This is also where aggregated field-level agricultural water management (AWM) interventions may result in externalities. But there are few synthesised ‘lessons learned’ on the costs and benefits of interventions at this scale. Here the authors synthesise selected cases and meta-analyses on the investment cost in ‘soft components’ accompanying AWM interventions.

The focus is on meso-scale watersheds in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. They find very few cases with benefit-to-cost evaluation at full project level, or separate costing of hard and soft components.

The synthesis suggests higher development success rates in communities with an initial level of social capital, where projects were implemented with cost- and knowledge-sharing between involved stakeholders, and where one or more ‘agents of change’ were present to facilitate leadership and communications.

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