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Water Scarcity - the role of agriculture
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Developing national Water Audits on Africa
A Water Audit is one of the tools recommended in the action framework (Phase 1) that can be applied on country or basin level. It provides a country administration or a river basin organization with a comprehensive methodology for assessing, analysing and reporting of the use of scarce water resources. On the supply side, the audit provides information about the water availability. On the demand side, it gives a detailed picture, on how the water is used, for which purpose, and with which value. A detailed assessment of agricultural water use, including its productivity, its value-in-use, and its efficiency during the water use process, gives countries handles to adapt water policies and improve water management plans for the future through strategic interventions to increase their capacity to cope with water scarcity.

The expected outcome of the Water Audit is the development of a tailor made set of tools to assess the status of available water resources and their use, which will provide a sound basis for decision making regarding possible interventions for improved water management in general, and dealing with the agricultural component of water scarcity in particular.

The outputs supporting the above mentioned outcome include, for each basin, a study on the current and projected surface water and groundwater resources availability and demand. This study will lead to a comprehensive report that forms the basis for future country water management and water policy to cope with water scarcity, and a summary report with a compilation of key options for decision makers. This output consists of the following components:


(+) Component 1 (+) Component 2 (+) Component 3 (+) Component 4 (+) Component 5 (+) Component 6

Countries/River Basins:
1. Awash Basin Water Audit [Ethiopia]
Awash River basin is the most developed river basin in Ethiopia: home to more than 12 million people, it covers about 100,000 km² ranging from 4,000 meters’ altitude of central highlands to the Rift Valley depressions at the border with Djibouti. The Italian funded project “Strengthening national water monitoring capacities, with emphasis on agricultural water management” (GCP/GLO/207/ITA)had made a pilot survey of water use in the upper Awash, which served as a basis for a methodology and a comprehensive survey of irrigation schemes carried on within the current Water Audit project. While about 1,750 irrigation schemes were expected to be covered in the survey, the project has managed to collect data on more than 2,100 irrigation schemes of all scales in Awash Basin. The project will come up with reasonably accurate information on actual irrigated areas and agricultural water uses, and make water balance studies, including other sectoral water uses.

Project activities for the “Water Audit for Ethiopia” project are supervised by a Project Steering Committee (PSC) composed of members of Ministry of Water and Energy involved in the project, Awash Basin Authority, National Meteorological Agency, relevant departments of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural development. In order to assure sustainability of the project, the Water Audit is executed in close cooperation with institutions at federal (MoWE, MoAR), regional (Regional Water and Agriculture Bureaus) and basin level (River Basin Authorities)

2. Cubango-Okavango River Basin Water Audit [Angola, Botswana, Namibia]
The Cubango-Okavango is one of the last near pristine aquatic ecosystems on the African continent, and indeed on earth. Home to 600,000 people in many ethnic groups and a noted destination for visitors from many countries, hosts one of the biggest Ramsar designated wetlands sites (the delta area). FAO has been providing support to the Permanent Okavango River Basin Commission (OKACOM) through implementation of the GEF funded EPSMO project (2000-2012) A basin water audit has been identified as a priority by riparian countries and SADC. The purpose of the audit would be to provide the Okavango river basin commission (OKACOM) with a comprehensive methodology for assessing, analysing and reporting of the use of water resources,that can be applied with regular intervals to monitor the state of a countries’ water resource base.

The project builds on the work of the GEF funded Transboundary Diagnostic Assessment of the Okavango basin, and the national water accounting initiative that has been launched at country level by SADC. For Namibia and Botswana also national water accounts are available. On the basis of available information, indicators will be developed that describe the status of the water resource base and its use. In particular the audit will make use of integrated flow analysis carried out for the recently completed GEF TDA exercise and provide a key tool for monitoring implementation of the proposed Strategic Action Programme for the basin, also to be part-financed by the GEF.


Cubango-Okavango River Basin Water Audit (CORBWA) Project Report

Okavango project

Basin backgroud reports

Country background reports

Awash River Basin water audit synthesis report

Awash Basin Report

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