5 class simplification of water-related poverty applied to the Volta basin
The concept seems useful, and at least applicable to the Volta basin. Here is a short presentation.
1. where people are deprived of water for basic needs of consumption or sanitation as a result of water scarcity.
• Insufficient assets to compensate for physical scarcity
50 % of rural population in Volta basin do not have access to good quality household water. More a result of economic (and institutional) scarcity than real physical scarcity, but with major impact on health. Has been mapped in Volta basin.
2. where people lack equitable access to water.
• Political environment & institutions that lead to inequitable access
Probably true locally for access to small scale irrigation. Especially for women.
3. where people are vulnerable to water-related hazards such as floods, droughts or disease.
Influence of dry spells and droughts in the Volta basin. Increased risk from south to north
Low rainfall in the season and dry spells are important risks for the rain fed farmers. The risk decreases from north to south.
Hyman et al. (2008) have developed a method to assess and map drought risk by estimating the probability of a failed growing season in many parts of the world. For the Volta basin this probability has been added to the description of the different systems of the basin in order to underline the effects of rainfall variability. The distribution of the crop systems is summarized below, according to the agroclimatic zones
• The Sahel, with less than 500 mm annual rainfall, is a zone of rangeland where livestock herding is the primary activity, complemented with some millet and drought resistant cowpea. The probability of a failed growing season is 53%.
• The Sahelo-Sudan, covering most of Burkina Faso and a small part of Mali, receives between 500 and 900 mm of rainfall per year. Millet and sorghum and maize are the main crops. The drought risk has been estimated as 24 %.
• The Sudan, receives between 900 and 1100 mm of rainfall per year. This is a transition zone where both cereals and root crops are produced. Maize production is increasing as a result of urban demand. Some transhumant cattle is present seasonally, and sedentary cattle is widespread. The probability of failed growing season is 17 %.
• The Guinean zone, covering the southern part of Ghana, receives in excess of 1100 mm of rainfall per year, with a bimodal regime toward the south of the basin. Yam, cassava and plantain, and also maize, are here the main food productions. The drought risk is only 8 %.
Hyman G., Fujisaka S., Jones P., Wood S., Carmen de Vicente M. & Dixon J., 2008.- Strategic approaches to targeting technology generation: Assessing the coincidence of poverty and drought-prone crop production. Agricultural Systems 98: 50-61
Influence of floods : downstream of hydroelectric reservoirs ( example of Bagré in BFA). Very high rainfall may also happen locally anywhere, with impact on crops and housings.
Influence of water related disease: widespread in the basin, with most severe impact on the living conditions of the poor. Malaria, diarrhoea, river blindness, bilharzia. Malaria prevalence has been mapped in the basin.
4. where people acquire insufficient benefit from water use. That is, low water productivity.
Low water prod because of lack of assets ( field area, tools, oxen, man power in the family) lack of access to credit, to fertilizers, to market, lack of access to dry season activities ( including small scale irrigation). Occurs mainly in the cereal part of the basin.
5. where people suffer loss of livelihood as a consequence of change.
Not really identified as such in the Volta basin