Improving water supply for agriculture at Port Sud Est
Improving water supply for agriculture at Port Sud Est
1.1 Project Summary

The Island of Rodrigues is particularly vulnerable to climate change and this has direct impact on its economy. Way back in the 1960s, Rodrigues was a successful peripheral economy with its agriculture largely organised on a household basis, yet with a flourishing export trade with mainland Mauritius. The major Rodriguan exports to Mauritius were fish, onions, lime, sheep and poultry on a regular basis. However, all these started to decline as from the 1970s. The severe drought condition of this period was the root cause for the downward trend in agricultural production (including backyard gardening), the mainstay of the economy, and low morale among the farmers’ community. Water shortage is also a major issue for domestic consumption and in most regions of the island water is distributed only a few hours per week. As shown in the Figure 1 below, the general trend is towards a reduction in rainfall in most of the catchment areas of the island.
Figure 1: Mean annual rainfall in Rodrigues
Source: Central Statistic Bureau

According to the Commission for Water Resources, about 30% of water is captured by surfaces, 60% by boreholes and 10% from desalination plants. It is estimated that only 20% of the rainfall is collected. The total storage capacity is estimated to be around 23,000 m3 while total demand revolves around 9,000m3/day. Water supply varies between 4,500 m3/day in the dry period and 9,500 m3/day during the rainy season hence clearly indicating a water shortage in dry period.
Facts on water in Rodrigues:
• Nearly 90% of households are connected in one way or the other to piped network.
• Most of the distribution system operates by gravity and not under pressure like in modern networks (UNDESA, 2009).
• Most of the water resources are nearly fully tapped.
• There is no tariff system in the island. Customers only pay a yearly connection fee of MUR 22 irrespective of the volume of water supplied. This fully subsidised system has heavy implications on the finances of the Rodrigues Regional Assembly (RRA).

The farming community of Port Sud Est has suffered shortages in water supply for agricultural purposes in recent prolonged droughts. It has caused a significant reduction in the yield of vegetables in the valley of Port Sud Est and according to some community members, the production of vegetables was reduced by 70% during these years. There hence is a need to build resilience within the community to give them the ability to recover from the effect of that climatic load that has caused harm.
Port Sud Est is supplied with water for agricultural purposes from the Lower Cascade Victoire (LCV) reservoir - capacity of 8000 m3. This Reservoir is fed from Upper Cascade Victoire (UCV) Dam - capacity estimated at 400m3 which is found about 600m upstream. A feeder canal links the 2 reservoirs via an overflow mechanism. The water flow schematic is shown in Figure 2 below:
Figure 2: Schematic of water supply to Port Sud Est

The LCV reservoir was constructed in early 2000 by the Rodrigues Regional Assembly so as to allow the farmers to harvest and store the maximum flood water. It is estimated that if the LCV reservoir is at full capacity, the village will be have access to enough water for one whole year. However, supply to village is compromised during drought season and some period of the year due to the following reasons:
• It is estimated that about 255m3 (according to the RTMC) of mud has accumulated in the LCV reservoir. The mud is deposited near the outlet of the reservoir and acts as a retainer of water during drought season and hence obstructs the flow of water.
• The 600m long feeder canal is flanked by some dense vegetation and is only fully covered along a length of 100m. Moreover, the landscape along the canal is steep and rocky in some places and during heavy rain periods, mud, vegetation and rocks obstruct the pathway. At some locations, the concrete joints are either cracked or have been washed away and hence causing further leakages in the water flow between the 2 reservoirs.
• The UCV dam is a river run built dam. The feeder canal is fed with water through an overflow mechanism. However, the dam is leaky at the base and hence water only flows in the canal during flash floods. The dam is also clogged at some places with mud from the high grounds.
The aim is therefore to rehabilitate the access route to both reservoirs and undertake the necessary repairs and maintenance works to ensure that the farming community of Port Sud Est has access to water for agricultural purposes throughout the year. As an add-on value, the community will be empowered to implement a monitoring system to make sure that the infrastructure is always in optimum working condition. Given the UCV dam is located downstream one of the most prolific catchment area in Rodrigues, the Village of Port Sud Est should not be suffering from lack of water even during the dry season. Furthermore, any excess water can be collected and distributed to water stricken communities throughout the island during times of need.
It is noteworthy that Port Sud Est is part of the South Eastern Marine Protected Area (SEMPA) which was set up with the assistance of the UNDP/GEF. The SEMPA project aims at protecting the biodiversity of the region and promote sustainable livelihoods and is currently under the aegis of the Commission of Environment.

1.2 Organisational Background and Capacity to Implement the project
The Association Planteurs Port Sud Est, a registered Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), is the proposing organisation for this project. The NGO was created in 2006 and consist of 122 members all living in the Port Sud Est area. All the members of the NGO are farmers (men and women including youth and middle age locals) having their own parcel of land. None of the members are paid staff members and the mandate of the organisation is to help the community in its socio economic development.
Although they are fully conscious of the issue and agree on how to tackle the problem, the organisation does not have financial muscle nor the academic and technical know-how to implement the project hence the request for assistance. The NGO does not have previous experience relevant to building resilience to climate change. However, during the 2 meetings with the NGO and during the consultative workshop held on March 19 at Malabar the members have expressed their wish to successfully implement the project and to lead the initiative. The President of the association, Mr James Perine and other members include Ms Marie Bernadette Clair and Mr. Joseph Casimir attended the consultative workshop held on March 19 2012.

