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Sustainable and equitable water management in Madagascar

Water is an essential resource for populations. In the Haute Matsiatra and Amoron’i Mania regions of central Madagascar, managing water presents significant challenges. Conflicts over water use frequently arise among residents sharing the same watersheds. In response, GRET and Agrisud International have joined forces to promote equitable water management through the Marindrano project, officially launched in April 2024.

Challenges in Water Management

In three communes within Haute Matsiatra and Amoron’i Mania, residents rely on water from the Ifanindrona and Ivato basins. These resources are primarily used for agriculture, livestock farming, and hydroelectric power. However, the lack of regulation in water distribution leads to conflicts, particularly when upstream activities negatively impact downstream users. Some individuals restrict access to water sources or divert flow from dams, reducing water availability for those downstream. These conflicts can escalate between different geographic areas, especially during periods of low water flow.

Environmental issues compound these challenges. Deforestation, charcoal production, chemical pesticide use, and gold mining degrade water quality and diminish available resources.

Integrated Water Resources Management: A Holistic Approach

Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) aims to coordinate water management among various users, optimizing economic and social well-being without compromising the natural environment’s integrity.

The Marindrano project builds on the success of the Rhyviere project, initiated by GRET in 2014 in the Sofia and Haute Matsiatra regions. The Rhyviere project advanced rural electrification through hydroelectric micro-plants and integrated socio-economic and environmental considerations. Measures such as the creation of the RAISAHA platform, which unites associations for watershed protection, and an agreement on water sharing, established a foundation for sustainable and equitable water management.

The new IWRM project by GRET and Agrisud International emphasizes joint, participatory, and concerted management. The initial phase focuses on strengthening the Payment for Environmental Services (PES) mechanism to fund environmental protection in the Ifanindrona basin and improving RAISAHA platform management.

Technical and Socio-Environmental Initiatives

Technical and socio-environmental studies will be conducted in Ivony for a future hydroelectric site in the Amoron’i Mania region. This inclusive approach actively involves all stakeholders in developing an IWRM action plan, including local communities such as farmers, gold miners, livestock farmers, energy producers, and other water users.

Facilitating Dialogue and Knowledge Sharing

GRET aims to facilitate dialogue and connect local and national IWRM actors. Agrisud International provides agricultural support and training on techniques suited to local soil characteristics and practices affecting water resources.

By generating in-depth knowledge of water resources and their uses in the Ifanindrony and Ivony watersheds, the Marindrano project contributes to the national reflection on IWRM. The commitment from public institutions bolsters the implementation of this management strategy.

The Marindrano project is funded by the Rhône Méditerranée Corse Water Agency, with support from the Agence Française de Développement.

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