Studies of the waterscape of Kilimanjaro, Tanzania: water management in hill furrow irrigation

Studies of the waterscape of Kilimanjaro, Tanzania: water management in hill furrow irrigation

A need for improved understanding of hill furrow irrigation systems in Kilimanjaro (Tanzania)

The main objective of this thesis is to contribute knowledge of water management and water use in hill furrow irrigation in Kilimanjaro region in Tanzania. The paper analyses the waters of the region, conceptualised as a waterscape constituted by material, institutional and ideational aspects.

The study underlines the following facts: 

  • hill furrow irrigation systems are operated by groups of farmers who continue to use and develop long-standing traditions
  • their practices and technology are of relevance to debates about indigenous intensive agricultural systems in Africa, concerning their emergence, sustainability and prospects for development
  • as a result, groups of self-organised irrigators and their practices were targeted by several development initiatives
  • in water management, initiatives have been seeking to control their water use; and in irrigation redevelopment, they have been trying to replace existing technology and organisation
  • in this sense, a series of initiatives in water management for the Pangani river basin came in the wake of a hydropower re-development project led by Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD)
  • still, local ideas of water management differ from those associated with the initiative, which in turn influenced how water management was contested.

The authors introduce the following conclusions:

  • there is a need for improved knowledge of the hill furrow irrigation systems of Kilimanjaro, considering that the dominant understanding is false
  • change in irrigation is not determined by a single factor such as population, but that technological change and the intensification process and changes in political economy have to be considered
  • the water management reform process is influenced by development ideologies in the global water management discourse as well as a national tradition that can be described as technocratic.
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