The BAMGIRE project was initiated by Wetlands International to support Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) in the Upper Niger Basin (UNB) and Inner Niger Delta (IND). Both sub-basins of the Niger River and the ecosystems they support, provide a wide range of ecosystem services to millions of stakeholders in the dry Sahel region. On a local scale, these ecosystem services include, amongst others, water provisioning for household consumption, fodder for cattle, enable agricultural production, and some ecosystems function as sacred natural areas. Internationally, the wetlands are valued for their high biodiversity.
Various drivers in the region put an increasing pressure on the water resources. To feed the growing population and to satisfy energy demand, the Mali and Guinea Governments seek to develop large scale infrastructural projects that affect the hydrological system of the Niger river substantially. In Guinea, there are plans to build a big hydropower dam. In Mali, it is intended to expand the agricultural area of Office du Niger. These developments are expected to have an enormous effect on the hydrological regime of the Niger river and the benefits to the people that depend on the water resources for their livelihoods. In addition to these developments, climate change may increasingly put pressure on the water resources.
A decrease in water availability in the Niger river will have severe effects on small-scale rice production, cattle farming and fisheries. Because of this socioeconomic importance, Wetlands International commissioned Wolfs Company to assess the socio-economic value of the ecosystem services in the UNB and IND within the BAM-GIRE project. Together with project partners, we will develop an integrated scenario analysis in which ecosystem services values are linked to changes in the water regimes of the UNB and IND. To support a transparent IWRM process, we will assess the socioeconomic effects of the dam construction and agricultural expansion.