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CA Research Reports

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Research Report 19, 2007

Adoption and Impacts of Zero Tillage as a Resource Conserving Technology in the Irrigated Plains of South Asia
Olaf Erenstein, Umar Farooq, R.K. Malik and Muhammad Sharif

The recent stagnation of productivity growth in the irrigated areas of the Indo-Gangetic Plains of South Asia has led to a quest for resourceconserving technologies that can save water, reduce production costs and improve production. The present synthesis of two detailed country studies confirmed widespread adoption of zero tillage (ZT) wheat in the rice-wheat systems of India’s Haryana State (34.5% of surveyed households) and Pakistan’s Punjab province (19%). The combination of a significant “yield effect” and “cost-saving effect” makes adoption worthwhile and is the main driver behind the rapid spread and widespread acceptance of ZT in Haryana, India. In Punjab, Pakistan, adoption is driven by the significant ZT-induced cost savings for wheat cultivation. Thus, the prime driver for ZT adoption is not water savings or natural resource conservation but monetary gain in both sites. Water savings are only a potential added benefit.

Research Report 18, 2007

Irrigated Agriculture, Water Pricing and Water Savings in the Lower Jordan River Basin (in Jordan)
Jean-Philippe Venot, François Molle and Yousef Hassan

This report examines both contexts, the Highlands and the Jordan Valley, and stablishes
farming system typologies that illustrate the diversity of farms and farmers. Their respective strategies in the face of rising prices are assessed based on crop budgets and farm constraints and strategies. Options include reducing cropping areas, shifting cropping patterns, improving irrigation efficiency, renting wells or plots to other farmers, discontinuing agriculture or just paying the relevant charges.

Research Report 17, 2007

Water Requirements of Floodplain Rivers and Fisheries: Existing Decision Support Tools and Pathways for Development
Arthington, A. H., E. Baran, C. A. Brown, P. Dugan, A. S. Halls, J. M. King, C. V. Minte-Vera, R. E. Tharme and R. L. Welcomme

Fisheries are some of the most valuable natural resources that depend upon natural regimes of river flow for their productivity and full development benefits. Managing rivers to sustain these benefits requires that environmental flow requirements of river fisheries be understood and conveyed effectively into decision-making processes at multiple levels within the river basin. The present research report reviews existing environmental flow methodologies and fisheries production models to determine which combination of existing approaches will provide most potential for development of such decision support tools.

Research Report 16, 2006

Planning and Managing Water Resources at the River-Basin Level: Emergence and Evolution of a Concept.
Molle, F.

This report recounts the evolution of the concept of a river basin and how it has been associated with various strands of thinking and sometimes co-opted or mobilized by particular groups to strengthen the legitimacy of their agenda. This illustrates the fact that beyond its relevance as a geographical unit for the study of hydrology or for water resources development purposes, the river basin is also a political and ideological construct. The report shows the evolution of the twin concepts of river basin and integrated management, from the 19th century to their recent adoption as cornerstones of the European Water Framework Directive.

Research Report 15, 2006

Tropical River Fisheries Valuation: A Global Synthesis and Critical Review
Neiland, Arthur E. and Christophe Béné

River fisheries, and inland fisheries in general within the tropical regions of the world (between 30oN and 30oS of the Equator), provide a range of benefits for many Developing Countries including a means of livelihood and a source of food for millions of people. However, national policies relating to crucial issues such as economic development, poverty alleviation, food security, conservation and sustainability, often fail to recognize these important attributes. Within this general context, the following report considers the role of valuation and its contribution to policy-making and river fishery management. This report is based on a series of regional review papers and aims to provide a review of the global status of tropical rivers and inland fisheries  valuation, to consider the impact of changes in river basin management, and to compare the range of valuation approaches which have been used.

Research Report 14, 2006

Multifunctional Agricultural Policy, Reduced Domestic Support, and Liberalized Trade: An Empirical Assessment for Taiwanese Rice
Boisvert, R. N. and H.H. Chang

To meet the requirements of membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO) as specified in 2001, Taiwan must rely less on price supports and other traditional policies to support its agricultural sector. In addition, it must open its agricultural markets to increased imports. Central to this reexamination of agricultural policy is the potential
conflict between domestic and international policy goals. For many, these so-called ‘non-trade’ concerns (NTCs) are captured in the concept of ‘multifunctionality’, which characterizes agriculture as a multi-output activity, generating both agricultural commodities and non-commodity outputs that are valued by society.

