The predominantly rural population in the Volta Basin depends on rainfed crops, a practice which becomes increasingly risky as the rainfall decreases from south to north and rural poverty increases. Yields are low throughout because of drought and dry spells within the growing season, infertile soils, low inputs, poor infrastructure, and low labour productivity. Water-related diseases are widespread and half of all rural households depend on low-quality water. Fertilizer and small-scale irrigation can improve the yields of rainfed crops and alleviate poverty, but the duality between the legal state and the traditional hierarchy complicates land tenure by hindering investment. Small-scale irrigation has little effect on hydropower dams downstream.