IWMI Releases Report on Irrigation Needs in Asia

, by  Olivier Petitjean

During the Stockholm World Water Week, the International Water Management Institute released a report titled Revitalizing Asia’s Irrigation to Sustainably meet tomorrow’s needs.

According to the report’s authors, expanding irrigation is the only way to meet the food needs of an Asian population which will reach 5 billions in 2050 (from 3,5 today), in the context of climate change. Land where rain-fed agriculture is viable are too few and almost entirely developed. And irrigation is the only way to reach the necessary level of productivity.

The authors suggest first of all that big irrigation systems dating back to the Green Revolution should be restored and adequately maintained. Poor maintenance is seen as the cause of a large amount of waste and losses, in Central Asia, but also in China and India. Water management and distribution models need to adapt to the reality of today’s agriculture. According to the report, it is the irrelevance of the current systems which often forces farmers to pump groundwater. The authors unfortunately endorse the usual mantra about the need to involve the private sector in water management. They recommend programmes aiming to extend efficient irrigation technologies, such as drip irrigation, and emphasise the crucial role of farmers’ innovation in inventing new processes or updating ancestral practices such as rainwater harvesting.

Download report at : http://www.iwmi.cgiar.org/SWW2009/P....

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