V11:Managing Bagre for equity and the environment
The project aims at providing practical answers to a complex question: how to manage large water infrastructures for social and environmental benefits? More specifically the project will discuss options to tailor irrigation investments processes so that the positive impacts of large water infrastructures on equity and the environment are enhanced and their negative externalities limited. In West Africa, notably in the sub-Saharan region, agriculture is dependent on low and erratic rainfall and irrigated areas remain little developed. National governments and their development partners see irrigation as one of the main options to reduce food insecurity and sustain economic growth and promote large water infrastructure projects. Experiences to date show that such projects can have negative impacts in terms of equity (population displacement, land grabbing, and the flooding of places of worship to name but a few) and the environment (losses in biodiversity, changes in hydrological patterns causing leading to human-induced floods and drought). It is necessary to support changes in the way management and governance decisions around these large water infrastructures are made to prevent potential conflicts. This can be done by developing participatory approaches that allow for better listening and taking into account the viewpoints of natural resources users who are intimately linked to their socio-environmental system. This project will focus on the downstream area commanded by the Bagré dam located on the White Volta (Nakambé) river. The Bagré dam is the biggest multi-purpose water infrastructure in Burkina Faso. As such, it is crucial for food production, hydropower generation, and the regulation of water flows (notably the limitation of floods that can have dramatic impacts, including in north-east Ghana). The Bagré dam is the center point of the World Bank supported Bagré Growth Pole Project that aims at an integrated development of 4 Burkinabe provinces, notably through land allocation to agricultural investors. The area will witness dramatic changes in the near future and it is crucial that planned investments bear fruits for all sections of society in an environmentally sustainable way.