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Living Water

Integrated Strategies. Watershed and Catchment Management.

Our approach focuses on the elimination of pollution problems at source. Each problem requires one or more solutions. For factories, a site strategy may be sufficient as the source of the problem is localised. However, when pollution is diffuse (run-off from farmland, for example) affecting a river or lake it is necessary to find the sources of pollution from within a catchment , (the area from which rainfall drains to a river or lake). On a larger scale when an estuary or sea becomes polluted it is necessary to assess a watershed (the area from which rainfall drains to an estuary or sea).

To develop an integrated strategy for a site, a catchment or a watershed the methodology is similar, consisting of the identification of each source of pollution and their solutions. Although it is necessary to improve water quality, it can be difficult to work at a catchment or watershed level in Europe or where private ownership exists, due to conflicting points of view and lack of co-operation.

Most of our work with watershed management has been carried out in developing countries (Costa Rica, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda ( Lake Victoria) and Fiji), Catchment and watershed issues can be more difficult, time consuming and complex especially when politics between several countries are involved. However, when a watershed management plan is implemented correctly success is possible and therefore can be worth the effort over a number of years. An example is described below:

When several coastal communities in Fiji complained of 'dead water' and reduced fish stocks due to the death of coral reefs, Living Water was asked by a Fijian NGO to identify the problems and provide solutions. The watershed management and strategy is now complete. A combination of agricultural run-off from sugar cane farming, animal husbandry, clear cutting of forests on the top of the watershed, soil erosion, sewage from villages and resorts, rubbish, removal of mangroves all have been found to contribute to the death of the coral reefs. The solutions have been identified, pilot treatment system projects have been completed and a number of the solutions are starting to be tackled. This process which includes the involvement and education of the local communities will require a number of years to achieve the result, but a start has been made.