on data from Bahir Dar and we’ve transferred this data from 1999 to 2012. The calibration was done for 1 year and 5 months.
  • Q: I’m impressed with the results. How do you convince a farmer to implement this and what strategies/approaches are really needed? What values do these things add to what farmers are looking for? Who are the target beneficiaries? We need to target to them – but what resources do we need and what activities do we need to make this happen?
  • A: This is not a question for a researcher – I also worry about this and am concerned about this too but I don’t have clear-cut answers on this.
  • Q: How reliable is the SWAT model at the moment?
  • A: As you know most models are wrong. One of the ones we use is SWAT. There are other models which are useful for highlands parts of the catchment but the issue is how do you integrate impact on catchment? One method is the application of practices and monitoring it with baseline data and monitor again to see the difference.
  • Q: These modelers should validate their integrated outputs to predict what happens outside the watershed?
  • A: Are we talking about other variables than flow? It’s easier to do it on flow but there are other indicators e.g. soil moisture and we also need to calibrate these inside the watershed… There has to be a study on the spatial modeling of the watershed with locations of stations for calibration etc.

Erosion modeling in the Upper Blue Nile Basin (the case for Mizewa watershed)

Presentation by Maru Alem Assegahegn (and Birhanu)

// General discussion on session 2

The issue on technological adoption is challenging but not because of tech problems but because of targeting problems. All vertisols are not the same and the characteristics of technologies must fit soil conditions. How do we transfer technologies to farmers? It’s about how we organize our research. If we continue in our silos, how will our results get out, get understood and applied? Thinking we are researchers and are targeting others is missing the point, we have to work in partnership, revitalize the DA system but it doesn’t work if we do the research, go tell the Das etc. they have to be involved in the research itself. There are big gaps in terms of how we conduct our research in a trans-disciplinary way… not just as recipients of research.

The day has been extremely productive and in our interactions we take advantage of the research centres that we have in the country. The collaboration between research institutions, academia and implementing NGOs is beneficial to all of us, you, us and the whole country. Let’s intensify this collaboration.

Session three (b): Rainwater, Land and Water Resources Management

Prioritizing rainwater management strategies in the Blue Nile Basin

Presentation by An Notenbaert

  • Q: MoA is using the WOCAT database – are you using it or another one?
  • A: Some members have looked at WOCAT database and some of it has been included but we could have a closer look at this to do it more systematically, though there must be quite some overlap.
  • Q: Have suitability maps been validated on the ground?
  • A: With partners we took a closer look at a number of them and came up with happy strategies for that reason. There’s been validation but not very thoroughly.
    • Under WOCAT there’s also Ethiocat and SLM is using this.
  • Q: If you go back to the first stage, are you taking out some practices etc. – what do you change from step 4 to 1?
  • A: You don’t need to keep going through these steps, this is not an end product. What you see as different types of impact you look differently at the situation on the ground in the future to rethink about different options.
  • Q: At landscape level, how can we think about an integrated strategy using Goblet tool?
  • A: We can use the Goblet tool to define combinations of practices for the landscape and develop suitability maps + define feasibility.

Rhetoric vs. realities

(an assessment of rainwater management planning and implementation modalities in Oromiya and Amhara region)
Presentation by Eva Ludi (and Josie Tucker)

Important to do multidisciplinary research, research partnerships and genuine collaboration between researchers and civil society.
6 recommendations:
  • Shift the focus of targets from outputs to outcomes
  • Enhance monitoring and evidence collection on RWM with a focus on impact and sustainability
  • Revitalise and cpaitalise on the DA system
  • Strengthen local institutions’ roles in RWM
  • Move towards more meaningful participation
  • Open lines of communication to foster innovative capacity

