Articles | Volume 20, issue 10
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 4093–4115, 2016
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 4093–4115, 2016

Research article 10 Oct 2016

Research article | 10 Oct 2016

Towards systematic planning of small-scale hydrological intervention-based research

Kharis Erasta Reza Pramana and Maurits Willem Ertsen Kharis Erasta Reza Pramana and Maurits Willem Ertsen
  • Water Resources Section, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands

Abstract. Many small-scale water development initiatives are accompanied by hydrological research to study either the form of the intervention or its impacts. Humans influence both the development of intervention and research, and thus one needs to take human agency into account. This paper focuses on the effects of human actions in the development of the intervention and its associated hydrological research, as hydrological research is often designed without adequate consideration of how to account for human agency and that these effects have not yet been discussed explicitly in a systematic way. In this paper, we propose a systematic planning for hydrological research, based on evaluating three hydrological research efforts targeting small-scale water development initiatives in Vietnam, Kenya, and Indonesia. The main purpose of the three cases was to understand the functioning of interventions in their hydrological contexts. Aiming for better decision-making on hydrological research in small-scale water intervention initiatives, we propose two analysis steps, including (1) consideration of possible surprises and possible actions and (2) cost–benefit analysis. By performing the two analyses continuously throughout small-scale hydrological intervention-based initiatives, effective hydrological research can be achieved.

Short summary
The effects of human actions in small-scale water development initiatives and the associated hydrological research activities are basically unspecified. We argue that more explicit attention helps to design more appropriate answers to the challenges faced in field studies. A more systematic approach is proposed that would be useful when designing field projects: two sets of questions on (1) dealing with surprises and (2) cost–benefits of data gathering.