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Journal Article: The Economic and Ecological Effects of Water Management Choices in the Upper Niger River: Development of Decision Support Methods. In: Water Resources Development, 22(1), 135–156.

Author(s)Zwarts, L., P.J.H. van Beukering, B. Koné, E. Wymenga and D. Taylor
Co-Author(s)
Date2007-12-12
Theme(s)Water, Biodiversity, Agriculture
Method(s)Valuation and CBA, Regression Analysis, Economic Modelling
Serie(s)Journal Articles

Summary


One million people in the Inner Niger Delta make a living from arable farming, fisheries and livestock. Upstream dams (one built for electricity generation and one for irrigation) affect this downstream multifunctional use of water. Additionally, the Inner Niger Delta, which is one of the largest Ramsar sites in the world, is a hotspot of biodiversity and accommodates two of the largest known breeding colonies of large wading birds in Africa and in addition, is a vital part of the eco-regional network, supporting up to 3 to 4 million staging waterbirds, residents and migrants from all over Europe and western Asia. The hydrological and related ecological conditions in the Inner Delta largely determine the population size of these waterbird species. The major aim of the three-year study was to develop a decision-support system for river management in the Upper Niger, in which ecological and socio-economical impacts and benefits of dams and irrigation systems can be analysed in relation to different water management scenarios. The study involves various components: hydrology, arable farming, livestock, fisheries, ecology and socio-economics. An economic analysis has been conducted to determine the role of dams in the economy of the Inner Niger Delta and the Upper Niger region. By innovatively combining the above information on hydrology, ecology, fisheries, and agriculture, the study shows that building new dams is not an efficient way to increase economic growth and reduce poverty in the region. In fact, such efforts are counter-effective. Instead, development efforts should be aimed at improving the efficiency of the existing infrastructure, as well as of current economic activities in the Inner Niger Delta itself. This approach will also provide greater certainty for the essential eco-regional network functioning of the Inner Delta.

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Water Resources Development

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