Water Productivity Improvement in Practice (Water-PIP)

The project Water Productivity Improvement in Practice (Water-PIP) aims to facilitate the increase in crop water productivity in DGIS partner countries in Africa and Near East and Northern Africa (NENA) region.

With nearly ten years of data available at a spatial resolution of 1 ha through the FAO-based WaPOR database, the project aims at assessing water productivity variability and support national policies to improve water productivity. WaPOR database and other approaches will be used to develop standardized protocols for analysing water productivity that provide diagnostic insights on the reasons behind low water productivity. These analyses will be used to identify and discuss practical solutions on improving land and water productivity. The project also aims to connect with IT business to improve the WaPOR analyses and engage with (25% Alliances) agribusiness in order to improve land and water productivity.

Outcomes first phase

WaterPIP is a two-phase project and the first phase finished in 2020. The outcomes of the first phase include, among others water productivity analyses of agricultural projects in Kenya, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Egypt and Jordan. Additional activities involved organising online masterclasses, a hackathon and preliminary policy discussions with ministries and international organizations about the broad understanding of water productivity in biophysical as well as socio-economic terms.

Second phase

During 2021 and the second phase, the WaterPIP project will build on the first phase and develop the standardized protocols for diagnosing the reasons behind low water productivity. This way, the project will feed into discussions about possible measures to improve water productivity. Additional activities for the second phase include the development of local knowledge hubs, engaging stakeholders in policy dialogue for productive water use and developing a MOOC on the broad understanding of water productivity. Based on all the analyses, the project throughout its phases will communicate its findings to DGIS and FAO as key partners in the development of the WaPOR database. It will provide input into the feasibility of the Dutch ambition to improve water productivity by 25%. In addition it will reach out to international water and food programmes to support their efforts in improving water productivity.

The role of WUR

Together with the project partners of IHE (water management), MetaMeta (water solutions/ communication experts), eLEAF and FAO, WUR is mainly responsible for studying water productivity from an agronomic, crop production perspective, providing insight on the usability and limitations of WaPOR database. WUR is also working on scientifically assessing the applicability of potential biophysical water productivity improvements. WUR is heavily engaged in facilitating policy dialogues in Egypt and Jordan that move beyond mere water productivity gains (more crop per drop) but rather look at water productivity for its implications on factors such as food security, employment generation and environmental sustainability. By comparatively assessing different agricultural developments strategies, trade-offs between different factors are made explicit and political decisions become more transparent.

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