Submitted by guest blogger on Sat,02/17/2018

The changing benefits of ecosystem services for rural communities in northern Ghana.

Post by: Mul, M.; Pettinotti, L.; Amonoo, N. A.; Bekoe-Obeng, E.; Obuobie, E. 
 Hamish John Appleby / IWMI

A crocodile in the Upper East Region. Photo: Hamish John Appleby / IWMI

In contrast with affluent parts of the world, people living along the White Volta River in northern Ghana seldom take water for granted. Its seasonal flows shape their livelihoods, and their keen appreciation of water-dependent ecosystems is evident in local beliefs and customs. Under traditional land tenure, for example, a “land priest” (or tindana) has responsibility, at least symbolically, for all major decisions about natural resources. Ponds and the surrounding trees – key features of the region’s “natural infrastructure” – are considered to be the abode of ancestors. The “grandmother crocodile pond” in one village is named after a female ancestor of the local chief, who is said to have come back to life in this form.

Valuing natural infrastructure

To the reverential attitudes of rural communities, researchers have added new insights on the benefits that natural infrastructure provides to local communities, which can help guide decisions about natural resource management. This was the focus of a team led by Marloes Mul, a hydrologist with the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), and Laetitia Pettinotti from the Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3), who recently conducted a study in northern Ghana’s Talensi and West Mamprusi Districts to examine the natural infrastructure that sustains ecosystem services and to characterize the potential impacts on these services of changes occurring in the region. Through a “participatory rural appraisal,” the researchers captured the views of local communities on these issues, taking care to distinguish between the differing perspectives of women and...Read more

Submitted by guest blogger on Mon,12/18/2017

It’s no joking matter in Kenya’s Tana River Basin


Collecting rainwater data on the farm. Photo: Georgina Smith / CIAT

The authors of a new study about climate change impacts in Kenya have both good news and bad for the country’s vital Tana River Basin. First, the good news: Mean annual rainfall may increase by up to 43% in the course of the 21st century, though with clear differences between rainfall in the upper, middle and lower parts of the basin. And now the bad: Extreme climate events, especially flooding, will also increase. The combined effect of this news will be to make water management in the basin a lot trickier during the decades to come.

Global Landscapes Forum 2017

New findings on the hydrological impacts of climate change in Kenya’s Tana River Basin are being released at the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) 2017, held in Bonn, Germany, on December 19-20. Efforts to improve water and land management in the Tana Basin are in the spotlight during a GLF session hosted by the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE), along with the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).



How Kenya responds to this challenge will make an enormous difference to people and the environment. Consumers in the capital city, Nairobi, get 80% of their water from the Tana Basin. It also delivers 70% of the country’s hydroelectric power and 35% of its total electricity supply. The basin is home...Read more

Submitted by guest blogger on Tue,12/12/2017

Post by: Naomi Oates (Overseas Development Institute) (ODI))

These are exciting times to be working in Kenya’s water sector. The 2010 Constitution not only enshrines citizen rights to water, but has triggered a raft of reforms aimed at improving public participation and accountability in development processes. As a consequence, substantial responsibilities and funds have been devolved to newly created County Governments, including for water service provision. Local stakeholders are also becoming bolder in challenging top-down water infrastructure developments that could affect their well-being.Read more

Submitted by guest blogger on Wed,12/06/2017

Post by: Ellie McGuire for WISE UP

As the impacts of climate change become more globally pervasive—and particularly grievous in developing nations—the subsequent need to consider adaptation and resilience objectives within development initiatives is inevitable. Accordingly, in addition to more conventional forms of economic aid, climate finance plays an increasingly important role in supporting the adaptation and mitigation initiatives of developing countries.Read more

Submitted by Maria on Tue,10/10/2017

Post by: Martin Calisto (IUCN South America Office) and Maria C (Lindelien Global Water Programme)

The Catamayo-Chira basin straddles the Ecuadorian and Peruvian border in the south of Ecuador. It is one of the 275 transboundary basins in the world. With a population of approximately 280.000 on the Ecuadorian side and 580.000 on the Peruvian side, the basin is of huge importance to the region. The Catamayo-Chira is one of 14 basins in which the IUCN BRIDGE initiative is active. It was the location of a recent BRIDGE meeting field trip as it functions as a good example of the work that BRIDGE does fostering hydrodiplomacy and integrated water resource management across continents.Read more

Submitted by guest blogger on Tue,09/26/2017

Blog by: Matthew McCartney (IWMI), James Dalton (IUCN) and Eric Odada (University of Nairobi)

Large dams contribute significantly to economic growth, food security and national development. They can also help societies cope with climate change by storing water, protecting people and assets from floods, and generating cleaner electricity. Yet, large dams are controversial because of the adverse social and environmental impacts associated with them historically. Among dam proponents, the debate centers on how best to overcome these impacts and how much project financing to set aside for this purpose. Anti-dam campaigners, meanwhile, represent nature as a hapless victim of the tyranny of large infrastructure projects.

Convinced that neither point of view is satisfactory, we propose a more constructive way of thinking. One which acknowledges the dual role that nature plays, contributing to the success of large dams, on the one hand, while helping people adapt to their impacts, on the other.Read more

Submitted by Maria on Mon,09/11/2017

Post by: Maria C Lindelien (IUCN Global Water Programme)

Embarking on the final quarter of 2017 (yes already!), World Water Week gave participants some sneak previews into the topics that will be headlining the water agenda in 2018.

In the event titled ‘Join us on the road to Brasilia,’ convened by the 8th World Water Forum Secretariat and the World Water Council (WWC), attendees were provided with information on the 8th World Water Forum which will take place in Brasilia, in March 2018. The overlaying topic for the eighth edition of this Forum will be ‘Sharing Water’.Read more

Submitted by guest blogger on Tue,08/29/2017

Post by: Christine Omuombo and Washington Ochola

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research recently hosted to a 3-day capacity development workshop for the WISE-UP project. It was conducted by ACCESS and helped shed light on trade-offs in water infrastructure development and decision alternatives in the White Volta basin.Read more

Submitted by guest blogger on Fri,07/07/2017

Post by: WISE UP Partners: Washington Ochola and Christine Omuombo, ACCESS

Under the WISE-UP to climate project that looks at the water infrastructure investment portfolios, the African Collaborative Center for Earth System Sciences (ACCESS), gathered stakeholders from the national, regional and local levels to undertake an exploratory scenario development process for the Tana River basin. ACCESS organized and executed this workshop as both a capacity building and technical implementation event culmination from previous stakeholder engagement and tool development activities under various WISE-UP work packages. The workshop aimed to develop skills and competencies among participants in the design and use of basin scenarios by stakeholders to inform decision-making and planning for alternative future water infrastructure options under a changing climate.Read more

Submitted by guest blogger on Thu,06/15/2017

“Connecting people with nature,” the theme of this year’s World Environment Day, is more complicated than it sounds, especially in the management of water – nature’s lifeblood.Read more