Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Balancing Multiple Water Uses

Date Published: 
November 10, 2011

Different Uses, Different Scales. Africa contains countless basins which together supply water for the domestic, livelihood, and irrigation needs of the continent’s inhabitants. The water resources of these basins are further used to generate much of the continent’s electricity, satisfy environmental water needs, and provide ecosystem services. Issues related to balancing these diverse water uses are a function of scale. On a large scale, balancing multiple water uses often involves enabling agricultural production in different parts of a basin and striking a balance among agriculture, hydropower, and environmental water uses. At a more local level, use of water may need to be balanced between agriculture and domestic water use.

Balancing Multiple Uses and Climate Change. Balancing multiple uses in the face of climate change will require using stakeholder processes to arrive at strategies that cope with variability in water availability. These processes would benefit from clear and accessible information on tradeoffs associated with different allocations of water to different uses. Further, risks and opportunities associated with predicted changes in rainfall amounts and distributions should be evaluated.

This factsheet was developed as part of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) Climate-Smart Agriculture Workshop. The workshop focused on approaches for effective program design of climate-smart agriculture in support of both country and regional CAADP investment plans. Climate-smart agriculture incorporates practices that increase productivity, efficiency, resilience, adaptive capacity, and mitigation potential of production systems.