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?
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.