Small-scale irrigation: is this the future?
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Facon, T.; Mukherji, Aditi. 2010. Small-scale irrigation: is this the future? Paper presented at the Water Crisis and Choices, ADB and Partners Conference, ADB HQ, Manila, Philippines, 11-15 October 2010. 43p.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/38222
Internet URL: http://publications.iwmi.org/pdf/H043372.pdf
The authors were asked to answer the question ?small-scale irrigation: is this the future??. Taking as a starting point the analyses and of the IWMI-FAO-ADB study on Revitalizing Asia?s Irrigation and its key strategies, the paper compares atomistic irrigation, traditional small-scale and large-scale irrigation options, outcomes and potentials in their socio-economic and river basin environments. Atomistic irrigation has exploded, river basins are closing and energy prices are soaring. This new reality, its benefits, its sustainability crisis, but also the potential for new strategies that this phenomenon has demonstrated must first be acknowledged.In most countries and river basins, additional development of irrigation at whatever scale is not an option and the focus will be on improving the productivity and sustainability of existing systems. In areas where irrigation development is still possible, options remain open. Demography, market pull, water constraints and energy will largely determine the mix of atomistic, small-scale and large-scale irrigation and their evolution, expansion and decline over time.The paper explores tactics and strategies for the modernization of existing and the potential for new large-scale systems and for supporting and sustaining atomistic and small-scale irrigation, institutional and policy innovations, and tools to facilitate dynamic planning and management of the sector, the evolution of different systems and the design of measures to support an enabling environment.A considerable body of knowledge exists on how to support these strategies, transform large-scale irrigation systems and promote various forms of atomistic, small-scale and large-scale irrigation systems. Tools that support long-term sectoral planning and management for future investment and the design of measures to support an enabling environment are proposed. The deployment of sound water accounting and auditing systems will be critical. Planning and policy mechanisms will require looking outside the irrigation sector and this is often where effective interventions will be found.We need to move from competition and conflict between atomistic, small-scale and large-scale irrigation to a fluid logic of complementarily, combination and convergence. For this to happen, the virtual reality of official agency outlooks, imported frameworks, and descriptions of the sectors and the basins will often need to be reformed, as a preliminary to the reform of the institutions and programmes that embody them. Then, the mobilization of resources from the public sector, the private sector and water users can be greatly enhanced and result in positive outcomes and more sustainable results, and enable new solutions to old problems that have long nagged the sector.Changing the outlook of the sector and effecting the necessary structural and policy reforms, which are required to change decision-making on future investments in the sector will be difficult. Capacity building and changing practice and results on the ground, together with the adoption of robust monitoring and evaluation systems for investment and policy results, can serve as a basis for developing a broad constituency to effect the changes in governance and policy that will ultimately be needed, and assist in shaping investment to facilitate these changes.
Paper presented at the Water Crisis and Choices, ADB and Partners Conference, ADB HQ, Manila, Philippines, 11-15 October 2010