Innovations for More Food with Less Water and Less Energy

Lahmeyer International GmbH
International Water Management Institute;

This event is a two-part seminar. The first part, co-convened by ADB, IWMI and Lahmeyer International, will raise awareness of the irrigation community in innovative thinking for improving productivity of water as a key dimension of the water-food-energy nexus. Cross-country case studies of large canal systems will be presented, illustrating state-of-the-art diagnostic techniques and approaches to management reforms and irrigation modernization, including conjunctive management of surface/groundwater and the use of remote sensing. One successful strategy - high-efficiency drip irrigation - will be the focus in the second part convened by IRD and WUR.

Participants will be engaged interactively to contribute their own knowledge and experiences to help generate recommendations to improve on the methodologies used, including potential use in their own setting. Working groups will examine recent real-world information and data including systems analyses, performance benchmarking findings, participatory rural appraisals, and assessments of service delivery agencies and farmer organizations. 

In plenary presentations, panel discussions and interactive working groups, participants will develop recommendations for management and institutional reforms and associated physical modernisation works to sustain much needed productivity increases while reducing the overall energy intensity of irrigated production. In the final facilitated discussion session recommendations will be compared with study findings.

14:00   Welcome and Opening Remarks.
           Mr. Lance Gore, ADB
           Mr. Michael Chegwin, LI
14:15   Group Work on Themes as Follows: 


Performance Evaluation Tools - Remote Sensing and Benchmarking - state of the art assessment strategies of irrigation performance
 Moderator: Dr. Beau Freeman, LI and Mr. Remco Dost, eLeaf 

Approaches to institutional reforms that engage stakeholders as active participants.
 Moderator: Dr. Asad Zaman, LI
 Moderator: Mr. A. K. M. Fazlul Hoque Majumder, BETS


Synthesizing technical and institutional assessments into strategic modernization planning

Moderator: Mr. Lance Gore, ADB
Moderator: Mr. Adrian Young, LI


Past and ongoing modernization efforts in the Asian Region.
Moderator: Mr. Malik Ravinder, IWMI


14:45   Reporting Back from Themes.

15:05   Panel Discussion and Q&A.

15:25   Wrap-Up.

15:30   Close of Seminar and Coffee Break


Please contact the moderators to find out more details. Main conclusions of the event were:

Theme 1 Title: Performance Evaluation Tools – Remote Sensing and Benchmarking – state of the art assessment strategies of irrigation performance

Moderators: Dr. Beau Freeman (; Remco Dost (  

  • Through integration of the benchmarking approach and remote sensing an objective comparison is possible and areas for improvements can be identified.
  • Benchmarking implies a continual process of measuring and comparing results and taking corresponding corrective actions.
  • Evaluators must have a high-level of experience with the evaluation/diagnostic tools and with irrigation modernization.
  • All irrigation projects will require a mix of structural and non-structural (hardware and software) interventions 


Theme 2 Approaches to Institutional Reform:  Effective Engagement of Stakeholders as Active Participants

Moderators: Dr. Asaduz Zaman, (; AKM Fazlul Hoque Majumder (  

  • Variable performance of Participatory Irrigation Management, especially in large canal schemes, is internationally documented and public-private partnership (PPP) is seen as an alternative approach.
  • Two broad models have been identified:
  • A private sector operator
  • An autonomous integrated irrigation authority
  • In both options commercial operations would be developed to ensure adequate levels of financing.
  • First a private irrigation management operator would have responsibility for secondary and tertiary canals. This approach will be tried at Muhuri Irrigation Project, Bangladesh.
  • Volumetric charging for water delivery services with prepaid meters could provide a possible long-term services cost-recovery approach. 


Theme 3: Synthesizing technical and institutional assessments into strategic modernization planning

Moderator: Adrian Young (

  • High distribution efficiency is proposed using buried pipes and electric prepaid meters in one scheme.
  • Management, operation and maintenance (MOM) of lower level canals have to be self-financing through improved efficiencies and supplementary cost recovery activities.
  • A PPP organisation will manage the lower canal systems; the government will manage the headworks and main canals.
  • In the long term all assets could be leased to a private sector operator.
  • Extensive consultation with all stakeholders is necessary, including farmers and current system operators.
  • The Barind Multipurpose Development Authority  in Bangladesh provides a useful model for sustainable MOM under an integrated irrigation authority.


Theme 4 Past and on-going efforts in modernisation of irrigation in Asia 

Moderators: Ravinder Malik (; Lance Gore (  


  • Several approaches have been tried for improving the performance of irrigation systems worldwide. 
  • Farmer communities adapt systems through their need for greater on-farm water control.   
  • Performance improvements depend on profitability of canal irrigated agriculture, economic stature of irrigators, authority and enforcement capacity of the agency, and alternatives to canal irrigation.  
  • Deep systemic reforms are hard to implement without strong authority structures in small and resource-poor settings. 
  • If irrigators are large and affluent farmers, reforms can be far deeper and more radical.
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