  • Q: Does participation remain effective in planning and decision-making. There is an implicit misunderstanding that planners and farmers are not a homogeneous group. We have to bear that in mind.
  • A: I absolutely agree. There are very different types of farmers. We need ‘genuine’ participation, as in different parts of the communities with their different knowledge/constraints etc. Participation alone will not solve problems but we need to think carefully about what participation means, who participates, how participation is done.
  • Q: Livelihood is important – we have to understand implications of NRM on farmers’ livelihoods, otherwise why would they bother with long term planning etc.
  • A:
  • Comment: Farmers’ evaluations about these terraces. On a technical standpoint it shouldn’t work. The technical know-how of the local workforce is influenced too much by Europeans.
  • Q: If you look at the SLM manual, it was very good but the way it is implemented is disregarding that manual.
  • Comment Eva: I’m not taking a stand about this knowledge pool or that one but rather I think we have to bring them together. Farmers haven’t managed to solve RWM by themselves and exclusively technical solutions did not solve the problem of land degradation. We need participatory thinking and strategizing to recognize both knowledge systems’ contributions. We have to think outside the box (it’s not just erosion, productivity etc.) it usually lies in politics and economics and we should have a chat with economic planners and other sectors NRM and livestock etc.
  • Q: The case of Diga – how do you communicate to the community that they have to plan very well around NRM?
  • A: It’s not the only community in this case. The tech specs are not great there. How to improve it? The system by which things are measured is not good. Ethiopia has developed reports, kms of soil bunds etc. but there’s no focus of how many of these KMs are still there after 5-10 years. There’s focus on outputs, not outcomes or impact and people (DAs) are assessed against outputs. We need to better support DAs… They have too little training, remuneration etc. very few incentives. We have to provide better conditions for DAs and there would be more champions… But this is a project, funding will dry up etc. but will we be able to run IPs etc.? Probably not. But one of the factors that will work out for sustainability is longer term engagement. The MERET sites that look good are because there is such long-term engagement without exit strategy.
  • Q: Landscapes where SLM has worked etc. happen where we find champions. Could you comment on lessons learnt from SLM’s success?
  • A: See above.
  • Q: I agree with most of your findings but how do you see planning and the issues with bottom-up planning (which is difficult due to limited capacity)…
  • A: You can’t just rely on bottom-up planning. What’s required is bringing the two sides together.
  • Comment Eva: Right incentives are good. Anjeni still looks good and the community had incentives with soil conservation vs. building a clinic. Most good areas are where there’s soil moisture deficit. How do we drain excess rainfall out of cropland? That’s an area with a direct economic incentive.
  • Doing work in very different contexts: Working with DA’s is a massive opportunity to take in Ethiopia if we support them well so they can do the work we do as one-off in a more sustainable way.

Participatory approaches to tackling power and representations in innovation platforms

Lessons from the use of WAT-A-GAME in Fogera, Ethiopia.
Presentation by Zelalem Lema & Beth Cullen

  • Q: To what extent is this tool different or similar to what the government is applying re: participatory watershed development guidelines (which also include games etc.)?
  • A: We looked at those guidelines too and our baseline showed that the implementation of tools at woreda level is problematic. This is about community mapping etc. as in the guidelines but we try to come up with specific ideas for specific woredas.

Socio technical solutions for rehabilitating degraded crop and rangeland associated with destructive termite behaviour in Diga

Presentation by Hirpaha Legesse et al.

  • Comment: It would be good to consider linkages between this presentation and Don’s presentation yesterday.
  • Q: Rangelands. Have you revisited traditional rangeland management practices in that area e.g. application of fire to control termites etc.?
  • A: There’s no rangeland in that area. It’s a state farm but due to degradation they have left the lands. There’s a small private grazing area but there’s no communal land.
  • Q: Gender issues around this?
  • A: ??
  • Q: How do the 2 presentations coincide and what recommendations can we make for farmers in that area? Not only Diga but other areas in that zone are affected. Which tree species can we recommend? Have you checked all relevant literature in this area?
  • A: ??

