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Faculty of Science and Engineering

Manchester Environmental Research Institute –

Aug 11, 2020

Intensifying irrigated agriculture in the Eastern Indo-Gangetic Plains - Tim Foster

This was presented at an event series convened by Manchester Environmental Research Institute to showcase water related research and was part of the ‘Water Research at Manchester - Water and Sustainable Development’ event on the 5th August 2020. In many parts of South Asia, electricity for groundwater pumping has been directly or indirectly subsidised by governments to support intensification of agriculture. In contrast, farmers in large portions of the Eastern Indo-Gangetic Plains (EIGP) remain largely dependent on unsubsidised diesel power for irrigation pumping. High energy costs of pumping limit the ability of farmers to utilise available groundwater resources, increasing exposure to farm production risks and contributing to chronic poverty. To date, research to address these challenges has largely focused on efforts to enhance rural electrification or introduce renewable energy-based pumping systems that remain out of reach of many poor smallholders. However, there has been comparatively little focus on understanding opportunities to improve the cost-effectiveness and performance of the thousands of existing diesel-pump irrigation systems already in use in the EIGP. Here, we present findings from a recent survey of over 432 farmer households in the mid-western Terai region of Nepal – an important area of diesel-pump irrigation in the EIGP. Our survey provides information about key socio-economic, technological and behavioral aspects of diesel pump irrigation systems currently in operation, along with quantitative evidence about their impacts on agricultural productivity and profitability. We identify key institutional and technological strategies to support intensification of diesel pump irrigation, and highlight the role these solutions can play in supporting long-term poverty reduction and transitions to alternative electric or solar-based pumping systems in the region. Tim is a Senior Lecturer in Water-Food Security in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering at the University of Manchester. His research combines insights from household surveys, remote sensing and crop modelling to understand the use of land, water and energy in agricultural production in regions worldwide. His research seeks to support farmers, policymakers and funder to design and implement policies to support sustainable agricultural water management and rural economies in both developed and developing countries.

Manchester Environmental Research Institute –

Aug 11, 2020

Farmer-led irrigation initiatives in Africa - Phil Woodhouse

This was presented at an event series convened by Manchester Environmental Research Institute to showcase water related research and was part of the ‘Water Research at Manchester - Water and Sustainable Development’ event on the 5th August 2020. Research over the past decade has uncovered evidence of investment of capital and labour by small-scale farmers in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa. This phenomenon in some cases leverages support from government agencies, but in many cases does not. It involves use of a range of different water management technologies and is primarily oriented to supply growing urban food markets. The SAFI project aimed to investigate the potential for this 'farmer-led' irrigation development to drive broad-based economic growth in Africa's rural areas. Phil Woodhouse trained in the UK as an agricultural scientist at the universities of Oxford (BA) and Reading (PhD). He worked in Mozambique for eight years for the National Agronomy Research Institute and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. After returning to the UK he was based first at the Open University and subsequently at Manchester University, where he is currently Professor of Environment and Development in the Global Development Institute. He has undertaken field studies in a number of countries in Francophone West Africa, southern Africa, and East Africa. He co-authored African Enclosures: the social dynamics of wetlands in drylands (James Currey, 2000), Water and Development (Routledge, 2011) and Valuing Development, Environment and Conservation: Creating Values that Matter (Routledge, 2018). He was principal investigator on the international collaborative project Studying African Farmer-led Irrigation (SAFI) funded by DFID-ESRC (DEGRP).

Manchester Environmental Research Institute –

Aug 10, 2020

New approaches for managing water under regional resource conflicts - Julien Harou

This was presented at an event series convened by Manchester Environmental Research Institute to showcase water related research and was part of the ‘Water Research at Manchester - Water and Sustainable Development’ event on the 5th August 2020. Water scarcity world-wide is increasing. New approaches and tools are needed to make it easier for broad coalitions of stakeholders to understand water systems better and collaborate on water management decisions more effectively and efficiently. Particularly on regional systems, or water resources which cross borders, effective collaboration is increasingly essential. Water impacts on other economic sectors such as energy and food, and also on ecosystems. Managing water well requires understanding synergies and trade-offs with these resource systems as well. This talk will describe and give examples of approaches and tools the Univ. of Manchester is developing as part of its £8M flagship FutureDAMS.org project ('Future Design and Assessment of water-energy-food-environment MegaSystems'). Professor Julien Harou is Chair in Water Engineering since 2013. Previously he was a lecturer at University College London. He has a PhD from the University of California Davis in water resources engineering and economics and an Master’s degree from Cornell University. Julien's group contributes globally leading research in water resources planning and management, water-energy-food systems, and environmental management software.

Manchester Environmental Research Institute –

Aug 10, 2020

Cecilia Medupin - Small but mighty impact: aquatic macroinvertebrates & public engagement

This was presented at an event series convened by Manchester Environmental Research Institute to showcase water related research and was part of the ‘Water Research at Manchester - Hydrological Change and Society's Response’ event on the 22nd July 2020. Macroinvertebrates are considered important organisms in the aquatic ecosystem. This is based on their roles as bioindicators, their sensitivity to environmental variables and, ability to inform aquatic health. They are also important organisms in the aquatic food chain. This study aims to investigate the impact of human activities on aquatic macroinvertebrate assemblage structure and composition using some examples in the Greater Manchester areas. By exploring existing management options, this study provides insight into strategies needed to sustainably manage, protect or restore these aquatic organisms for the future including the role of public engagement. Dr Cecilia Medupin is a Lecturer in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, School of Natural Sciences. She completed a BSc degree in Biochemistry at Bayero University, Nigeria and then worked for a Nigerian soft drinks company as a Process Control Officer. Following her Masters degree in Pollution and Environmental Control at the University of Manchester, Cecilia worked as an Environmental Auditor for a UK rubber recycling company, Environment Officer with the UK Environment Agency and Environmental Compliance Adviser with Sellafield Limited (Formerly BNFL), Cumbria. Upon returning to Nigeria she worked at the National Open University as a Lecturer/Course Coordinator. During this time, Cecilia also studied for a PhD at Manchester in the lab of Drs. Keith White and James Rothwell examining the impact of point source pollution on an urban river. Cecilia Medupin is passionate about teaching of ecology and has engaged members of the public through her theme “What’s in your river?” to communicate to diverse groups of people, the fact that there is life below water including macroinvertebrates. Some of these people include 16-18-year-olds. Which she does through the British Ecological Society (BES) summer school; to younger children in science festivals and museums, and to older adults in the UK and abroad. Overall, Cecilia aims to communicate the fascination of freshwater ecology, promote inclusion and participation, through her teaching and research activities. She is a co-lead with the national community for Engaging Environments.