Submitted to: National Irrigation Symposium
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/16/2000
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Increased competition for scarce water resources, environmental degradation due to inadequate irrigation practices, and inadequate return on irrigation project investments are key reasons why national government and international donor organizations are interested in improving the performance of irrigation projects. Improving irrigation project performance requires first assessing the current and potential system performance. However, because of the complexity of irrigation projects, no standard approach exists for assessing their performance. Assessments need to consider hydrologic, hydraulic, agronomic, economic, management, and even socio-cultural perspectives. Moreover, water users, irrigation delivery system managers, and policy makers have different informational needs. During the last decade, various concepts for assessing the performance of irrigation projects have been revised and new ones proposed. This paper reviews these developments. The paper should be of interest to USBR, consulting engineers, irrigation districts, and a wide audience interested in irrigation system performance assessment.
Technical Abstract: The last decade has seen an evolution in concepts related to irrigated system performance assessment. This evolution recognizes that performance measures can have different implications if studied at the farm, delivery system, project, or hydrologic basin levels. Traditional agronomic, engineering, and economic perspectives on irrigation performance assessment need to be integrated with each other and with social, managerial, and institutional perspectives in order to clearly identify strengths and weaknesses of irrigated systems and develop sound strategies for their improvement. This paper reviews recent developments in irrigation performance assessment and identifies issues needing further research.