Technical Meetings – 2016


Water Crises: Challenges and Opportunities

A joint talk with King’s Water

Date: 11th November 2016

Amid growing concerns about the increasing frequency and severity of droughts, water scarcity remains high on international agenda. Water scarcity, together with climate, environment, and population stresses, compounds political instability and water conflict, and this requires emergency action both nationally and internationally. It is widely acknowledged that there are different types of scarcity (e.g. physical, economic) and the consequences of scarcity are context-dependent.

This seminar examined the relationship between water crises, particularly related to surface water, and conflict. It also looked at water crises through the lens of opportunity – exploring the interplay between conflict and cooperation in solving water crises, and exploring how water crises can act as a catalyst to improve water governance.

This one-day workshop included presentations from IWF members, Kings Water, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and the Department for International Development (DFID) among others. The full programme included papers on characterisation and management of drought, challenging the war and water scarcity discourse; role of regional drought and climate change in contributing to conflict, and the use of water management as a tool for conflict resolution, amongst others.

Speakers and Topics

Keynote Speaker – Mohamed Bazza (FAO) “A global review of how we currently characterise and deal with drought

Mohamed is a Senior Water Resources Officer in the Land and Water Division of the United Nation’s FAO. He leads FAO’s work on drought management. Previously, he led the water resources and irrigation program in the Near East and North Africa regions and was chief technical advisor on land and water conservation in Yemen. Prior to FAO, Mohamed was a university professor of Agricultural Engineering at the Hassan II Agronomic and Veterinary Medicine Institute in Rabat, Morocco, and consultant with several organizations.

Transboundary Water Conflict and Cooperation and the role of Power Dynamics” – a panel session led by Naho Miromachi (King’s College London)

Life-saving or state-building? Navigating the paradoxes of humanitarian and peacebuilding objectives in the conflicted water context of Darfur” Brendan Bromwich (King’s College London)

Drought Crises and the Evolution of Drought Risk Management: to what extent has practice built on lessons from past crises?” Paul Sayers (WWF)

Water, Opium and Conflict in Helmand, Afghanistan” David Mansfield (ALCIS)

The Role of the Private Sector in Irrigation Management: Experiences and Opportunities

Date: 26th February 2016irrig priv sect

See the recording here

Good management of large scale irrigation remains a challenging prospect, despite numerous initiatives in recent decades. Although a large proportion of global food production is dependent on such irrigation systems, they are still widely perceived to be poorly managed, wasteful of water and money, and to cause adverse social and environmental impacts. Since the 1990s Water Users’ Associations have been almost universally promoted to address these problems, but these cannot yet address the underlying problems, particularly on very large scale irrigation in South and East Asia. More recently, a more commercial approach has been promoted by the World Bank and Asian Development, with much larger components of irrigation development and management being contracted to the private sector. The Guerdane scheme in Morocco is often cited as a success story, but decades on it has rarely been replicated.

This meeting explored some of these issues, including the challenges of managing irrigation for subsistence purposes in very poor countries, the opportunities for introduced advanced methods from more developed economies, and the role that agribusinesses and socially aware consumers can have.

IWF members have been involved in many of these developments and have a strong interest in improving the performance of irrigation systems globally. This meeting provided an opportunity to share experiences, successes and failures.

Speakers and Topics

“The Challenges of Private Sector Involvement in Management of Large-Scale Surface Irrigation in Bangladesh” Alan Clark (North West Hydraulics)

Agribusiness, Water Stewardship, and Irrigation Management” Suvi Sujamo and Nick Hepworh (Water Witness)

“Sustainable Agricultural Water Management from a Supermarket Perspective” Simon Reid (Marks and Spencer)

“Innovations in Irrigation Financing and Management in Africa” Wietse van Tilburg (AgDevCo)

“French Experience with Private Sector Management of Irrigation” Florence Malherbe (Societe de Canal de Provence/AFEID)