An interactive and participative approach to water quality management in agro-rural watersheds
AbstractAn interactive and participative approach to involve and mobilise rural communities in water quality control programmes was investigated. Agro-rural watersheds are experiencing serious environmental degradation mainly because of inappropriate land use practices due to various competing and opposing priorities in the community. The communities tend to concentrate on availability of land and water for their activities regardless of the state of that resource. The methodology is designed to bring awareness to the rural farmers of the amounts of pollutants they contribute to a river system and the benefits of adhering to good land-use and farming practices both in terms of production and environmental protection. It is based on a pilot project, dealing with an agro-rural watershed in a semi-arid developing area. A strong emphasis was put on stakeholder participation, an area neglected by many researchers. It became clear that pollutant flushes from the catchments are influenced by many factors, of which agricultural practices is only one.
WaterSA Vol.28(3) 2002: 337-345