Research Report 13, 2006

Intensifying Agricultural Sustainability: An Analysis of Impacts and Drivers in the Development of 'Bright Spots'.
Noble, A. D., D. A. Bossio, F. W. T. Penning de Vries, J. Pretty and T. M. Thiyagarajan

The objectives of this study were to assess the extent and impact of ‘Bright Spot’ development on a global basis drawing on data sets developed during the course of the project and other research, and to determine whether there are important replicable drivers that contribute to the development of ‘Bright Spots’.

Research Report 12, 2006

Impact of land use on river basin water balance: A case study of the Modder river basin, South Africa.
Woyessa,Y.E., E. Pretorius, P. S. van Heerden, M. Hensley and L.D. van Rensburg

The study was conducted in the Upper and Middle Modder River Basin (UMMRB) which is located in the semi-arid area of central South Africa. About 35 percent of the basin consists of a communal-farming area where subsistence farmers have difficulty in growing enough food for themselves because of the marginal conditions for crop production. The limiting factors are low and erratic rainfall and excessive water losses due to runoff and evaporation from the predominantly duplex and clay soils. In an attempt to improve the crop production potential of the area the Institute for Soil, Climate and Water of the Agricultural Research Council (ARC-ISCW) introduced a crop production technique called the Infield Rainwater Harvesting (IRWH), which increased the yields of maize and sunflower by around 30–50 percent compared to the yield obtained through conventional tillage.

Research Report 11, 2006

Prospects for productive use of saline water in West Asia and North Africa. Stenhouse, J. and J. W. Kijne

This study of the potential to use saline water for irrigation in Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Tunisia concludes that it is technically feasible but its economic viability remains to be established. Expert opinion suggests that saline irrigated agriculture is most likely to succeed in the West Asia/North Africa region as a complement to small-scale mixed livestock and cropping farming systems. Precise quantification of the available saline water resources is not possible because of the lack of hard data. As a result, precise quantification of the likely impact of introducing saline irrigated agriculture on poverty alleviation and food security is also impossible, although anecdotal evidence suggests that this would be positive. The report argues that the environmental effects of saline irrigated agriculture – both positive and negative – need to be integrated into policies and decisions on the use of saline water. Uses other than agricultural (for example, amenity uses, industrial, landscaping, carbon sequestration or biomass production for energy) also need to be considered, and may be more socially and economically beneficial.

Research Report 10, 2006

Cities Versus Agriculture: Revisiting Intersectoral Water Transfers, Potential Gains and Conflicts. Molle, F. and J. Berkoff

Water demand management, or making better use of the water we have—as opposed to augmenting supply—is increasingly proposed as a way of mitigating water-scarcity problems. Moving water away from agriculture to uses with higher economic value is one of the main measures widely seen as desirable. Sectoral “allocation stress” is often identified as resulting from four different observations: a) agriculture gets the “lion’s share” of all diverted water resources; b) agriculture is not only the main water user but also an activity that incurs by far the largest wastage; c) cities are “thirsty” ; and d) water productivity in nonagricultural sectors is far higher than in agriculture. This apparent misallocation is often attributed to the failure of the government to allocate water rationally.

This report revisits this commonly-accepted wisdom and examines the nature of urban water scarcity, the relative importance of both physical and economic scarcity, and how cities secure funds for the development of their water infrastructure (or fail to do so).

Research Report 9, 2005

Historical Transformations of the Lower Jordan River Basin:  Changes in Water Use and Projections (1950 – 2025). Courcier, R., J.P. Venot and François Molle

The Lower Jordan river basin (LJRB), defined as a hydrological entity, is a region of prime importance for the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan: this area includes 83 percent of the total population of Jordan, and most of the main industries in the country, 80 percent of irrigated agriculture, and receives 80 percent of the national water resources. During the last 50 years, because of a demographic boom and generalized economic development, the Jordanian part of the LJRB has experienced an intensive and rapid process of mobilization of its rare water resources. This report presents a qualitative and quantitative assessment of the history of water resources mobilization and uses within the LJRB.

