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Multiple uses of small reservoirs in crop-livestock agro-ecosystems of Volta basin: Implications for livestock management

Ayantunde, Augustine A., Cofie, Olufunke., Barron, Jennie
Agricultural water management 2018 v.204 pp. 81-90
adults, agroecosystems, basins, boys, cattle, diet, dry season, forage, groundwater recharge, infrastructure, irrigated farming, irrigation, livestock husbandry, livestock production, males, pastures, runoff, small ruminants, vegetable growing, watersheds, Burkina Faso
Small reservoirs (SR) are structures that capture and store run-off from upstream catchment area for multiple uses including irrigation, fishing, livestock watering, domestic purpose and groundwater recharge. Though livestock watering is one of the major uses of small reservoirs in the Volta River basin of West Africa, there is limited information on how livestock management practices co-exist with other use of SRs. This study was carried out in a typical Sudano-Sahelian zone within the Volta basin in Burkina Faso, covering five reservoirs to 1) document multiple uses of the reservoirs with a focus on their utilization for livestock production. 2) identify proximate and long-term causes of livestock-related conflicts with regard to multiple uses of the water infrastructure and 3) explore strategies to manage the SR equitably for various uses. Adult males and boys accounted for at least 60% of the users of small reservoirs in our study. Livestock watering was done mainly by adult males. In addition to provision of water for livestock, small reservoirs also contributed to feed resources for animals by providing green forage (pasture grown on residual moisture) in the dry season which accounted for at least 5% of the total dry matter diet of cattle and small ruminant in late dry season. None of the 5 small reservoirs we studied was used for irrigated fodder production. Increased competitions over the use of small reservoirs, damage to irrigated crops by the animals, and increased number of livestock using the small reservoirs were ranked as the most important causes of conflict in the communities. Peaceful co-habitation of the use of the small reservoirs for irrigated vegetable production and livestock watering are essential for reduction of the incidence of conflict.