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Water Security: Downstream

Information regarding the assessments conducted and results obtained in the downstream reaches of the Rice Terrace system.

The downstream reaches of the terrace system have varied topography, different styles of cultivation and varied sources of water. These areas have a more top-down management of resources, with reliance on the Government agencies and the Water Supply company, to meet their demands. Some of the villages in these reaches face severe water shortage as evidenced on the field. Mining activities further downstream have affected the groundwater reserves in some areas, making them reliant on rainfall to meet their needs. Water distribution system is almost redundant, and villages rely on personal reserves of spring water or bear the cost of purchasing springs nearby and diverting the water through pipes for storage. The approaches taken to ensure access to water are scattered and seemingly temporary, hence compounding the issue. As a result, these areas are more threatened by the effects of long term out migration, land use change and change in climate. 

Modeling analysis and balance assessment conducted for two watersheds in this area also indicate water scarcity and the significance of the groundwater component is reiterated. Demand assessments have been conducted using domestic, livestock and agricultural requirements, the major crops grown being Maize and Sugarcane. Under future climate change scenario, the variability in availability is set to increase drastically. The basin level management strategy for the area will benefit the downstream reaches tremendously as it will bring their importance to the system into focus. More specifically, the development path in these areas is set to follow a traditional economic approach through increased commercial agricultural production, as is being evidenced today. This is why a comprehensive livelihoods assessment would feed into the basin development strategy, and probably charter a more robust growth path of the downstream areas.  

 

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