Key Findings from Mali Case Study 1, 'The Study of Ultimate Users of Water Resources and Dialogue with Communities'

Submitted by Sukaina Bharwani | published 25th Mar 2011 | last updated 30th Mar 2011

Determining the Water Resources Potential

For the purpose of the study and with the help of local populations, a rough estimation of the potential of the three sites for availability of surface water was made by using experts’ opinions. 

 

Surface water available through ponds and lowlands. Source: Survey by the team on sites – 2006

Surface water available through ponds and lowlands. Source: Survey by the team on sites – 2006

Availability of surface water in the three communes

In each of the communes, there is a network of ponds and lowlands. Constraints and limitations related to the use of surface water resources are of three kinds:

• Irregularity of the rainfall and prevailing hydrological conditions (the average rainfall for the last 20 years is lower by 15 to 20% than that of the previous years); which cause a decrease in the flow rate of rivers and the fast drying up of ponds and lowlands

• Whether rainwater drains away fast or not. An absence of small dams and lowlands management schemes allow for an accumulation of standing water.

• Almost all ponds and lowlands in the three localities are clogged; which made the populations of the three communes propose the deepening of ponds and the construction of micro-dams on the Mono River as priority adaptation options.

Quality of underground water used as a safe drinking water supply

During the village assembly meetings, the populations of the three communes were interviewed in relation to the quality of water and in relation to the status of water resources.

Water quality is considered poor when it is unsafe for human and livestock consumption meaning that it could be a source of diseases. During their village general assembly meeting, the population of Diouna deemed that their water is of poor quality for human and livestock consumption. However, for agriculture and market-gardening, the quality is acceptable.

In Kiban, only 20 wells out of the 450 traditional wells counted there, do not dry up. The water-pumping devices for these 450 wells are hand-powered. Water from wells is of a poor quality. The drinking water for the population comes from the safe drinking water supply network but in the case of water shortage in the network, the population is compelled to drink water from wells. The quality of the river water is good enough for watering livestock during periods of high waters; that is to say during and at the end of the rainy season. As soon as the water level goes down significantly, water quality becomes poor and there is an increased risk of disease for livestock.

In the locality of Massabla, the river water is of good enough quality for watering livestock during periods of high waters. As soon as the water level goes down significantly, water quality becomes poor. When this happens the population gets their drinking water from the pumping system.

In all three communes the communities considered water supply and coverage to be insufficient to their needs and a limiting factor for development.

WEAP

The main objective of using the WEAP is to see whether water availability in each of the sites allows for covering the main socio-economic requirements of the populations of these communes in two different climate situations. 

Firstly, the model is operated by introducing meteorological parameters from 1971 to 2000 which correspond to the reference scenario, also referred to as the baseline scenario. The assumption is that this climate scenario will be repeated in the future, from the year 2005 until the year 2025, but that there will be an increase in requirements, associated with population growth. 

Secondly, meteorological parameters are taken from the climate scenario that was elaborated for Mali. The reference year retained is 2005 and the upper time limit of the simulation is 2025. The projections of meteorological parameters and requirements evolve regularly for the period between 2005 and 2025 (population, livestock, orchards, kitchen-gardens, etc.). In general, this climate scenario implies that the normal precipitation is going to decrease by about 0.5%/year whereas the normal temperature is going to increase by about 0.2%/year. 

In case water requirements are not met, scenarios for adaptation to the harmful effects of climate change will be worked out. Finally, the results of these various scenarios (reference and climate) and eventually those of the adaptation scenario can be compared by the WEAP which makes it possible to know whether there is stagnation, acceleration or mitigation of the unmet water requirements. 

As with the commune of Massabla, using the WEAP model for Kiban and Diouna reveals a deficit when one takes into account issues such as the drying up of ponds three months after the rains stop and the drying up of wells around March and April. Generally, water resources available in these three sites are not sufficient for meeting the water requirements of these populations.

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