Towards Integrated Innovative Technologies for Sustainable Provision and Financing of Agricultural Groundwater in African Drylands

Towards Integrated Innovative Technologies for Sustainable Provision and Financing of Agricultural Groundwater in African Drylands

Cush Ngonzo Luwesi (International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Ghana), Amos Yesutanbul Nkpeebo (Friends of the Earth – Ghana East Legon, Ghana), Yaw Osei-Owusu (Conservation Alliance International, Ghana) and Paa Kofi Osei-Owusu (Conservation Alliance International, Ghana)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2719-0.ch011
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Water Vision 2000 declared: “Water crises are not about too little water... but about managing water badly such that billions of people and the environment suffer badly.” Good leadership and governance are therefore needed to bring about investments through innovation in the water sector. However, the ubiquitous nature of investments in water services makes it less attractive for the private finance sector. Agricultural groundwater development has particularly begun offering incentives for private investors. This study foresees a high potential in the integration of recent developments of information and communication technologies (ICT) with existing hydraulic technologies to sustain cropping and food production in African drylands. A case is given for the blending of the Bhungroo, Grundfos Lifelink and M-Pesa technologies to make an integrated BGM-P technology for agricultural groundwater supply. This will enable water users have access to the service at the “right” time, in the “right” quantities, at the “right” places. This is a pathway to sustainable agriculture intensification.
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The Issue At Stake

Water services are on the boundary between economic infrastructure and purely social infrastructure. The first type of infrastructure encompasses logistics for services such as transport, electricity and telecommunications while the second type serves health and education sector. An economic infrastructure has either a high degree of dependence on user charging or substantial public budgetary provision for roads and ports, for instance. However, a social infrastructure has normally exclusive or heavy reliance on public finance. This ubiquitous nature of investments in water services make it less attractive for the private finance sector. Agriculture water development has particularly not yet offered incentives for private investors, even though agriculture water provision has begun showing a significant interest in projects that require large capital disbursement.

If irrigation is the largest water consumer in most developing countries, with water demands often exceeding 80% of the total consumption, it has the most readily available path to attracting new investments in the water sector to achieve water savings and meet future demands in agriculture (Ringler, 2001; Rosegrant et al., 2002; Cai et al., 2007). This is justified by the fact that irrigated agriculture is increasingly put under pressure to both demonstrate and improve upon its performance (Wichelns, 2002; Malano et al., 2004). Without new investments in efficient irrigation technologies, there is likelihood that water will have to be diverted more and more to meet the needs of urban areas and industries (Inocensio et al., 2002; Rosegrant et al., 2000; Wichelns, 2004). For this to happen without compromising agricultural growth and food production so as to meet rising population needs, innovative irrigation systems are key to improving water use efficiency both in terms of cost, productivity and allocation at the technical, managerial and institutional levels (Wallace, 2000; Gleick, 2001;Molden and Bos, 2005; Kassam et al., 2007; Cai et al., 2008). The scope for improving both water cost efficiency, allocation and productivity in agriculture is still considerable but requires substantial funding for innovative investments financing. Such relevance could be tested through an integrated Bhungroo-Grundfos-M-Pesa (BGM-P) Technology.

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