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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: A Process-Based Approach to Improving the Performance of Irrigated Agriculture

Author
item Clemmens, Albert

Submitted to: International Congress on Irrigation and Drainage
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: August 31, 2005
Publication Date: September 1, 2005
Citation: Clemmens, A.J. A process-based approach to improving the performance of irrigated agriculture. International Congress on Irrigation and Drainage. p. 1-16.

Interpretive Summary: The performance of large-scale irrigation projects worldwide has been disappointing to the international community. Continued poor performance could limit our ability to provide food for a growing, more affluent world population. Improvement in the productivity of large irrigation projects is a key component to assuring future adequate food supplies. This lecture discusses the reasons for poor performance of these schemes and proposes a method to improve their performance. A main problem is that operation of these irrigation projects is not tied to productivity. As a result, the dispersive nature of these large open canal distribution systems causes extreme variability in water delivery service to users. The remedy is to break the system down at key intermediate locations within the network and improve physical and administrative controls at those locations. This should be of interest to the Bureau of Reclamation, consultants, the World Bank, U.S. Agency for International Development, and other international aid groups.

Technical Abstract: The performance of large-scale irrigation projects worldwide has been disappointing to the international community. Continued poor performance could limit our ability to provide food for a growing, more affluent world population. Improvement in the productivity of large irrigation projects is a key component to assuring future adequate food supplies. This lecture discusses the reasons for poor performance of these schemes and proposes a method to improve their performance. A main problem is that operation of these irrigation projects is not tied to productivity. As a result, the dispersive nature of these large open canal distribution systems causes extreme variability in water delivery service to users. The remedy is to break the system down at key intermediate locations within the network and improve physical and administrative controls at those locations. This should be of interest to the Bureau of Reclamation, consultants, the World Bank, U.S. Agency for International Development, and other international aid groups.

Last Modified: 12/20/2014
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