Red Routes on Blue Rivers: strategic water management for the Ruaha River Basin, Tanzania

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Allocation of water in river basins not only requires the setting of targets of water supply to different users, but also the establishment of appropriate strategies to achieve those targets. As an example of this, 'red routes'— an idea taken from a plan used in the city of London to ensure free-flowing traffic on key arterial routes— is proposed for the Ruaha basin in Tanzania. The paper argues that allocation of water is best achieved by managing key rivers (red routes), rather than all rivers, and by concentrating on part of rather than the whole annual calendar. In this way, the principle of 'zoning' is employed to utilize comparative advantages found in some rivers and not in others. This strategic approach selects from the main theories of water management: command and control, technical, economic and community-based activities. It also uses, in part, a rural-livelihoods justification for re-allocation. This strategic approach fits the hydrological situation of both use and supply of water and has clear objectives in mind, proposing management activities necessary to deliver the objectives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-444
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Water Resources Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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