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Douglas J. Merrey

Douglas J. Merrey
Independent Researcher

PhD

About

102
Publications
54,353
Reads
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2,308
Citations
Additional affiliations
November 2008 - present
self-employed
Position
  • Indendent consultant
Description
  • I have worked as a consultant while based in South Africa up to 2011 and now in the USA. Many clients.
September 2006 - November 2008
FANRPAN
Position
  • Managing Director
Description
  • FANRPAN is a policy research and advisory network that focuses on improved agricultural and natural resources policies. I was responsible for supervising research.
November 1985 - June 2006
International Water Management Institute
Position
  • Social Scientist
Description
  • Field research on social aspects of water in irrigation systems; later policy, river basin, etc. issues. Progressively more senior positions in research management. November 2000 re-located to South Africa as the founding Director for Africa at IWMI.
Education
September 1970 - May 1983
University of Pennsylvania
Field of study
  • Anthropology

Publications

Publications (102)
Article
During the past decade, investments in large-scale irrigation development in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) have come back. Given past experiences, this revival is controversial. This paper examines whether large-scale irrigation construction in SSA is economically viable by estimating how much it would cost if the Mwea Irrigation Scheme in Kenya, one of...
Article
During the past decade, investments in large-scale irrigation development in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) have come back. Given past experiences, this revival is controversial. This paper examines whether large-scale irrigation construction in SSA is economically viable by estimating how much it would cost if the Mwea Irrigation Scheme in Kenya, one of...
Data
The main reason for the success of the 20th century Green Revolution in Asia was the development of large-scale irrigation projects. But, since the late 1990s, these investments were out of the development agenda, partly because the success of the Green Revolution reduced the need for such irrigation development and partly because the lower-than-ex...
Chapter
Full-text available
This document from IIMI reprints 3 of my Pakistan irrigation papers published in the late 1970s to early 1980s.
Technical Report
Full-text available
This paper reviews the evidence available on the provision of financing for African smallholder farmers to purchase irrigation equipment such as pumps, pipes and drip irrigation systems. It sets the scene by first reviewing the literature on experiences with providing microcredit and other microfinance services as a poverty reduction strategy. Base...
Article
Full-text available
This study examined local people’s perception of climate change and its impacts on their livelihoods, and identified key opportunities and threats arising in four Village Development Committees in the high mountains of Rasuwa District, Nepal. The local people are still heavily dependent on agriculture and livestock for their food security and livel...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter explores the likely trends and outcomes in water governance by about 2030 in two regions: South Asia and Southern Africa. It addresses the question: What are the prospects for developing governance arrangements in the two regions that will lead to more positive outcomes in terms of sustainably improving people’s livelihoods while conse...
Article
Full-text available
This commentary argues that the recently approved contract under which the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is investing US$437 million dollars in Niger over the next five years, most of it on large-scale irrigation, is not a good investment. The paper explains why the programme is not likely to achieve the benefits anticipated. MCC had commi...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter explores the likely trends and outcomes in water governance by about 2030 in two regions: South Asia and Southern Africa. It addresses the question: What are the prospects for developing governance arrangements in the two regions that will lead to more positive outcomes in terms of sustainably improving people’s livelihoods while conse...
Article
Full-text available
In sub-Saharan Africa, motor pump irrigation is at an earlier stage than in Asia but is growing rapidly in many countries. The focus of both policy and research in Africa to date has been on facilitating supply chains to make pumps available at a reasonable price. In Africa, pump irrigation is mainly based on two sources: shallow groundwater aquife...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The widespread use of motorized pumps has revolutionized irrigated agriculture in many parts of Asia through higher productivity and reduced rural poverty. A similar pump revolution has begun more recently in sub-Saharan Africa. The focus of both policy and research in Africa to date has been on facilitating supply chains to make pumps available at...
Article
Full-text available
This paper reflects on the notion of interdisciplinarity in the research for development sector from a specific vantage point, that of social science researchers at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). Drawing from first-hand experiences of doing research at IWMI, a member of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Rese...
Article
Full-text available
