Skip to main content

Introduction

Sustainability of integrated agriculture is typically threatened by water scarcity and soil degradation. Climate change, emerging world wide food crisis and bio-fuel production will probably add to the viciousness of these threats. As recognized by the participants of the ICID 20th Congress at Lahore, Pakistan, IWRM paradigm provides hope that may be the only, to achieve sustainability for irrigated agriculture. However, IWRM is a concept that does not, at least easily, render itself for implementation.

Management of water resources system is a complex process that requires extensive data and information. Such requirement is magnified and diversed when integrated paradigm is adopted. In most of the developing countries reliable data information, or estimates on the different components of water resources system, not to mention related socio-economic and ecological systems, are not available. Also, research results dissemination and field uptake seem to be very weak. Support and capacity building are need in these areas is indispensable step towards IWRM implementation in the developing and least developed countries.

Under the serious threats to irrigated agriculture and magnifying factors, utilization agriculture of marginal water and soils has become a fact. Therefore, planning, design, and operation of land reclamation projects and irrigation systems, have to take into account this new fact. Simultaneous planning and design of irrigation and land drainage systems, is one of the most important factors to achieve the widely accepted approach of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

If limited water supply or the vulnerable cultivated soils are term of irrigated agriculture equation, drainage role in IWRM becomes more significant. However, introduction of the drainage typically takes place after encountering salinity or water logging problem. Capacity of the drainage sinks in terms of quantity and quality could be the main determinate of the reclaimed land area, cropping pattern, water management scheme, and agricultural practice. Simultaneous design and planning could help very much phasing the drainage infrastructures according to the different phases of land reclamation and progress in the cultivated area.

It is obvious; from the thesis made by the papers that reuse of drainage and marginal water is inevitable. However, the focus of most of the papers was on salt as a sole or main soil and water pollutant, which is not a valid concept anymore. Results on the short term impacts are not enough and long term has to be studied and investigated thoroughly. Therefore, costly environmental monitoring programs need to be launched.

By default single purpose reservoirs or hydraulic structures does not suit the IWRM concept. Moreover, conjunctive use and operation of the water resources system elements is primary step for integration. More surface capacity and optimized reservoir management are crucial for IWRM successful implementation.

Experience in bio drainage and bio technologies for waste land reclamation is yet recent and pilot experimental results are still inconclusive. However, such innovative technology, which employs nature for nature, needs to be more investigated and invested in.

0
Your rating: None

Please note that this is the opinion of the author and is Not Certified by ICAR or any of its authorised agents.