1. Water management.
Outlook on Agriculture, 19, 4, 1990, pp. 229-235
In this paper, water management issues in the rural sector are considered under five main headings: making the best use of rainfall or water conservation, irrigation water management, drainage and land reclamation, environmental water management, and rural water supplies.
Each of these topics is considered in turn, using examples from research and consultancy projects to illustrate some of the issues of current international concern.
Traditional engineering disciplines recognize that water must be managed in sustainable and environmentally friendly ways. This requires bridge building between specialist subject areas including ecology as well as agronomy, soil science as well as soil mechanics, hydrology as well as hydraulics, and sociology as well as economics. These values have implications in terms of research priorities and educational needs, as well as for the policies of governments and international agencies.
The unreality of imposing engineering solutions on water management problems without taking into account the social consequences of such action, the ease of operation and maintenance and the expected environmental impact are recognized. A favourable cost-benefit analysis on its own is no longer enough to convince a funding agency, the client or the general public that the solution proposed is the correct one.
Sustainability has become the new watchword.
For the vast majority of the world's farmers, irrigation is not an option: they depend on rainfall for successful crop and animal production, and for survival. In areas of the world where rainfall is marginal or unreliable, the priority is to optimize the use of the rain through the use of appropriate, usually low cost, crop husbandry techniques.
Concluding, each of the topics discussed is of international concern: water does not recognize national boundaries, and neither does the pollution with which it may be associated. The relative importance of different issues varies from place to place and from country to country.
What can be afforded also varies, but appropriate solutions can be found, providing the complexity of the systems is recognized, as well as the self-interest of human beings.
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Review, article, developing countries, irrigated agriculture, crop diversification, water management constraints, crop water requirements, irrigation systems, soils, irrigation canals, cultivation methods, water delivery, World Bank
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