Soil and Water Lab 
International Research 


International Research: Ghana

The FAO estimates that, from 2000 to 2025, another 1 million hectares will be brought into irrigated production in sub-Saharan Africa. As the development focus turns away from large-scale irrigation schemes, the realization came that very little quantitative or qualitative information is known about small-scale irrigation schemes in this part of the world. Many small multi-use reservoirs exist in the northern regions of Ghana. These reservoirs are a tremendous asset to the surrounding communities. Not only do they enable local irrigation, but they also meet domestic and livestock water needs.

Research was recently performed on two small reservoir irrigation systems in the Upper East Region of Ghana. Four flow-rate monitoring stations were built and equipped to measure irrigation releases throughout the growing season. Evaporation pans were installed and soil moisture measurements in the irrigated fields were performed daily. Area measurements were taken and all active farmers were interviewed and production and socioeconomic data was recorded.

It was found that small-scale irrigation schemes can vary greatly, both in physical performance and in farmer organization, even within a small area. Management and irrigation method are both a result of how much water the farmers have available for irrigation. As a result of varying resources, it was also determined that profitability can differ greatly. In order to ensure successful continued irrigation development, these results and implications should be considered and integrated into future planning.

"Water use, productivity, and profitability of small scale irrigation schemes in Ghana's Upper East Region," a thesis by Joshua Faulkner.

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