WaSA is not about just accessing blue water , which is limited and difficult for small scale farmers to harvest from new sources. Relying primarily on blue water therefore can limit small scale farmers from increasing production or incomes during dry seasons. Limited access to water is a core constraint to building resilience capacity as any interventions focused on increasing the productive capacity of small scale farmers cannot be sustainable without a focused agenda on increasing access to water.
WaSA focuses on 3 approaches:
- Irrigation smart – invest in efficient small scale irrigation Rainfall smart
- Rainfall smart – reduce runoff, maximize infiltration, harvest rain water
- Soil smart – initial investment for farmer, in soil management to enhance soil health and capacity to retain moisture.
By investing in WaSA, CARE can support SHFs to:
- increase yields with less water
- increase investments in accessing water
- increase awareness/commitment to equity mechanisms and the role of smallholders in managing water
The Ideal WaSA Package
WaSA can be applied at multiple scales. As such, the WaSA package has multiple targets – farmers, private sector ad governments. WaSA is therefore a set of interventions targeted at multiple scales, and varies depending on environment and challenges. The ideal WaSA package is environment specific, and comprises tools and practices for farmers, approaches for private sector engagement (for example markets and access to markets), broader government engagement and budget allocation targeted at enabling smallholder farmer access to water, including enabling environment, and advocating for water access as an enabler for local development.
Farmers package of environment specific interventions:
soil moisture conservation/management, green water use, efficient irrigation use Private Sector: Driving demand for new technologies and practices, information exchange comprising market opportunities locally and nationally Local/National Governments: Identifying where to invest and targeting investments in water for agriculture for increased food production and sustained livelihoods. Regional/National Global: Advocacy for improved water use as a key ingredient for enhanced food production and livelihoods investments.
GREEN WATER refers to the water held in soil storage and available for direct plant uptake. It is a fraction of rainfall that is stored in the soil. About 60% food production is produced in rain fed agricultural systems and is dependent on green water.
BLUE WATER on the other hand, is water abstracted from rivers, lakes, aquifers and reservoirs and is used for irrigation. Globally, irrigation is practiced on about 20 % of total production area; accounting for 40% of food production. In sub-Saharan Africa only 4% of agricultural production area is irrigated. More than 70% of food is produced in rain fed systems.
Article Originally Found here: https://www.care.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/wasa_learning_brief_2017.pdf