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Technical University Delft (2005)

Developing small reservoirs : A participatory approach can help

Poolman, M.I.

Titre : Developing small reservoirs : A participatory approach can help

Auteur : Poolman, M.I.

Université de soutenance : Technical University Delft

Grade : Master of Science 2005

Résumé partiel
“Freshwater is indispensable for human survival” ; this was not only Ghana’s theme for the International Year of Freshwater (2003), but also the key theme behind why there is a growing trend in Ghana to manage this vital resource with care. In an area such as the Upper East Region of Ghana, where the population lives with highly variable rainfall and experiences drought, catching and storing freshwater that falls as rain during the rainy-season is essential in order to live through the dry-season. The stored water can help bring security to the livelihoods of the people since it can be used for irrigation, domestic use, and livestock watering during a period where otherwise there would be very little water available. However, the volume of water that becomes available for storage varies from year to year and therefore project such as the Small Reservoirs Project (SRP)1 are working in the region to create methods for growing food with less water and to develop these small storage reservoirs. This thesis research was carried out for the SRP with the aim to answer the following question : What kind of participatory approach will be most useful to a District Assembly to achieve sustainable development of small reservoir systems ? A literature study and a field study were carried out in order to gain better understanding of the small reservoir systems and the institutional structures in the Upper East Region at the district and at the regional level that could allow for participation to take place, and an analysis of these structures was carried out. Because of the affiliation with the Small Reservoirs Project, this research also focused more on the most useful participatory approach that the SRP can help the District Assembly to achieve or implement. In the first place, from looking at the evaluations of two projects that were carried out in the past it was determined that the most essential component to successful participation is creating a willingness, enthusiasm and commitment to participatory approaches both at local communities and within the supporting organisations. Commitment can be enhanced through use of incentives and through creating a mutual understanding and agreement as to what is to be done, why, and within which time span. However, It should be realized that capacity building and training activities take time to implement and that it also takes time before water users learn to become water managers. Secondly it was uncovered that in order for the District Assembly to make informed decisions about development of small reservoir systems it would need information in the form of data (quantifiable and qualitative facts about characteristic of water resources), information (interpreted data), knowledge (information held in the mind) and wisdom (agreement and commonly accepted methods of using water resources to ensure sustainability).

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