Innovative Drainage Technologies in Agriculture

About 70-80% of global freshwater is currently used by the agricultural sector. In the light of increasing water scarcity, however, the eyes of other potential users will critically focus on this lion’s share. While water table management offers considerable scope for the reduction of water use in agriculture, water management systems are often implemented according to design and technology developed elsewhere. As a result the systems frequently do not live up to expectations, especially affecting the small, subsistence-level farmers. These sessions will address the selection of the best applicable drainage method(s) for integrated water resources management in the prevailing local conditions. Subjects include:

· Soil hydraulic properties
· Developments in drainage machinery and materials
· Water Table Management (WTM) and/or controlled drainage
· More crop per drop
· Operation & Maintenance
· Rehabilitation of drainage systems
· Decision support systems, models for design

Drainage: a Tool for Integrated Water Resources Management in Agriculture

Drainage and irrigation for agriculture are interrelated and should not be treated separately. Water conveyance systems all over the world are used to dispose of and transport effluent from agriculture, industry and domestic water use, and in many systems human health is at risk. In this session, we will address how drainage can contribute to better water resources management in agriculture concentrating on:

· Mitigation of adverse impacts; water quality control
· Physical, chemical and biological processes under shallow water tables
· Management of salinity at the field and basin scales
· Solute transport
· Role, and future of wetlands

Drainage Institutions for Participatory Development

The institutional set-up for sustainable land and water management requires a further integration of drainage expertise with social, organisational, legal and economic sciences. In particular, further elaboration and discussion is needed of the role and involvement of the end user of the system: the farmer. Recent developments to achieve this integration and to sustain institutional developments will be addressed during this session guided by the following subtopics:

· Public/private partnerships
· User participation
· Drainage institutions
· Cost recovery
· Managerial aspects of integrated water management


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