This report is a preliminary analysis of the opportunities for improving access to water for agriculture, livestock and people in Niger. It is a desk-study-based due diligence analysis; no fieldwork has been involved.In the report, we have briefly review Niger’s development challenges, its land and water resources, the current status of AWM investm...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Purpose This paper has been prepared for the Innovation Lab for Small-Scale Irrigation (ILSSI). ILSSI is a cooperative research project implemented through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in support of the Feed the Future (FtF) program. The project aims to increase food production, improve nutrition, accelerate econom...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Based on a case study in Ethiopia, this paper shows that while farmers understand the social nature of community-managed irrigation, they share a narrow understanding of pump irrigation with policymakers as being primarily ‘technical’. They perceive pumps as liberating them from the ‘social’ limitations of traditional communal irrigation. However,...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This is a study of the CGIAR's assessments of the impacts of its irrigation and water management research since the early 1990s. While it has spent about $800 million in nominal dollars on water management research, the CGIAR has under-invested in assessing the impacts and returns on investment of this work. The study was commissioned by the Standi...
Article
Full-text available
Problems occur when institutional arrangements for collective management of food and water systems fail to meet demands. Many of the problems characterising river basins and other collectively managed water resource systems can be ascribed largely to the failure of institutions to enable problems beyond the individual to be managed collectively. Th...
Article
Full-text available
It is well-known that major irrigation projects have a strong scale economy, handicapping irrigation development in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) because of the difficulty in formulating large-scale projects. Using project-level investment cost and performance data of major and minor irrigation projects, this paper examines the causes of the economy of...
Article
Full-text available
Beginning in the early 19th century, land and water resources in South Africa’s Olifants basin were systematically mobilized to benefit commercial agriculture, mines and industries owned by a tiny minority of the population. During the 20th century, the majority African population was increasingly confined to small areas of the basin having little...
Article
Full-text available
One of the many legacies of colonialism in Africa is the multiplicity of river basins shared by two or more – and often far more – countries. Since changing national boundaries is not an option, African governments have no choice but to develop transnational institutions for developing shared water resources. Therefore, one finds a plethora of bila...
Article
This paper challenges water professionals to ask fundamental questions about public actions for water resources development and currently accepted knowledge and skills used to pursue these actions. It critically examines three common assumptions underlying the current water resources development paradigm: that “water security” is a necessary condit...
Chapter
This book contains 11 papers which cover a range of vital topics in the areas of water, agriculture, food security and ecosystems - the entire spectrum of developing and managing water in agriculture, from fully irrigated to fully rainfed lands. They are about people and society, why they decide to adopt certain practices and not others and, in par...
Article
Full-text available
At the seventh Waternet/WARFSA/GWP-SA Symposium, Lewis Jonker described the “perceived failure of implementing IWRM in South Africa.” This paper starts from Jonker’s observation – which can certainly be defended – and argues that attempts to implement full Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) are doomed to failure and disappointment. The pa...
Article
Full-text available
This paper is based on a review of experiences with a wide range of micro-agricultural water management technologies in sub-Saharan Africa with a special emphasis on southern Africa. The major finding of the study is that these technologies have the potential to make major contributions to improving food security, reducing rural poverty and promoti...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This is a synthesis of a review of small-scale individualized irrigation programs in Zimbabwe and Zambia that USAID's OFDA had supported..
Article
Full-text available
Starting from the assessment that past efforts at reform in agricultural water management in developing countries have achieved very little, this article argues that a fundamental change is required in the approach to policy and institutional transformation if the present deadlock in the internalisation of ecological sustainability, human developme...
Article
Full-text available
Poverty, hunger, gender inequality, and environmental degradation continue to afflict developing countries not because of technical failings but because of political and institutional failings. Current policies and institutional arrangements are often ineffective, and the challenges are increasing. Institutional reform is critical, but many reforms...
Article
Full-text available
"High irrigation investment costs together with declining world prices for food and the failures of a number of high profile past irrigation projects are the main reasons for the reluctance of development agencies and governments in sub-Saharan Africa to invest more resources in irrigation. This study aims to systematically establish whether costs...
Article
Full-text available
A survey was conducted in the Upper Awash River Basin, Ethiopia, to assess agricultural water management practices adopted by the farmers under drought conditions. The results show that on average drought prevails in the area once every two years and causes damage to both crops and livestock. Consequently, under such drought conditions, the farming...
Article
Full-text available
