Life depends on water. But growing populations and the impact of climate change make it an increasingly complex task to ensure that communities have adequate access to clean water for drinking, sanitation, agriculture and commerce. This is why Winrock emphasizes the need to address these essentials simultaneously rather than project by project.
Northern Ghana has a new ally in its struggle against climate change. The USAID Feed the Future Ghana Agriculture and Natural Resource Management Project (AgNRM) is protecting both food security and the region’s natural resources. It’s doing this in a holistic way: boosting incomes from natural products such as shea nuts; improving food security through household gardens, cook stoves and improved water management; securing land tenure, especially for women; and strengthening environmental stewardship.
Reliable access to water is critical for Tanzania’s economy, food security, environmental sustainability and public health. Over the past two decades, the country’s government has implemented important national reforms to drive improved management of this critical resource. This program helps local communities implement Multiple-Use Water Services, increasing private sector participation and raising awareness about the importance of good sanitation and hygiene practices.
The Sustainable Water Partnership (SWP) is a five-year, Leader with Associates cooperative agreement that supports U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) thought leadership, innovation and action in global water security by integrating water security issues into Mission programming through relevant, Mission-specific initiatives. Together with its partners Tetra Tech, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), World Resources Institute (WRI), Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and its resource partners CEO Water Mandate and mWater, and Winrock International will develop comprehensive water security intervention strategies using locally owned solutions at the water basin, sub-basin and local catchment scales.
The Sustainable Water Partnership will:
• Improve stakeholder awareness and participation in water security.
• Improve stakeholder capacity and tools to assess water security risks.
• Improve planning and water governance capacity.
• Improve capacity and behaviors to implement water resource management measures.
• Ensure increased collaboration, learning and adaptive response to water risks.
Farms are businesses, which means they respond to economic signals. That basic idea is behind this program’s approach to reduce the damage to water quality caused by agricultural run-off in the West Branch Milwaukee River watershed. Winrock works with water treatment plant owners, conservation groups and others in the area to devise pay-for-performance incentives that encourage farmers to implement practices that reduce pollution.
Healthy and well-managed coastal areas provide local populations with everything from tasty seafood to protection from damaging storm surges. As part of the National Science Foundation’s Coastal SEES (Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability) program, this project analyzes and measures how utilizing best land management practices impacts the water quality in three watersheds in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay.
Erosion and deteriorating water quality are just two of the negative consequences when fertilizer used to grow crops makes its way into lakes and streams. This collaboration between Winrock, Michigan State University, conservation groups and farmers establishes financial incentives to encourage farmers to improve their environmental performance in ways that simultaneously protect their livelihoods and Lake Erie.
In rural Kenya, solar water pumps (SWPs) can help smallholder farmers save on fuel costs, increase acreage, and grow more than one crop a year. However, many farmers don’t know about these benefits or lack credit options to purchase their own SWPs. The USAID-funded Kenya Smallholder Solar Irrigation project (KSSI) works to accelerate commercial sales of SWPs to small farmers through demonstrations, product assessments, and technical assistance to SWP retailers and financial institutions.
Pay for performance (or P4P) isn’t just a way to incentivize sales professionals. Winrock has spearheaded approaches that financially reward farmers for reducing the amount of phosphorous that makes its way into rivers and lakes. Though phosphorous in fertilizer and manure helps crops grow, its runoff from fields also creates harmful dead zones and causes algae blooms in waterways. P4P lets farmers decide the best ways to limit water pollution.
Smallholders produce around 40 percent of Indonesia’s palm oil, an amount that is expected to increase due to the lack of land suitable for new large-scale plantations. However, a lack of resources and technical capacity often leads to extremely low productivity and unsustainable management at small plantations. With funding from IDH, Cargill and Costco, this project will create a protocol that provides step-by-step guidance to smallholders and tengkulak (middle men) about how to identify and manage peatland areas in existing plantations and around new plantings. It will also supply instruction about management methods to restore areas not suitable for replanting. By working with farmers to apply this protocol, the result will be increased sustainability and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
Tanzania has relatively abundant water resources, although population growth and poor management has made shortages increasingly common. The goal of this project is to use market-driven approaches to support sustainable access to water, particularly in poor and rural areas. Part of the solution is to increase the number and effectiveness of entrepreneurs engaged in water supply, sanitation and hygiene activities in remote villages. Also important is the implementation of a multiple-use water services (MUS) approach that bases planning and financing strategies around a community’s many domestic and commercial water needs.
Economic signals and the ingenuity of farmers are a powerful combination when it comes to reducing the environmental impact of agriculture. This program seeks to slash the amount of pollutants that enter the air and water as a result of the activities of Maryland farmers. This includes conducting research into credits farmers can earn and sell for reducing the environmental impact of their operations.
Improved cookstoves can reduce harmful indoor smoke and save time or money for families through fuel savings. But they are not readily adopted, often because the cookstoves available to families don’t fully meet their needs. To better understand and overcome this problem, the WASHplus project undertook consumer research studies in Bangladesh and Nepal that allowed families to try out cookstoves in their homes for several months and provide feedback. The studies also measured cookstove performance and helped gauge how willing families are to pay for them. Based on these studies, WASHplus developed a toolkit for other groups interested in undertaking similar research. WASHplus also supported the development of international voluntary standards for cookstoves; and worked closely with the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves along the way.
Years of agricultural run-off have deposited large amounts of phosphorous-laden fertilizer into Ontario, Canada’s Lake Simcoe. Though fertilizer can help boost crop production, its presence in rivers and lakes harms water quality. This program aids the Ontario government’s efforts to improve Lake Simcoe’s health by creating and developing incentives that encourage farmers to reduce the amount of phosphorous that makes its way into waterways.
Puerto Rico depends on agriculture for food security and the health of its rural economies. But farming activities are also a major source of nitrous oxide emissions and water pollution caused by agricultural run-off. This program creates a pathway for farmers to participate in environmental markets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve water quality.
Synopsis: Tackle root causes of poverty in rural areas by linking demand-driven Multiple-Use Water Services (MUS) with impact-boosting health and…
A new water system in Mwiri and Rwinkwavu sectors of the Kayonza district, Rwanda, was officially inaugurated March 17 and…