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Sustainable Wetland Utilisation - Th Case of Simaiwa Wetlands Malawi

Essay by   •  June 23, 2011  •  Essay  •  278 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,558 Views

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A research was conducted at Simaiwa Small Wetland in a dryland area of Malawi in Salima District. The aim of the research was to contribute to sustainable utilisation of small depression wetlands to circumvent increased frequency of droughts and erratic rainfall distribution that the Southern African Region is experiencing. Many smallscale farmers are using small wetlands as springboards for their livelihoods during times of droughts. The research found that shallow wells are constructed in these wetlands beyond the capacity of groundwater recharge thereby depleting the water resources and affecting the already precarious circumstances of the people. Treadle pumps were noted to be mostly used as compared to watering cans. This was due to the fact that the irrigation plots established are larger that required much water application. The increased number of treadle pumps drawing water from the aquifers was noted to have a significant negative effect on the groundwater recharge. Moreover, it was noted that the conditions of the wetlands are being excessively utilised. The research revealed that 65% of those who established irrigation plots in wetland utilised indigenous knowledge in selecting portions of lands therefore there was no use of any scientific data. Water quality was found to be good as not much fertilizer were used. Farmers expressed that due to decomposition of vegetation in the wetlands the soils were fertile and there was no need to use fertilizers. Despite the negative effects that treadle pumps are having on small wetlands, food security at household level has significantly improved and 85% of the smallholder farmers utilizing the wetlands have indicated that their socio economic status has significantly improved since they joined the irrigation initiatives.

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