Management practices of irrigation water and their effects on water allocation among farmers in Kiladeda sub-catchment, Tanzania
Mwadini, J. Khatib
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Irrigated agriculture plays a major role in the livelihoods of Kiladeda sub catchment, Pangani Basin, Tanzania. However, the sub catchment is experiencing a problem of inequitable distribution of irrigation water among farmers. The challenge is escalated by rapid population growth, economic growth, other water users and irrigation management practices. This situation has increased conflicts and insufficiency in irrigation particularly in downstream of the river. This study aimed at assessing the management practices of irrigation water and their effects on water allocation among farmers in Kiladeda sub-catchment, Tanzania. Specifically, the study analysed socio-economic factors influencing irrigation water demand; examined irrigation management practices adopted by farmers and their effects on irrigation water demand; investigated irrigation water demand and allocation among farmers and evaluated strategies used to mitigate irrigation water demand and allocation disparities among farmers. The study employed both primary and secondary data. The primary data were collected by interviewing 150 farmers, key informant interviews and measurement of river discharge while secondary data were collected from relevant institutions in Moshi, Tanzania. Numerical tools for data analysis comprised of descriptive statistics, independent sample t-test, stepwise regression, content analysis and WEAP model. The stepwise regression results showed that farm location and farm size (13.5%); income and farm location (19.8%) and; farm ownership, education level and income (39.6%) were the predictors of irrigation water demand for the whole river, upstream and downstream zones respectively. On the other hand, all nine factors in the middle stream zone were eliminated by the model. The study also revealed that furrow irrigation (86.7%) and plastic buckets (13.3%) were the main irrigation techniques employed by farmers in the sub catchment. However, there was no significant difference between irrigation techniques adopted and irrigation water demand in the sub catchment (p >0.05). On the contrary, there was a significant difference between irrigation water demand and irrigation techniques in upstream zone of the sub catchment (p <0.05). The results of WEAP model revealed that the sub catchment has water shortage of about 53% of the total irrigation water required. The current annual irrigation water demand is 18.44Mm3 and unmet demand is 9.8Mm3. Both water demand and unmet demand are expected to increase twice in 2020. The high water demand for irrigation could be the main cause of excessive water abstraction in the upstream and downstream zones of the sub catchment. Moreover, the study identified water pricing, formation of water users associations, public education, reduction of farm sizes, changing crop types, water rights as well as laws and regulations on water allocation, as the main strategies implemented to reduce water demand and allocation conflicts. The study found that despite of water shortage in the sub catchment, water was not used efficiently for irrigation activities. Therefore, the study recommends partnering approach to improve irrigation water management; reviewing of laws, regulations and water rights to conform to the current irrigated areas and irrigation water requirements. More so, extension services to farmers should be improved. This will serve as a source of information and training forum for farmers on irrigation water management practices and therefore enhance efficient use of water for irrigation.