Establishment of a hydrological monitoring network in a tropical African catchment: An integrated participatory approach
Physics and Chemistry of the Earth
Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research, Institute of Landscape Hydrology, Eberswalder Str. 84, D-15374 Müncheberg, Germany; Sokoine University of Agriculture, Agricultural Engineering Department, P.O. Box 3151, Morogoro, Tanzania; Wami Ruvu Basin Water Office, Mazimbu Road, P.O. Box 826, Morogoro, Tanzania
Sound decision making for water resources management has to be based on good knowledge of the dominant hydrological processes of a catchment. This information can only be obtained through establishing suitable hydrological monitoring networks. Research catchments are typically established without involving the key stakeholders, which results in instruments being installed at inappropriate places as well as at high risk of theft and vandalism. This paper presents an integrated participatory approach for establishing a hydrological monitoring network. We propose a framework with six steps beginning with (i) inception of idea; (ii) stakeholder identification; (iii) defining the scope of the network; (iv) installation; (v) monitoring; and (vi) feedback mechanism integrated within the participatory framework. The approach is illustrated using an example of the Ngerengere catchment in Tanzania. In applying the approach, the concept of establishing the Ngerengere catchment monitoring network was initiated in 2008 within the Resilient Agro-landscapes to Climate Change in Tanzania (ReACCT) research program. The main stakeholders included: local communities; Sokoine University of Agriculture; Wami Ruvu Basin Water Office and the ReACCT Research team. The scope of the network was based on expert experience in similar projects and lessons learnt from literature review of similar projects from elsewhere integrated with local expert knowledge. The installations involved reconnaissance surveys, detailed surveys, and expert consultations to identify best sites. First, a Digital Elevation Model, land use, and soil maps were used to identify potential monitoring sites. Local and expert knowledge was collected on flow regimes, indicators of shallow groundwater plant species, precipitation pattern, vegetation, and soil types. This information was integrated and used to select sites for installation of an automatic weather station, automatic rain gauges, river flow gauging stations, flow measurement sites and shallow groundwater wells. The network is now used to monitor hydro-meteorological parameters in collaboration with key stakeholders in the catchment. Preliminary results indicate that the network is working well. The benefits of this approach compared to conventional narrow scientific/technical approaches have been shown by gaining rapid insight into the hydrology of the catchment, identifying best sites for the instruments; and voluntary participation of stakeholders in installation, monitoring and safeguarding the installations. This approach has proved simple yet effective and yielded good results. Based on this experience gained in applying the approach in establishing the Ngerengere catchment monitoring network, we conclude that the integrated participatory approach helps to assimilate local and expert knowledge in catchments monitoring which consequently results in: (i) identifying best sites for the hydrologic monitoring; (ii) instilling the sense of ownership; (iii) providing security of the installed network; and (iv) minimizing costs for installation and monitoring. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
Automatic weather stations; Digital elevation model; Experiences learned; Expert consultation; Expert experience; Expert knowledge; Feedback mechanisms; Gauging stations; Hydrologic monitoring; Hydrological process; Literature reviews; Local community; Local experts; Meteorological parameters; Minimizing costs; Monitoring network; On flow; Participatory approach; Plant species; Potential monitoring; Precipitation patterns; Rain gauges; Reconnaissance surveys; Research programs; Research teams; River flow; Shallow groundwater; Soil maps; Soil types; Stakeholder identifications; Tanzania; Voluntary participation; Water resources management; Working well; Catchments; Climate change; Decision making; Gages; Geologic models; Groundwater; Installation; Meteorological instruments; Research; Runoff; Soils; Surveys; Water resources; Weather information services; Monitoring; catchment; decision making; environmental monitoring; hydrological response; hydrometeorology; integrated approach; participatory approach; research program; stakeholder; voluntary approach; water management; Tanzania