About Water and Agriculture
WHAT WE DO
Water is necessary for agriculture. Better water management allows communities to sustain or even improve the quantity and quality of their water sources, which means higher crop yields and healthier animals.
In the development sector, agriculture and water have traditionally been viewed as separate areas of intervention. Yet water and agriculture activities are becoming more and more interdependent. Changing climate patterns threaten rain-fed agriculture, while desertification negatively affects agricultural production in vulnerable semi-arid zones. Agricultural runoff, livestock use and other pollutions decrease water quality. In turn, waterborne diseases, poor hygiene and inadequate sanitation decrease productivity of agriculture-based households. Conflicts over water and other natural resources are increasingly affecting agriculture-based populations.
CRS is addressing those concerns by working to better integrate water concerns into agriculture and environmental activities.
HOW WE DO IT
Environmentally sustainable programs: Our work emphasizes activities that contribute to the livelihoods of beneficiaries while taking the greater environment into account. We promote holistic, watershed-based programming.
Education and preparedness: We work with communities to show the multiple uses of water for both domestic (drinking, cooking, sanitation, personal hygiene, household cleanliness) and productive (irrigation, livestock, fish ponds, small industries) purposes. We try to reduce the risks of environmental and human-caused emergencies through water, sanitation and hygiene programming.
Emphasize links to agro-enterprise and community: We show comprehensive community management of water resources is key. With good use of water, there is increased household access to nutrition, proper use of potable water and more agricultural outputs. When farmers increase production, farmer groups organize, innovate and compete in markets. In addition, management of water and natural resources allows communities to prepare for, mitigate and cope with disasters.
Research & Publications
Assessment of the "Wellness and Agriculture for Life Advancement" project in southern Malawi
How watershed development is affecting food security in rural Malawi
Learn about the impact of watershed development on rural household food security and resiliency in southern Malawi. More
Pocket Guide 3: Managing Water Resources
This pocket guide is written for field agents working in agricultural extension. The concepts, information and practices in these guides are meant to support their work with farm families in helping them to reduce their risks from changes in the weather. More
Watershed Development in Malawi
A Study from the Wellness and Agriculture for Life Advancement (WALA) Program
This study documents the approach and community perceptions of the CRS-led and USAID-funded Wellness and Agriculture for Life Advancement (WALA) program’s watershed work in Southern Malawi. The report looks at three main themes: behavior change, technological diffusion, and impact. More