Newsflash January 2020

On behalf of the Flood-Based Livelihoods Network we are wishing you a fruitful new year 2020. We trust it will be a year in which the network will be able to grow and have impact through increased cooperation and exchange.

We have prepared a new Newsflash for you full with updates from the network from Ethiopia, Pakistan, Kenya and more, including the newest resources and papers published. Feel free to share your feedback, news or ideas with us through info@spateirrigation.org.

Enjoy the reading!

Reflection on the regional FBLN short course @ Mekelle University, Ethiopia.

The 8th cycle regular international short course entitled “Integrated Watershed Management and Flood-based Farming Systems in ASAL Areas, Horn of Africa” held during 11 – 22 November 2019 at Mekelle University was concluded successfully. 46 experts, of which 9 were female, from Ethiopia, Somaliland and Sudan participated in the short course. All modules were supported by case studies, hands-on exercises, group exercises, video shows and experience sharing among participants. In addition, three days of field work and experience sharing visit was organized to various integrated watershed management practices and successful and failed spate irrigation systems followed by report writing and presentation by participants on observation and reflection. The trainees have applauded the relevance, practicality, content and methodology of the training and promised to apply the knowledge and skill they gained to improve the livelihoods of their lowland communities through FBFS.

Group picture with the participants of the FBLN course @ Mekelle, Ethiopia

FBLN mission to Kenya

A team of senior professionals from the Ethiopian Flood-Based Livelihoods Network and Mekelle University visited Kenya during 27 November – 08 December 2019 to support the design and implementation of two pilot spate irrigation schemes in Turkana and Marsabit Counties in collaboration with GIZ Kenya and County Governments. The assignment also aims at transferring the necessary knowledge and skills to the County experts through an on-job training.

Afar, Ethiopia – Measuring the impact of flood water spreading weirs using the WAPOR translator analysis

Measuring the impact flood water spreading weirs in Afar. In the last four years there has been considerable investment in flood water spreading weirs by GIZ in Afar in Ethiopia. The weirs divert the short duration flood water from the ephemeral rivers and spread these over the land for agriculture, reforestation and rangeland improvement. We are developing a new suite of applications that uses the WAPOR data base of FAO – which is an active repository of ET data (and more).

Here are some early results. With the tools we can see that after completion of the weirs in 2016 there are clear evapotranspiration peaks in the flood season, that were not there before – hinting at the effectiveness of the structures. As a next step we will expand the analysis to other parameters and ground truth it. We are also starting the use of these instruments for other spate and flood based system where investment is planned per required such as Amboseli, Gash and Tihama.

See the website of WAPOR for more info: https://wapor.apps.fao.org/home/WAPOR_2/1

Pictures from the DREAM ASAL conference in Afar, Ethiopia

As we shared in the November Newsflash MetaMeta co-organised the DREAM ASAL 2019 conference took place from September 29 – October 3rd. Over 250 participants gathered in Semera, Ethiopia – an enormous outcome. It hosted a large and diverse number of participants: pastoralists and agro-pastoralists, decision makers, international development partners, governmental implementers, civil society experts, researchers, and others. People came from Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Somaliland, Namibia and Pakistan.

During the conference some high quality images were taken showing the surroundings in Afar as well as the effects of rainfall in arid regions. The images are now available through Flickr, https://flic.kr/s/aHsmJxdxTw. With thanks to Patrick van den Akker.

Dry and cracked soils, shortly after a rain shower unique to these arid areas

Road water harvesting in Malawi – recent field visit

The Malawi FBLN chapter has run a pilot in which road run off water is diverted into a small irrigation scheme. The scheme is managed by a group of 23 farmers and has the potential to grow to an area of 20 hectares. As the set-up is first of its kind in Malawi it has been an adaptive learning process but with much potential for upscaling.

The FBLN chapter was recently able to visit the site in Balaka and engage with the farmers as well as Macpherson Nthara who is enthusiastically championing the FBLN and Roads for Water approaches in Malawi.

Strengthening the sides of the channel diverting the water from the road to the field, to slow down the water and avoid erosion of the slopes

Pakistan – combatting locusts

Gulsher Panheer of the FBLN chapter in Pakistan recently shared an interesting item on locusts, and combatting them in Pakistan. He describes a recent situation in Nai Gaj spate irrigation command area in Sindh, Pakistan, where swarms of locusts were threatening a promising harvest in an otherwise dry area. Through timely action and spread of news, interaction with the right government departments and the use of social media and sms-services the right precautionary measures were taken to prevent damage to crops, including making noise using tins, collecting locusts at night using light and digging small ditches around the fields.

The full article can be viewed on https://dailytimes.com.pk/504634/locust-threat-in-sindh/ and http://www.thewaterchannel.tv/thewaterblog.

Yemen – Tihama and the effects of years of conflict

Years of conflict and neglect of the spate channels have caused heavy encroachment by prosopis juliflora leaving the systems in Wadi Rima and Wadi Siham, Yemen, choked.
Creating food insecurity in what was Yemen’s food belt.

Spate channels overgrown with prosopis juliflora

Update on PhDs working on FBLN topics

Kebedde Manjur Gebru who carried out a research with Mekelle University and Utrecht University on the value chains of three value chains – vegetables, sesame and malt barley and the possibilities for small holder farmers, see https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Kebede_Manjur for his articles.

