Researchers back to secondary school – Renewable Energy-powered Water-Energy-Food-Economy Nexus in the Dosso Region in Niger / Part irrigation (RETO-DOSSO/ Irrigation)


Solar pumping, irrigation scheduling, drip irrigation, efficiency, water productivity, Niger




The climatic conditions in the Sahel region offer a great potential for decentral solar-based systems to provide clean energy for enhancing electrification and support water supply for domestic use and irrigation – urgently needed especially in rural areas of the region in order to achieve energy, water and food security. The project will conceive, establish and operate a solar-based energy hub at a secondary school in the Dosso region of Niger. Major objective of the research is to optimize the use of clean energy in a holistic way for improving livelihood in a village through access to electricity and pumping groundwater for drinking and irrigation purpose. Applying a transdisciplinary approach, the optimization aims at providing technically functional, economically feasible and ecologically sustainable solutions meeting the requirements of the local population. The energy hub will be installed close to a secondary school in order to reach the majority of rural population and gain the involvement of young generation as ‘agents of change’. Building on advanced water supply by solar pumping, ZEF’s contribution to the collaborative project is focusing on enhancing irrigation scheduling and handling of techniques for improving water productivity under current and future climatic conditions.


Major steps of our approach consist of:

  • assessing the performance of small-scale irrigation in terms of appropriateness, efficiency and productivity
  • deriving options towards enhancing irrigation performance by advancing irrigation schedules, irrigation techniques and their handling in combination with improved availability of water supply by solar-driven pumps and storage facilities
  • integrating improved irrigation schedules and techniques into the agricultural production system considering the socio-economic, institutional and environmental context
  • estimating available surface and groundwater resources in sub-basins of the study region (as ‘limits for sustainable water use’) and contributing to conceive overall water allocation plans (including options of advanced strategies of rainfed irrigation)

The research is comparing a drip irrigation system which is supplied by groundwater from solar-driven pumping and operated according to advanced irrigation scheduling procedures with the conventional irrigation practice (reference situation) in a village in the Dosso region in Niger. Field work will cover dry (full irrigation) and rainy (supplemental irrigation) seasons and will be used as an entry-point to cooperate with farmers as ‘end-users’ to ease the implementation of modified irrigation practices.

Main Cooperation Partners

  • Institute for Technology and Resources Management in Tropics and Subtropics (ITT) / TH Köln (lead)
  • Abdou Moumouni University of Niamey (UAM)
  • University of Sciences, Techniques and Technologies of Bamako (USTT-B)
  • Institute for Environment and Human Security / United Nations University (UNU-EHS)  
  • Institute for Water and Energy Sciences / Pan African University (PAUWES)
  • Foyer-Tech Pvt. Ltd.
  • Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ)
  • Technical University Munich (TUM)
  • Wertsicht GmbH (now: einsfünf Beratungsgesellschaft mbH)
  • Yandalux Solar GmbH
  • ZEF
Main Funding Partners

German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) via Projektträger Jülich (PtJ)

Duration of the Project

July 2020 – December 2023



Bernhard Tischbein

Dr. Bernhard Tischbein


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