Project Methodology

The WHaTeR project will address the challenge of agricultural growth and increasing productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa by promoting the adoption of WHTs that are sustainable under changing environmental conditions. It will do so by a set of inter-linked action research and dissemination activities, undertaken in a multidisciplinary partnership between European and African research, development and dissemination organisations. The WHaTeR project has been developed as an iterative learning cycle for partners and stakeholders involved.

The project will be implemented in three distinct phases, i.e., the revisit and situation analysis phase (with baseline description), the core RTD phase, and the synthesis phase. The Phase 2 methodology for quantifying WHT impact on water quality and quantity in the four focus countries (Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, South Africa and Tanzania) will include: multiple scale assessments and an integrated approach of coupling hydrological-biophysical models with social, econometric models.

The project will start with revisits of WHT locations studied in the past and will identify drivers of change and factors limiting or enhancing adoption. Then, activities for progressive WHT development and improvement will be planned in close consultation with stakeholders. The WHaTeR project will analyse WHTs and associated crop production systems, assess investment needs and their effects on environmental sustainability, livelihoods and food security of the rural poor, at different spatial scales (i.e., individual farm, multiple farms or community lands). Likewise, the project will evaluate the sustainability of WHT-based production systems in terms of effects on water quality and quantity as well as potential positive (or negative) impacts on additional water-related ecosystems services through blue-green water linkages and upstream-downstream interactions within given catchments. Furthermore, the impact of external (global and regional) factors (climate change, market developments and population growth) will be considered in combined scenario and modelling studies.

Based on the results, criteria for the development and uptake of innovative WHT adapted to farming systems will be generated as well as criteria for adapting farming systems by investing in new, or enhancing existing, WHTs. The criteria will be based on technical, social and economic aspects against which the level of “improvement” in terms of agricultural productivity, food security, poverty alleviation and reduced conflicts over natural resources can be judged and evaluated based on ongoing on-farm WHT testing. The results of this project will further be translated into WHT guidelines and policy strategies for transferring WHT into different areas and integrating WHTs into local and regional economic development plans, facilitating a wider adoption of appropriate WHTs and in the context of integrated water resource management.


Last modified: Thursday, 21 March 2013, 11:11 AM