Role and Potential of Small Storages for Rural Water Resources Development: the Case of Southern Malawi
A study was undertaken in Chingale catchment, southern Malawi to assess small storage (ponds) roles and potential for rural water resources development to satisfy growing demand by aquaculture and irrigation. Combined with field measurement, survey, and remote sensing analysis, the SCS runoff method and GIS based spatial analysis was applied to identify water harvesting potential. The results are combined with socio-economic considerations to assess current ponds and site suitability for future development. Results show lack of guidance on ponds construction and ponds water management leads to poor performance of existing ones. More than half of current ponds were built on soils with high infiltration rate causing significant losses of water. The combined losses through evaporation and seepage amounts to more than 2500 mm per year. The ponds however help produce significant protein and cash income for local farmers. The catchment has a lot of potential to further develop ponds. Conducting Integrated Irrigation and Aquaculture (IIA) at small household ponds offers an approach for local people to increase income and improve nutrition situation.