Wasting the Rain

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Rivers, People and Planning in Africa

By W.M. Adams
University of Minnesota Press

For much of Africa, drought seems to be a permanent feature. Many attempts have been made to develop water resources there through dams and irrigation schemes, but these have almost invariably failed.

This book offers an experienced and constructive evaluation of the ways in which water resources have been developed in Africa. It argues that the best hope of appropriate development lies in working with local people using local knowledge. It examines a range of modern, large-scale developments, where the record has been so poor. It also explores the strength and diversity of indigenous water development, showing how, by building on the skills and concerns of small farmers and others directly affected, a viable alternative is available – an approach that can be applied elsewhere in the world as well.