Agricultural water management (AWM) interventions are increasingly being promoted as a first step to enable positive development, alleviating food insecurity and poverty in the smallholder farming systems that dominate rural sub-Sahara Africa and South Asia. These AWMs range from in-situ soil and water management improvements (conservation tillage, terraces, pitting) to supplemental and full irrigation systems, drawing water from a wide variety of sources in the landscape. However, re-allocation of water can potentially undermine other uses of the same water, for other livelihood purposes or, indirectly, by reducing availability for support of different ecosystem services. This case study, in the Mkindo watershed in Tanzania, aimed to create a baseline of resource-based livelihoods and to assess the local hydrology. Scenarios were developed through consultations with local watershed experts to identify potential impacts of various AWM interventions on the various livelihoods and water resources in Mkindo. The same scenarios of AWM interventions were also used for quantifying changes in water balance and crop yields in the watershed. An assessment of watershed-level relevant formal and informal actors identified opportunities and constraints for AWM implementation as well as potential options for negotiating negative externalities of AWM interventions.
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