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PAVE Irrigation Project

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The Northern regions are considered part of the bread basket regions (BBR) of Ghana. The area has the potential to provide the bulk of the country’s food and industrial raw material requirements. Despite this potential, smallholder farmers are vulnerable to droughts, floods, pests and diseases, and other natural threats.

With increasing frequency, duration and severity of drought conditions across much of the African continent, smallholder farmers are looking for new ways to ensure that their harvests are secured against the erratic rainfall pattern. It is in this light that Conservation Alliance in collaboration with PAVE Irrigation Systems (PIS) is promoting PAVE Irrigation Technology (PIT) among smallholder farmers in the Northern Region of Ghana.

PAVE Irrigation Technology is a German originated rain water harvesting, aquifer recharge irrigation technology that injects excess water underground during periods of rainy days and floods. This is aimed at storing water for dry season farming, and also supplementing irrigation during short rainy periods. Depending on the prevailing soil layers, and the nature of aquifer, one unit of PIT has the capacity to inject an estimated 4-40 million liters of water underground. This water can be stored in the soil for up to 180 days, and thus assures farmers of at least 6months of irrigation. The construction of PIT inculcates multiple layers of carbonization, this is to enhance the purification of water being injected, to enhance its safe use by humans.

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PIT is a context based technology, which means;

  • Its design, development and installation is dependent on the soil, geological and hydrogeological and general environmental conditions of the project area.
  • All materials needed in the development of the PIT can be obtained from any country in the world, and thus Ghana/Africa.
  • In accessing water from PIT, simple pumps are required, and the use of pumps is a common practice among smallholder farmers in Northern Ghana.

In the construction of PIT, there are two main things (among others) that are considered;

  • Wet fracture in the soil that is less saturated, or contains less amount of water with opportunities to hold more.
  • Water Aquifer where the rain flood water can be injected or added up to the underground water.

In terms of water extracted from the injection pipe, or through an alternative pipe, which is drilled in correlation with the soil strata of the injection pipe.

Furthermore, the PIT is a gender centric technology in the following way;

  • It is labour saving for women, because it provides them water on their farms and thus saves the energy and time in travelling long distances in accessing water.
  • The usage of PIT requires pumps which is a current practice among smallholder farmers
  • The PIT promotes communal ownership of assets (among women and men)
  • The PIT is a sure irrigation guarantee for the smallholder farmers, due to no occurrence of evaporation of waterpave irrigation project 3

PIT can play a key role in increasing crop yields, conserving water, and creating a source of income for smallholder farmers in rural communities, creating a ‘triple-win’ towards more sustainable development. Our model is built from a low-cost design, making it affordable to even the poorest farmers. By implementing drip-irrigation, smallholder farmers are able to increase the variety of crops on their farms and produce higher yields, resulting in greater food security and income opportunities.

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Pave Irrigation Project

PAVE Technology

Most parts of Northern Ghana and in sub Saharan Africa suffer the effects of climate change (flooding, waterlogging and drought). The impact of this continuous to affect productivity of poor smallholder farmers. In Ghana for example, most farmers produce less than 1/3 of the actual potential, a limiting factor being access to water. While most farmlands experience waterlogging/flooding during the rainy season, these lands become totally dry with no access to water during the lean season. Farmers’ plight is recognized at two levels (1) excess water during the rainy season making the land less usable (2) limited water during the dry season, and thus farmers are unable to crop their lands. The ideal solution for farmers is an innovative technology that can transform farmers’ plight to an opportunity.


The PAVE Irrigation Technology is a water conservation technology that captures excess water from rainfall or floods, filters and injects into the aquifer and unsaturated fractures to be stored storage for dry season cropping. The PAVE technology provides a unique opportunity where farmers will have at least 2 season cropping, and thus improve land productivity by at least 70 percent.  The technology also supports cropping under rain fed conditions especially in times where rainfall is short, and thus provides supplementary irrigation. The PAVE technology (unlike other underground water storage technologies) has special features to ensure the purification of flood water, before it is injected underground. This include the specially designed carbonization procedures aimed at enhancing the quality of water. Thus, it ensures the safety of ground water. The PAVE technology is a context based technology; (1) The design of the technology is dependent on the prevailing geological and hydrogeological conditions within the proposed area (2) All materials needed for the technology are produced and sourced locally (3) The extraction of water from the PAVE technology requires the use of pumps which is a common practice among farmers in Ghana

 Community Engagement

An essential and unique aspect of technology is the communal approach for its introduction, adoption and usage. Target farmers and relevant groups within project area are engaged to validate the information obtained. Community education and public awareness activities are conducted using technical diagrams and video documentaries to explain the technology to the target communities. Additionally, famer field days are organized to explain the technological process of the technology on selected farmlands. This approach provides target farmer a better understanding of the technology for easy adoption. In consultation with community leaders, suitable sites are then selected for the installation of the technology.


Materials for the installation of PAVE are locally made and can be obtained anywhere in the world. Installation begins with drilling which involves creating vertical holes underground using a borehole drilling machine. PAVE pipes are arranged according to the soil strata identified during the drilling process. A filtration system is created around the installed to purify the water injected underground. Water lifting and distributing system such as solar or motorized pumps are installed to provide water for agriculture. The technology is continuously monitored with the use of the monitoring protocol to track success.

Capacity Building

Using the community level innovators approach, innovators are identified and trained on the use of the technology. Local artisans like masons, plumbers are trained on the installation as well as maintenance of the technology. This approach ensures the localization of technology knowledge. A community led process is used to develop and implement a management plan for the technology.


The PAVE technology has successfully been implemented in several communities of Northern Ghana located within the following districts/municipal assemblies; Savelugu Nanton, Tolon-Kumbungu, Talensi, Karaga and the West Mamprusi districts to assist smallholder farmers improve water conservation and increase crop yields. The adoption of the technology by farmers has led to the installation of over 10 PAVEs on farmer fields. Beneficiary farmers can now undertake dry season which can last for about 5-7 months.


The PAVE technology provides the following benefits;

  • Food security and improved nutrition for rural households.
  • Improved incomes for poor smallholder farming communities
  • Reduced rural-urban migration
  • Gender economic empowerment
  • Reduce pressure on riparian areas.