Technical Meetings – 2015

Irrigation – Improving Social and Environmental Outcomes

Date: 06th November 2015

See the recording here.

Irrigation can contribute significantly to poverty alleviation, food security, and improving the quality of life for rural populations. However, irrigation often does not live up to expectations and can also have negative environmental and socio-economic effects, such as water logging and salinization, water and vector borne diseases, and inequitable access to water.

Speakers and Topics

Climate Change – a Challenge and an Opportunity: How can better irrigation contribute to poverty reduction in Nepal” Simon Howarth (Mott MacDonald)

“Irrigation, Water Efficiency and Environmental Flow” Conor Linstead, Freshwater Specialist (WWF-UK)

“Drip Irrigation in Morocco: a contribution to water conservation and poverty reduction?” Guy Jobbins (Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute)

“Multiple Uses of Irrigation Water: Drinking Water Quality vs Water Availability” Dr. Jeroen Ensink (Senior Lecturer, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)

Making Agricultural Advice Work for Smallholder Farmers: matching expectations on large irrigation dams in West Africa” Dr. Barbara Adolph (Principal Researcher, International Institute for Environment and Development)

“Don’t Overlook the Groundwater – the importance of recognising how farmers irrigation, environmental and social impacts of over abstraction of groundwater in the Lower Bari Daob Scheme in Pakistan” Dr. Ian Tod (CEng MICE Independent Consultant)

Panj-Amu Project in Afghanistan: Impact of Water User Associations on social conditions, conflict reduction and poverty alleviation” Simon Foxwell (Asia/Pacific Division Director, Landell Mills)

Dams for Irrigation: Technical and Social Consideration for Sustainability

A joint talk with the British Dam Society.

Date: 20th February 2015

Although often essential for water management, dams can be controversial and have had much adverse publicity in recent decades. The focus of this joint meeting is on dams for irrigation, for which there is an increasing need for storage of water in order to meet the seasonal requirements for crop production. Groundwater – the subject of our last meeting – has a valuable role in this regard, but there is often a need for surface storage as well. Climate change, with a resulting increase in the variability in river flows, combined with population growth and changes in livelihoods will make the need even greater. There is a need to build better dams, and manage them better to avoid the problems encountered in the past, to help achieve food security, and to do so in a way that is socially and environmentally sound.

This was a joint meeting with the British Dams Society, which is also an associated society of ICE and aims to advance the knowledge of technical subjects relating to planning, design, construction, maintenance, operation, safety, environmental and social issues.

The IWF is strongly interested in the sustainable development of irrigation and water management for agriculture and was well-placed to hold a short meeting and debate on optimising the design and are management of dams. The subject was recently debated at the Environmental Change Institute in Oxford in November 2014 in a meeting entitled “Africa, Dams and Development”. This meeting at IWF focused specifically on design and management of dams for irrigation, highlighting good practice and solutions rather than simply identifying problems.