Sustainable intensification of small-scale agriculture in the upper Blue Nile Basin

Multi-criteria optimization of rainwater management strategies
Presentation by Kinde Getnet

  • Q: Why does it take so much time to get final results?
  • A: We have a list of scenarios. CROPWAT will help assess productivity, impact etc. We have scenarios but can’t easily quantify them so that ECOSAUT and SWAT do an analysis – provided that we agree on the scenarios in the first place.
  • Q: You only looked at rainwater harvesting. Unless it’s properly managed people don’t get out of poverty. Did you consider other factors that help farmers step out of poverty?
  • A: I looked at RWM strategies, including but not only RW harvesting. Before we make any other suggestion, we need to understand the procedures well.
  • Q: How did you come up with good scenarios without looking at indicators? What are drivers of indicators?
  • A: These indicators are used as checkpoints. We will evaluate strategies against these indicators. We see how each strategy affects these indicators etc.

Evaluating best management practices for decreasing downstream sediment load in a degrading Blue Nile Basin

Presentation by Tammo S. Steenhuis et al.

  • Q: This is the only presentation so far that mentioned the Nile. What is the impact on Egypt in terms of water quality/quantity?
  • A: The Nile drops 1300m between Lake Tana and the border and then 300m elevation down in Egypt. There’s likely no sediment in it. If you reduce sediment on the land there will be less sediment at the border. Sediment concentration is not going to change in Egypt. Rumours have it that Egypt has a lot more water than in 1929 and I suspect it has to do also with land degradation.
  • Q: You have categorized areas in degraded or not degraded. I could see different levels of degradation.
  • A: This is a definition that we should discuss. Soils degrade due to erosion, eroded runoff etc. I don’t know for sure so we should talk about it and we should ask farmers’ opinions about this too.

Effects of biochar and charcoal on soil-hydraulic properties

Presentation by Haimanote K. Bayabil et al.

  • Q: You are sing charcoal to improve permeability of the soil but what about environmental implications?
  • A: Re: deforestation I understand your concern but charcoal is recalcitrant material, it stays for various centuries. It stays there for the long term. Studies suggest that it promotes NR conservation.
    • Re: charcoal etc. they improve the permeability of soil for water logging issues. If you use it on sandy soil you may not see positive effects.
  • Q: you compared biochar and charcoal but didn’t tell us how much charcoal you applied à how many trees do we need to cut? Q: You didn’t mention the amount of charcoal to add on a particular hectare and for how long to be sustainable. Is it really practical in our country and the alarming deforestation?
  • A: Biochar and charcoal are almost the same but bio-char is prepared without oxygen. It can be prepared from any form of biomass. We apply 5g of biochar/charcoal per kg of biomass. Recovery rate is: ?? However, biochar/charcoal will remain 200 to 1000 years. National and international biochar initiatives are recognized as positive to deal with climate change. About using energy of biochar etc. there’s no study but a group is working on this – they’re starting in Ethiopia.

Local agro-ecological knowledge of impacts of land use change on water security

Impacts of eucalyptus expansion in the Ethiopian Highlands
Presentation by Martha Cronin

  • Comment: I liked the policy analysis, it would be good to combine it with Tammo’s presentation.
  • C: We had 4-5 different models (hydrological, economic etc.) and it’s very rare to have so many models on the same area and you probably come to different results. It would be good to compare them and see which ones to use.
  • Q: You attributed base flow reduction to eucalyptus but perhaps it’s not the only factor e.g. land degradation reduces infiltration and groundwater recharge.
  • A: By having eucalyptus they can serve seasonal head water (it happens much further into the rainy season). At larger scale, water infiltration etc. is also recognized as a factor…
  • Q: Why are our farmers planting eucalyptus, considering economic benefits and the role they play on groundwater? How to convince farmers to use indigenous trees?
  • A: It’s a huge question. The obvious answer is the economic value as timber, easy management etc. Policy constraints are there but are changing. However there’s understanding that native species cannot be used for logging. We have to investigate advantages of other tree species. In steep slope areas, there’s tradeoffs between eucalyptus and croplands.
    • For farmers, we have to think about incentives to pay for ecosystem services. It’s the beginning of trying to bring together farmers around these issues, not just marketability but also water availability…

