22 March 2014. ODI’s Water Policy Programme (WPP), the Global Water Initiative East Africa (GWI) and UEA’s Water Security Research Centre (WSRC) hosted a flagship event to mark World Water Day (22nd March). The event broughttogether international experts from a range of disciplines and sector perspectives to discuss four key themes:
- The groundwater perspective: Are recent headlines about Africa’s vast groundwater potential credible? What do we know – and what don’t we know – about the development potential and management needs of groundwater resources in SSA?
- The agriculture perspective: Does better land and water management, and more irrigation in particular, hold the key to ‘climate-proofing’ agriculture, raising yields and reducing rural poverty?
- The development and poverty perspective: Groundwater irrigation for smallholder farmers in SSA is accelerating, but what do we know about its ability to deliver inclusive growth and the factors that still block development?
- Lessons from the Asian perspective: Thanks to a groundwater boom, millions of farmers have improved their livelihoods and food security in South Asia and northern China. But the costs of runaway withdrawals are now hitting hard – on poorer farmers, the environment and other sectors, not least energy. What important lessons can be drawn?
The day concluded with the launch of a new book, Water Security, Principles, Perspectives and Practices, published by Earthscan, with mini-presentations from some of the well-known authors.
Violet Alinda GWI, Dr Steve Wiggins ODI, Dr Eva Ludi ODI, and Dr Bruce Lankford UEA introduce the event Africa’s ‘hidden water’: can it secure agricultural growth and food security?. They talk about the scope of the water & agriculture challenge.