Water Management


The water resources of the world and especially in the Mediterranean region are currently being intensively used and in many cases misused. Therefore, there is an urgent need for more efficient use of these resources. The objective of the course is to provide a deeper understanding of water use and the sustainability of agriculture. This course provides different strategies to deal with water management issues related to irrigated agriculture, at different scales ranging from scheme level to farm level and rainfed agriculture.


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Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course, students will:  ·         have developed critical thinking skills and their ability to express themselves on the issues related to water management for rainfed and irrigated agriculture. ·          Understand that water management should balance the need for agricultural water and the need for a sustainable environment. ·          be able to propose different strategies to improve water use efficiency in irrigated agriculture at scheme and farm levels. ·          Be able to estimate irrigation demands at the farm level.


The processes involved in water management require an understanding of the role of water in the development and sustainability of agriculture, as well as the identification of appropriate management strategies. This course looks at several aspects of water management issues related to rainfed and irrigated agriculture. It provides a basic understanding of the issues and management tools available to improve water management and move towards water conservation and agricultural sustainability. The course begins with an introduction to basic principles and concepts concerning water management and sustainable agriculture. Topics included in the course are methods for managing and allocating irrigation water at scheme and farm levels, improving water use in rainfed and irrigated agriculture, irrigation demand and scheduling, and the different techniques for the application of the demanded water at farm level.

Content Delivery

The main topics of the course are provided as lectures, focusing on class discussions to develop critical thinking skills concerning water management for the sustainability of agricultural development. Real case studies from different countries are presented as well as practical exercises to stimulate group work. Students will be evaluated on the basis of a final examination (80%) and individual and group exercises, and class participation (20%). 

Coursework And Assignment Details

  DAY 1Basic principles & concepts: ·             Water scarcity;     Sustainable agriculture and climate change; Water management principles, sustainability, supply vs. demand Irrigation efficiency and water productivity.  Introduction to irrigation water management DAY 2 Introduction to water management in irrigated agriculture: ·             Water management at scheme level ·          Drainage systems Irrigation water management at farm level: ·             Soil-Water-Plant relationship Reference evapotranspiration vs Crop evapotranspiration Crop coefficient Introduction and use of CROPWAT Practical exercises DAY 3 & DAY 4 Irrigation water management at farm level: ·     Crop water requirements and irrigation requirements Soil water balance Irrigation scheduling Irrigation techniques: pros and cons DAY 5  Water management in rainfed agriculture: ·             Managing rainfed agriculture: yield gap Soil moisture management for rainfed areas Rainwater harvesting practices  Course summary  Q&A