// General discussion on session 3

  • Comment: We tend to only focus on private economic benefits. It’s a flaw that goes back to 1990’s – even WAT-A-GAME looks at individual benefits but there could be investments that could be useful further downstream that the government could subsidise…
    • At conceptual level it’s a good thing to think about this but at technical level it’s quite difficult. We don’t have an established approach. Public goods don’t have a market, a cost etc. Why we focus more on individual benefits is that households’ benefits are seen as more important than communities’ etc.
    • Targeting and outscaling contributes to developing scenarios that inform offscale effects etc.
  • C: Great session building on yesterday.
  • Q: Trees help with the right rooting. Soil water conservation is also helpful but we can also think about local and off-site benefits… We have to bridge the gap between livelihoods in the vicinity. We need to keep soils in place.

Session four: Institutions/Adoption/Marketing

Assessment of farmers’ rainwater management technology adoption in the Blue Nile Basin

Presentation by Gebrehwaria Gebregziabher (et al.)

  • Q: Good that gender is mentioned. Can we build this into suitability mapping?
  • A: The willingness to adopt is based on this piece of research. We haven’t integrated this enough in our strategy.
  • Q: A few presentations look at collective action and this presentation focuses on individual household technologies.
  • A: There is commitment from individual farmers to engage in community activities but farmers also have an interest to adopt on their private lands. Some of these are individual and others are collective technologies.

‘Is social cooperation’ for traditional irrigation, while ‘technology’ is for motor pump irrigation?

Presentation by Mengistu Dessalegn

  • Q: You mentioned cooperation within an area. Have you looked at downstream impacts? In some areas there’s good cooperation with great institutions etc. but it works only in that limited area.
  • A: In Fogera it’s not an issue as there are various committees that coordinate among kebeles.

Factors in sub-optimum performance of rural water supply systems in the Ethiopian Highlands

Presentation by Seifu Tilahun

  • Q: The title mentions implications for RWM but it’s not covered.
  • A: ??
  • Comment: Watershed protection / management can be argued from both sides e.g. between Ministry of Energy and of Agriculture.

Market imperfections, the brokerage institutions and smallholder market linkages in marketing of horticultural crops in Fogera woreda, Amhara national and regional state

Presentation by Simegnew Tamir (et al.)

  • Q: Good to see that brokers are getting good press when most literature is saying the opposite. You want to formalize their role but if this is working why do you want to formalize?
  • A: ?? (missed it, was not around)
  • Q: You mention brokers are trusted by smallholders and wholesalers but you also mention later that they have trust differences with smallholders…
  • A: ?? (missed it, was not around)
  • Q: You portray them as positive institutions but are they competitive?
  • A: ?? (missed it, was not around)

// General discussion on session 4

  • Q: Better to promote individual technologies than collectively managed schemes (with high transaction costs). When you stick too many pumps in the watershed competition for water resources becomes an issue. Should there be a licensing system linked to collective watershed management so that the WM committee can agree to license etc.?
    • Mengistu, Gebre, Philippe, Doug should get together to discuss this issue of fragmented use of resources. The AgWater management project is looking into this and LiVES also.
  • A: ??
  • Q: Community participation and management: on paper it looks interesting but in practice it remains very difficult. Are there experiences where simple actionable strategies make participation possible?
  • A: The best way to deal with community participation is to look at… ? Licensing may not be important because everyone has their share of cropping land – but water pumps should be regulated.

Final discussion on the whole of the workshop

On the whole everyone seems positive on the workshop but feedback forms are mentioning this:
“We’ve got too much focus on Fogera”. We need to discuss this.
“The NBDC are not the only people working on the Nile” – how to draw research from other fields?
“Balance between discussions and presentations was not quite right” – we needed to hear from everyone.
Presentations into posters into papers is one of the objectives.