Research Report 8, 2005

Meta-Analysis to Assess Impact of Watershed Program and People's Participation

Joshi, P.K., A.K. Jha, S.P. Wani, Laxmi Joshi and R.L. Shiyani

The study assessed the performance of watershed programs by employing meta analysis. Meta analysis is a statistical procedure that integrates and upscales numerous spatially and temporally distributed combinable micro-level studies to distil logical macro-level policy inferences. The inferences drawn, based on meta analysis, are often more objective and authentic. Based on an exhaustive review of 311 case studies on watershed programs in India, the study attempted to document efficiency, equity and sustainability benefits.

Research Report 7, 2005

Impacts of Irrigation on Inland Fisheries: Appraisals in Laos and Sri Lanka

Sophie Nguyen-Khoa, Laurence Smith and Kai Lorenzen

There is an increasing recognition of the need for improved approaches  for integrated water resources management (IWRM).   In many river basins irrigation is the largest water use, and attention must be paid to  its socioeconomic and environmental impacts, and to  the potential for multiple-use of irrigation systems. This requires improved approaches for the planning, impact assessment and management of  irrigation projects, and an important component,  the assessment and management of impacts on inland fisheries.

Research Report 6, 2005

Macro Policies and Investment Priorities for Irrigated Agriculture in Vietnam

Randolph Barker, Claudia Ringler, Nguyen Minh Tien and Mark Rosegrant

This report discusses the experience of the recent past and future prospects of the agriculture sector. We examine the trends and changes in agricultural taxation and expenditures noting the constraints to agricultural growth related to policies in the nonagriculture as well as the agriculture sector. We focus, in particular, on irrigation, which has accounted for over half of agricultural expenditure over the past decade and which has been a major contributor to both rapid growth in exports and agricultural employment.

Research Report 5, 2004
Evolution of Irrigation in South and Southeast Asia
Randolph Barker and François Molle

In what some may regard as an overly ambitious exercise, we have chosen in this report to present some salient aspects of the evolution of Asian irrigation. Our objective is to identify the major factors that have influenced irrigation development, to focus on the current issues, and to suggest what this implies for the future development of irrigation and for the steps needed to promote this development.

Research Report 4, 2004
Does International Cereal Trade Save Water? The Impact of Virtual Water Trade on Global Water Use
Charlotte de Fraiture, Ximing Cai, Upali Amarasinghe, Mark Rosegrant, and David Molden

Virtual water refers to the volume of water used to produce agricultural commodities. When these commodities enter the world market, trade in virtual water takes place. This report argues that the role of virtual water trade in global water use is modest, since most trade takes place, and will continue to take place, between water abundant countries.

Research Report 3, 2004
Water Management in the Yellow River Basin: Background, Current Critical Issues and Future Research Needs
Mark Giordano, Zhongping Zhu, Ximing CAI, Shangqi Hong, Xuecheng Zhang and Yunpeng Xue.

Because of the role of the Yellow River basin in China's overall economy, the success of its water managers in addressing new issues will have implications for the entire country. At the same time, China's experience can provide lessons for other parts of the world facing similar challenges and change.

Research Report 2, 2004
Taking into Account Environmental Water Requirements in Global-scale Water Resources Assessments
Vladimir Smakhtin, Carmen Revenga and Petra Döll

Assessments of water availability, water use and water stress at the global scale have not explicitly considered requirements of aquatic ecosystems for water. This report summarizes results of the first pilot global assessment of the total volume of water required for the maintenance of freshwater ecosystem functions in world river basins. These volumes are referred to as Environmental Water Requirements.

Research Report 1, 2003
Integrated Land and Water Management for Food and Environmental Security
F.W.T. Penning de Vries, H. Acquay, D. Molden, S.J. Scherr, C. Valentin and O. Cofie

This document focuses on the impact of degradation of land and water on food and environmental security. It aims to provide a basis for priority policy and research actions that will counteract the progression of degradation and will reduce its impact on household food security and the loss of other ecosystem services.