Low average rainfall that is seasonal, highly variable in time and space, and increasingly unreliable is the major impediment to farm households increasing their production of food, cash crops, and livestock products in Ethiopia. The impacts of this unreliable and inadequate water supply are compounded by many other problems both natural (for examp...
Article
Full-text available
This paper examines the weaknesses in the current understanding of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) from the perspective of livelihoods. Empowering poor people, reducing poverty, improving livelihoods, and promoting economic growth ought to be the basic objectives of IWRM. But as currently understood and used, IWRM often tends to focus...
Article
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"This paper is based on a study conducted in Isiolo District of Kenya between 2002 and 2003 in collaboration with Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology; the Ministry of Water Resources Management and Development-District Water Office, Isiolo; the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development-Isiolo and Meru Dryland Farming Proj...
Article
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"This paper reports on government institutions involved in the development and promotion of smallholder water and land management interventions, especially small-scale irrigation, microirrigation and water harvesting, for improving the livelihoods and food security of millions of poor rural people."
Article
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Ethiopia is second populous countries in Sub Saharan Africa has also tremendous land and water resources. However, most of the areas used by settlement are extremely degraded, per capita land availability is dwindled and productivities of land and labor are reduced. Agricultural productivity is also very much affected due to variability of rainfall...
Article
Full-text available
This report examines whether the difference in unit costs in sub-Saharan Africa compared with other regions is significant, and identifies the key determinants of unit investment costs and performance of irrigation projects. It makes three important contributions: (1) it confirms some earlier findings about irrigation projects; (2) it disproves som...
Chapter
As water scarcity increases, pressure to reallocate water from agriculture to other uses mounts. With this mounting pressure comes the need for institutional arrangements that can manage and accommodate shifts to higher value uses of water. These changes in resource allocation patterns have profound implications for all involved players, particular...
Chapter
This book analyses the functions, content, methods, findings and impact of social and cultural research carried out by the worldwide network of 16 international agricultural research centres of the CGIAR. It brings together the perspectives of 50 eminent scholars and social researchers from 30 countries working within the centres or in outside acad...
Chapter
Full-text available
As water scarcity increases, pressure to reallocate water from agriculture to other uses mounts. With this mounting pressure comes the need for institutional arrangements that can manage and accommodate shifts to higher value uses of water. These changes in resource allocation patterns have profound implications for all involved players, particular...
Article
Full-text available
"Weaknesses in planning and implementation (P&I) have been identified as one of the main reasons for the disappointing results of agricultural water development and management projects. Based on a review and critical analysis of experiences and case studies in sub-Saharan Africa, this study component proposes practical ways of improving performance...
Article
Increasing the capacity of water users to influence decision-making is crucial in river basin management reforms. This article assesses emerging forums for river basin management in Mexico and South Africa and concludes that the pace of democratization of water management in both is slow. Mexico is characterized by continued government dominance an...
Article
This paper analyzes trends in the level of compensation of irrigation engineers in three irrigation agencies in three countries, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan. The paper tries to relate these trends to the performance of the agencies, to understand promotion policies and their relationship to performance and compensation, and to compare the...
Chapter
The World Water Forum held in The Hague in March 2000 highlighted the growing global concern about future water supplies and the complexity of the issues that must be faced if developing countries are to meet future demands for water. As its contribution to this forum, the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) developed and applied an int...
Article
Full-text available
Water shortage in the dry season is a major problem facing agriculture in the dry and intermediate zones of Sri Lanka. Large diameter wells (agro-wells) have been introduced to use the groundwater as a supplement to rainfall. The underlying crystalline hard-rock formations have very low storage and transmissivity, which limit the groundwater resour...
Article
The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) has made important changes in the thrust of its research programmesince 1995. These new thrusts include attention to the implications of increasing water scarcity at the global level; the adoption of a river basin paradigm leading to new insights into opportunities for water conservation and produ...
Article
Full-text available
"Two systems of management are distinguished systems controlled and managed by local user organizations, and systems owned and controlled by government agencies. There is a consistent, but not perfect, relationship between governance arrangements and performance. Using a variety of measures of performance, a number of studies provide statistical ev...