Any comment on the science or process?

  • Comment: So many presentations – I got lost about how to make this come together? Developing a 4-pager with all these presentations would be good…
  • Q: There’s a division between technical and social projects and there’s not much integration – how to integrate this more?
  • A: There’s been a divide between all NBDC projects and we developed messages across these projects and now we’re looking at how we can build these messages on evidence. Perhaps an ignored message is about upstream/downstream.

    • Yes there’s been some divide and we’ve tried to address this under our ‘One NBDC’ initiative. It’s late to integrate but NBDC is not the end of the story. There’s the Water Lands and Ecosystems program and we can build upon these.
    • I wouldn’t stop with bringing all science strands together but also bring users to the research process. Then we cut the step of having to convince any users because they’re involved.
    • The landscaping perspective is about doing different things up- and down-stream and that came from the technical part of the work.
  • Some issues have come out in the papers: land degradation, livestock, adoption of practices etc. and they have linkages with key messages. It’d be good to identify some of these key messages. If there’s one champion for each of these ideas/messages it might be a good way to move forward?
  • I was hoping this workshop would bring up much more clearly what research is coming out of NBDC and we succeeded 100% in this. The other striking thing: even among social scientists it seems there’s not enough integration. I noted down possible papers to be co-authored by members of the team in an integrated manner as thematic papers:
    • E.g. In all 3 NBDC sites there’s interesting stuff coming out and we could write papers about each of these sites and another paper looking at the comparative between these.
    • Another idea could be to approach a watershed landscape in an integrated way that combines innovative planning, creative investments etc. to work through one of the SLM projects. They could be implementing the project with our support.
  • How can we effectively communicate the outputs of this workshop for policy-makers? We have the key messages but maybe there are immediate messages with implications on the ground. Perhaps there are messages for the scientific community at large? If we have the capacity, how can we bridge the capacity gap? Finally, in terms of scientific outputs, we have a number of interesting bits of work that haven’t been presented. How can we categorise them etc.?

Closing and other words etc.

Conclusions Simon:
We are dealing with complex issues. There are very diverse sets of papers.
We’re not aiming at blueprints.
We have to focus on a number of pointers mentioned in this workshop: Capacity and working with DA’s; Upstream/downstream linkage; Communities and communication; Outputs vs. outcomes; Participation is not about just inviting people; Policies are here but implementation is lagging behind. DAs etc. are driven by outputs too; Interventions, infiltration rates etc. talking about termites, soil conservation etc.

We set out with the objective to review the evidence and we have achieved that.
Networking was also an objective and hopefully it’s building up… We need to network what we’re doing with other researchers.
Build papers etc. The organization committee will help build papers.

Next steps?
One of the next programs is Water Lands and Ecosystems and there will be a stakeholder meeting in October with a process going forward. Sentinel sites where we do all the work for that program will build upon the work done with NBDC.

Closing Belay
Research is central to regional research centres. How can the extension system carry out its research? ARARI was established through Belay’s leadership which helped him lead research and extension – balancing both. Research topics should be identified with farmers, extension workers and formal researchers.
Re: the watershed approach, there was a link between watershed and market.
From this work, we can tease out policy briefs. We need to synthesise the messages to communicate at different levels. Communication with media also has to follow through etc.
I appreciated the last 2 days and look forward to the synthesis.
We (NBDC) are going to host a regional workshop in BD on 23-24 July. We have to take some of the messages from here to policy-makers.

Closing Alan
Thank you all for the full turnout and staying until the end.
Thank you all presenters over the last couple of days.
Thank you all poster presenters.
Thank you KMIS team.
Thank you chair people.
Thank you Yemisrach and Bruktawit on getting invitations etc.
Thank you Wolde Bori.