Researchers from PRISE Project 7 presented key research evidence to policy and decision makers involved in water resources management from government, academia and civil society, as well as representatives of international organisations, at a workshop in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in early December. The policy and decision makers heard results and recommendations that have emerged after three years of research carried out by the project, which focuses on ‘Water Governance’.
A key message from PRISE research is that Burkina Faso urgently needs to store more water by financing and constructing more small dams for dry season irrigation, as a complement to the government’s existing support to ‘growth zones’ around large dams. The research team’s earlier survey of the national programme of ‘integrated water resources management’ revealed the need to increase collaboration between government agencies, and the National Water Council to be upgraded from a consultative to a decision-making body, with the power to require coordinated design and management of water infrastructure for the long term.
The workshop included the screening of a short documentary on ‘Agriculture and Water: testimony from two villages in Burkina Faso’, that was shot and produced in collaboration with Manivelle Productions in the communities of Ziga and Lélégsé, 50 kilometres north-east of Ouagadougou in the area around the big Ziga dam and reservoir.
The situation the Ziga communities are in is special in that they previously had ready access to water before the dam flooded the valley bottom, which means they now no longer have access as the water in the reservoir is reserved for supply to Ouagadougou and other urban centres. However, the Ziga case is also typical as it illustrates the difficulties faced by many rural communities in Burkina Faso, as they have to rely on rain-fed agriculture in the context of increasing climate variability. Prior to the workshop, the PRISE team organised a film screening in Ziga and Lélégsé village. Community representatives also attended the workshop in Ouagadougou to voice their concerns and aspirations.
Image: Community members at the special viewing of the documentary film organised by PRISE, in collaboration with Manivelle Productions, in the school classroom at Ziga village, December 7 2017 – © Peter Newborne/ODI