Anila Perwaiz Memon studied the Impact of Climate Change on Hill Torrents and Groundwater Using GIS Modeling in Kohistan Region of Sindh, Pakistan, which has provided interesting insights for the potential of spate irrigation in Pakistan, see https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Aneela_Memon.

Abdul Ghani Soomro studied hydrologic assessment of Khirthar National Range using remote sensing and modeling approach. His work can be found on the resources page of the www.spate-irrigation.org website and will help to understand the flow patterns within spate irrigation systems.

Mara Zenebe also works on FBLN through Wageningen University under the title ‘How Effective is Traditional Floodwater Governance in Flood-based Livelihood Systems? Analyses and Farmers’ Perspectives in Tana River County, Kenya.’ Mara is about to publish her paper, which will become available through the Spate Irrigation website.

Lastly, Elly Arukulem Yaluk has recently started a PhD with Shanghai University. She has in the past worked with the FBLN and also published a blog on theWaterChannel. http://www.thewaterchannel.tv/dossiers/livelihoods-from-floods/478-blog-resolving-the-drought-puzzle-in-northern-kenya.

FBLN curriculum workshop in Sudan

As part of the ongoing Africa to Asia and Back project, under IFAD, the FBLN will organise a curriculum review workshop during which the various institutions which have adopted FBLN or Spate Irrigation in their curriculum will come together to share experiences and fine tune the programs. The workshop will take place under the umbrella of the Hydraulics Research Centre in Sudan.

Roads for Water trainings and new Green Roads for Water website

The Roads for Water network and the Flood-based Livelihoods Network recently organised a series of ‘Road Water Management Training and Experience Sharing Workshops’ in Ethiopia, Nepal and Uganda. During the workshops experiences from within the countries were shared. The presentations from the three workshop can be accessed through the brand new Green Roads for Water website, www.roadsforwater.org.

Participants and facilitators of the Nepal Green Roads for Water training
Screenshot of the new Green Roads for Water website

Blog on: the ‘Mother of all Ponds’

Roadwater harvesting has the potential to greatly improve peoples livelihoods. We recently came across an inspiring example in Masala, Ethiopia, which is locally referred to as ‘the mother of all ponds’. Access the full case study through the blog on The waterchannel: http://www.thewaterchannel.tv/thewaterblog/620-from-the-mother-of-all-ponds-road-water-harvesting-in-masala-ethiopia

Panorama picture of the pond described in the article

Thank you to Emma Greatrix

Emma Greatrix has been closely involved with the FBLN through her work at IWMI in Sri Lanka, which included coordinating the Africa to Asia and Back project. She has recently informed us she will shift jobs within IWMI, which includes handing over the project to a colleague. As FBLN we want to thank Emma for her hard work and for her role in expanding the Flood-Based Livelihoods Network. We wish her all the best in her new role within IWMI/WLE.

Blog on Village Poultry

The difference a village chicken can make in the life of a poor woman is amazing. Safe source of income, independent capital asset, universal delicacy, main source of protein. Eggs ranks high in the list of essential brainfood. They are a major ingredient in diets that stimulate the development of mental capacity in every village all over the world.

One of the ways to support the raring of chicken is the introduction of the ‘hatching pan’, which is an innovation as significant as any basic tool. What it does is simple – it combines a comfortable place for the chicken to hatch its eggs with two small containers that are integral part of it – one for water and one for food. So the hen has food and drinks at hand. This prevents it from rummaging around to still its hunger and quench its thirst and neglect its eggs in the process resulting in a much higher success rate for the hatched eggs.

The FBLN has taken the prototype from Bangladesh to Ethiopia and adapted it for the local circumstances. A full description is available through http://www.thewaterchannel.tv/thewaterblog.

Hatching pan which leads to healthier hens and an increased success rate for the hatched eggs

Micro-climate course announcement

MetaMeta, the FBLN and the Water Harvesting Lab of the University of Florence will organise an online course for Water Harvesting for Microclimate Management. Registration is open up to January 15th and more information can be accessed through https://www.dagri.unifi.it/p642.html and http://spate-irrigation.org/early-announcement-international-online-course-on-water-harvesting-for-microclimate-management/.

Applications from developing and transitions countries are particularly welcomed, and 10 places will be available free of charge for selected students.

New resources:

Our partners have published several new papers related to irrigation in Yemen, Spate irrigation in Pakistan and making floods to use in the Shire Valley in Malawi:

1. Paper – The Economic Value of Irrigation Water in Wadi Zabid, Tihama Plain, Yemen
https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/11/22/6476/pdf

2. Paper – Spatiotemporal variability in spate irrigation systems in Khirthar National Range, Sindh, Pakistan (case study) by Abdul Ghani Soomro
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11600-019-00392-1

3. Paper – Sensitivity of direct runoff to curve number Using the SCS-CV method by Abdul Ghani Soomro
https://www.civilejournal.org/index.php/cej/article/view/1741/pdf

4. Paper  – Revisiting dominant practices in floodwater harvesting systems: making flood events worth their occurrence in flood-prone area. Research paper by Mphatso Malota and Joshua Mchenga.
http://spate-irrigation.org/a-floods-shire-malawi/