Six pathways identified for sustainable groundwater futures in Africa

by John Thompson, Imogen Bellwood-Howard, Gebrehaweria Gebregziabher, Mohammad Shamsudduha, Richard Taylor, Devotha Kilave, Andrew Tarimo and Japhet Kashaigili Groundwater is likely to become more important as a livelihood resource in Sub-Saharan Africa, as climatic change alters the reliability of rainfall and surface water flows. More than four years ago, an international group of collaborators embarked…

What is revolutionary about the Green Revolution?

The dramatic increase in yields of wheat and rice in the 1960s and 1970s in India, along with many other countries in the post-colonial world, was framed as a technological breakthrough made possible by miracle hybrid seed varieties. This breakthrough ostensibly averted mass scale hunger and was central, so the story goes, to realising substantive…

Dam viewed from above

Rediscovering the Water-Food-Energy Nexus

A few months ago, I presented the findings of a new book, The Water-Food-Energy Nexus: Power, Politics and Justice, to an International Water Association conference on the same topic at Salerno. To my great surprise, I was the only social scientist out of 200 participants. Nexus approaches help to bridge the separate domains of water,…

water pipe

Water crisis’ disproportionate toll on women can no longer be ignored

STEPS member Lyla Mehta has written an article with Ria Basu for the Indian magazine Firstpost about the impacts of ‘water crisis’ on women. Often, access to water is about power and social relations, not just physical scarcity. For most of us, accessing water is as simple as turning the taps on in our kitchens…

Farmers with irrigation channels

Irrigating Africa: can small-scale farmers lead the way?

by Ian Scoones, Felix Murimbarimba and Jacob Mahenehene We often hear that irrigation in Africa is too limited, and that the key to a “green revolution” on the continent is to expand to levels seen in Asia. But what if there is much more small-scale, informal irrigation in Africa than we thought? Could this be…

Creating bridges in Xochimilco through the “Pathways to Sustainability Game”

By Beatriz Ruizpalacios, Lakshmi Charli-Joseph, Hallie Eakin, J. Mario Siqueiros-García, Rebecca Shelton, Pathways Network The urban wetland in Xochimilco, Mexico City, and the traditional agricultural areas within it, are undergoing rapid change and degradation, driven in part by the lack of regulation of urban growth near and within the wetland ecosystem. Strategizing on the best…

Gurgaon skyline with skyscrapers and construction

The Power of a T-Lab: Sharing lessons on water and justice in Gurgaon, India

by Dinesh Abrol, Pravin Kushwaha and Bikramaditya K. Choudhary, South Asia Sustainability Hub & Knowledge Network. As big cities change rapidly, people moving into them can struggle for access to basic services like clean water and sanitation. One such city is Gurgaon, a secondary city that’s experienced rapid urban transition over the last two decades….

Green fields with grazing animals

In South Africa’s land reform, class matters

In South Africa’s former ‘homelands’ the government is trying to ‘revive’ agriculture. These areas are a legacy of the 1913 and 1936 land acts, which reserved only 13% of the land for black South Africans, and where most victims of forced removals were relocated. One of the pillars of the government’s strategy is to support…

Boundary object

How rethinking local people’s agency could help navigate Xochimilco’s troubled waters

Xochimilco, Mexico City is the last remnant of the complex lacustrine system of wetlands that was the basis for agriculture and livelihoods (the chinampa system) in pre-Columbian times. However, the water is no longer provided by natural springs, but is reliant on the discharge of treated wastewater from the neighboring, densely populated and impoverished borough…

water pipe

Just another drop in the bucket on World Water Day?

Each year, the United Nations uses World Water Day as an opportunity to raise awareness and demand action around the global water crisis. Each year, there is a theme. This year’s theme is wastewater, framed as a ‘grossly undervalued as a potentially affordable and sustainable source of water, energy, nutrients and other recoverable materials’ (pdf)….