Learning for sustainable management of sedimentation in the Makoye reservoir in Monze east of Southern province,Zambia
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Environmental issues such as sedimentation have accelerated due to increase in population and changes in land uses. This has made water managers to face complex technical challenges in managing water bodies. To address such environmental issues, the Global Action Program (GAP) by UNESCO (2014) advocate for the need to empower individuals and societies with knowledge, skills and values in order to create a society that is just, peaceful and sustainable. The study aimed at exploring how learning for sustainable management of sedimentation through a community of practice could be used to sustainably manage sedimentation in reservoirs such as Makoye reservoir. Prior studies (Sichingabula, et al., 2014, Chomba and Sichingabula, 2015 and Muchanga, 2017) on sediment management lacked an informative learning approach to sediment management. The objectives of the study were to: determine factors contributing to sedimentation of Makoye reservoir and its related effects to the socio-economic livelihood; investigate sediment management strategies in Makoye reservoir and to explore how learning for sustainable management of sedimentation through a community of Practice could be used to sustainably manage sedimentation in Makoye Reservoir. The study was informed by the theory of Community of Practice (COP). The study was guided by critical realism using action research design within the streams of qualitative approach. Target population included all residents within the Makoye reservoir catchment and those within a radius of 5km away from the reservoir with a sample size of 101 participants. This group was sampled through homogenous purposive and discriminatory exponential snowball sampling. Data collection instruments included semi-structured interview schedule, participant observations guide, Focus Group Discussion guide and a workshop program. Data was analyzed through thematic and Interactive Dialogic Analysis. Data validation was through between-method triangulation and mirror data triangulation techniques. From the findings, sedimentation of Makoye reservoir was much associated with upstream gardening and crop cultivation (48%), lack of dam rehabilitation (10%), climate change (1%). This resulted into reservoir sedimentation reducing the socio-economic use of the reservoir (72%), including its water quality and quantity in the reservoir (9%) posing health risks to animals. Since no measure existed to sustainably manage sedimentation in Makoye reservoir, use best farming practices on the upstream (21%) and dam rehabilitation (13%) were mostly suggested immediate strategies to combat sedimentation problem in Makoye reservoir. Despite these suggestions, learning through a community of practice on sediment management strengthened community solidarity and networking towards sediment management in Makoye reservoir and the development of a shared way of doing things (pushed for a dam rehabilitation for themselves and relocated upstream gardens to the downstream). In view of the findings, the study recommends that, there is need for water managers to promote reservoir sediment management at community level through community action oriented initiatives and rehabilitation of infrastructure such as the Water Resource Management Agency (WARMA).
The University of Zambia