1.3 Project Objectives an Expected results
Farming communities in Small Island Developing States have insignificant contribution to the overall global warming mechanism but are the most vulnerable to the extreme and irregular weather conditions associated to it. The Farming community of Port Sud Est is a perfect testimony of the preceding statement. The yield of vegetables has been significantly affected by consecutive droughts and by ricochet the income of the community reduced. Fishing is no longer a viable option since the setting up of the Marine Protected Area (SEMPA) and due to lack of opportunities or low academic credentials, there are little or no livelihood alternatives outside farming.
The region is at the foothills of a catchment area and even though there is the necessary infrastructure to theoretically ensure supply of water throughout the year, this infrastructure is defective. Therefore, the overall aim of the project is to clear access to the reservoirs/ feeder canal, rehabilitate the flawed water system, and to empower the community to manage it sustainably. This will ensure that the community becomes self sufficient in water for agricultural purposes throughout the year and can even assist other water stricken areas in Rodrigues during droughts. In terms of compatibility with the SGP country program, this initiative is cross cutting one and is coherent with the following GEF SGP OP5 project objectives:
• Climate Change (CC): CCM5: Hectares of land under improved land use and climate proofing practices.
• Land degradation (LD) & Sustainable Forest Management (SFM): Hectares of land applying sustainable forest, agricultural and water management practices.
• Capacity Development (CD): - Number of community-based monitoring systems demonstrated
- Number of people trained on: project development, monitoring, evaluation etc
In terms of synergy with other relevant programmes, this project aligns with the objectives of the Sustainable Integrated Development Plan for Rodrigues (SIDPR) on environment, integrated water resources management and sustainable, integrated agriculture.
The specific expected results associated with the different project components and the corresponding time frame are outlined below:
• Endangered plants identified in the vicinity of the reservoirs and feeder canal
• Capacity built in community to identify the rare plants, training provided on how to relocate the endangered endemics and safety training provided
• Potential use of biomass produced from activity 2 assessed.
• Tools, construction material and safety equipment for tree lopping and track road reinforcement purchased
• Access way from village to UCV Dam cleared to allow safe transit of materials on utility vehicles.
• Shrubs and vegetation on a locus of 2 metres around the LCV and UCV is cleared
• Biomass collected and disseminated to be used as compost
• Track road paved where required.
• Extent of repairs on UCV dam determined by Water Commission.
• Materials for repairs purchased
• Mud removed and disposed of.
• Civil works performed by competent personnel.
• Feeder canal cleared throughout the run.
• Extent of repairs on the feeder determined by competent personnel.
• Removable slabs casted in concrete and placed at strategic locations.
• Metallic grills assembled and placed at strategic locations for filtration of debris
• Leaky joints and cracks consolidated with light concrete by competent personnel
• Reservoir is drenched if required.
• Mud deposited at the base removed and disposed of.
• State of geotextile fabric assessed by competent personnel (water commission or other)
• Geotextile fabric replaced where required.
• Fencing repaired and upgraded where required
• Tree lopping roster devised and responsibilities assigned
• Feeder canal inspected every fortnight, filter grills cleared and fencing inspected.
• Flow meter purchased and installed to monitor water consumption from LCV.
• Water consumption monitored and recorded for statistical purposes.
• Oversee the day to day activity of the project.
• Manage project funds and liaise with stakeholders

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Project Snapshot

Association Planteurs Port Sud Est
Area Of Work:
Climate Change Mitigation
Land Degradation
Grant Amount:
US$ 50,000.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 862.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 11,379.00
Project Number:
Satisfactorily Completed
Project Characteristics and Results
Notable Community Participation
Senior members of the Association Planteurs Port Sud Est were consulted for the planning and design stage in presence of the Project Contact on Thursday 15 December 2012, on Sunday 18 March 2012 and during a consultative workshop held at Malabar the next day with other stakeholders. In the implementation phase, the community members are committed to provide 400 man days worth of input in the form of the participation in project activities. This amounts to MUR 180,000 of in kind contribution with one pay day for manual labour worth MUR 450. In terms of monitoring and evaluation, a roster will be devised for the community members to abide to. Progress reports are expected at the end of each deliverable and are expected to outline the achievements and financial expenditure.
Gender Focus
The NGO consists of 122 members with a relatively balanced number of men and women. The contribution of the community being in kind form (physical labour), the gender dimension will be considered when devising the roster so that women are not burdened with highly physical work. In terms of benefits, all the members are connected to the res
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Grantee Contact

Mr. James Perrine
Phone: 726 9966


Port Sud Est, Rodrigues

SGP Country office contact

Mrs. Pamela Bapoo-Dundoo
(230) 213 53 84
(230) 212 14 11


2nd Floor, Sugar Industry Pension Fund Building, 1 Remy Ollier Street
Port Louis, Mauritius

Country Website