Beyond Big Dams: Fred Pearce on grass roots water solutions

Interesting article by Fred Pearce (author of When The Rivers Run Dry) at Yale 360. Here is the first few paragraphs, full article here.


Beyond Big Dams: Turning to
Grass Roots Solutions on Water
Mega-dams and massive government-run irrigation projects are not the key to meeting world’s water needs, a growing number of experts now say. For developing nations, the answer may lie in small-scale measures such as inexpensive water pumps and other readily available equipment.

by Fred Pearce

How will the world find the water to feed a growing population in an era of droughts and water shortages? The answer, a growing number of water experts are saying, is to forget big government-run irrigations projects with their mega-dams, giant canals, and often corrupt and indolent management. Farmers across the poor world, they say, are solving their water problems far more effectively with cheap Chinese-made pumps and other low-tech and off-the-shelf equipment. Researchers are concluding that small is both beautiful and productive.

“Cheap pumps and new ways of powering them are transforming farming and boosting income all over Africa and Asia,” says Meredith Giordano, lead author of a three-year research project looking at how smallholder farmers are turning their backs on governments and finding their own solutions to water problems…


  1. asesh lahiri says:

    Construction of big dams results largescale changes in landscape which ultimately affects life of dam.These constuction in the are taken up for boosting productopn without any regard to nature and status of land scape and land use prctices.Where as smallscale dams are constructed by indigenous people are ecofriendly.The contradiction is we want to produce more so we need to take up cultivation at large scale with more water and other input in the short run the pracice gives rich dividend, but in the long run the system jeopordise the ecology and ecosystem.So thrust need to be given for small structure for sustainability.Thrust should be on ecomic use of water and release of varities of seeds which ned less water.

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