Community management of common pool resources: a study of the utilisation of water for irrigation farming in Binduri, Bawku East Municipality

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There is a growing recognition of the importance of common pool resources as livelihood sources to many rural households. Common pool resources constitute a primary source of livelihood and a coping mechanism for many rural households. Water is one of such common pool resources that is contributing immensely to the livelihood of many rural households, especially those in the savannah and semi-arid regions. However, despite its importance, water for irrigation farming remains inadequate whiles demand continues to increase. This poses a challenge to the management of available supplies. This study focuses on how the people of Binduri in the Bawku East Municipality utilize the community dam for dry season onion production. The study employed both quantitative and qualitative tools in the collection and analysis of data. It particularly made use of diverse participatory tools of data collection and analysis including focus group discussions, trend line analysis and time line analysis among other tools. The study revealed that the community dam has multiple uses. The dam’s water is being used for livestock watering, pito brewing, fishing and irrigation fanning. There is however preference for irrigation farming in the community. The community through the Water Users Association (WUA) has carried out a number of management tasks aimed at regulating the usage of the resource and ensuring its sustenance. These management tasks include the allocation of plots, water distribution, catchment area protection, and dam embankment maintenance and canal maintenance as well as revenue mobilisation among other things. Though the community has made some gains, there are still a number of challenges. These include the interference of land owners in the allocation of plots, the poor communal spirit of the people, the non-payment of water/plot levies by the beneficiaries, the continuous refusal of farmers along the dam catchment area to relocate their farming activities and the difficulty in ensuring fair access to water by all farmers within the irrigable area among other things. Despite the enormity of these challenges, it is hoped that if the current efforts of the community is sustained and/or enhanced, management of the scheme would eventually become effective in the not too distant future.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Planning, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master Of Science, Development Planning and Management, 2006