Trainng Materials

Improving the Operation of Canal Irrigation Systems

This training program is an update of the audiovisual presentation published by the Economic Development Institute (now known as the World Bank Institute) and the Agriculture and Rural Development Department of the World Bank in 1988. The program has been widely used internationally to present new alternatives for the design of new schemes or the modernization of existing schemes and has had a significant impact on the irrigation modernization programmes of countries such as Mexico or Turkey. In order to respond to a continuing demand for the program materials, FAO has updated the program and converted it to new formats that take advantage of developments in information technology to make the program easy to procure and use individually or in lectures and to disseminate to the widest possible audience. The World Bank kindly agreed to make the original program available for FAO to further develop, update and disseminate.

This program is aimed at a broad audience of planners, designers, managers, professors, lecturers and students, and it is hoped that it will serve as a basis for the fruitful exchange of ideas and experience across borders, and more generally contribute to the rapid dissemination of new knowledge which is needed for the modernization of the irrigation sector. The program can be consulted on and downloaded free of charge from the website. The program will also be distributed on CDROM and published as a hardcopy publication to satisfy the requirements of and for the convenience of various categories of users. FAO is interested in developing partnerships with national irrigation institutions, training centers, universities or programmes to translate and publish the program into other languages. Interested institutions are invited to contact.

Thierry Facon
Water Management Officer
Food and Agriculture Organization
of the United Nations
Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
Bangkok, Thailand

Irrigation system modernization and benchmarking

This suite of presentations has been developed by the Irrigation Training and Research Centre (ITRC) of Cal Poly,San Luis Obispo, California, for FAO as the core training materials for the training workshops on irrigation modernization and benchmarking supported by FAO in the Asia-Pacific Region. The presentations are made available on this website for broadest dissemination. However, they should be used for lectures by resource persons with a full and detailed understanding of the topics.

Training workshops on irrigation modernization have been organized with the support of FAO in Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and are planned to take place in the Philippines, Thailand and Nepal in 2003.

The objectives of the two-week training workshops are:

  • To understand the principles and processes of Benchmarking and Rapid Appraisal.
  • To understand the principles of irrigation project modernization.
  • To learn how to evaluate an irrigation project, using a systematic diagnostic procedure that includes visits to both the field and office.
  • To analyze the collected data, both manually and using computers, and arrive at Benchmarking and Rapid Appraisal indicators.
  • To interpret the Benchmark and Rapid Appraisal Indicators in terms of level of service, strengths and weaknesses in the service provided and identify best practices.
  • To learn how to make specific recommendations and to establish priorities for modernization that will result in improved project performance. Performance can be measured by both external indicators (such as efficiency of water usage and finances) and internal indicators (such as improved water delivery service to fields).

Typically, the workshops are organized for about twenty participants and include:

  • 4 days of classroom style learning process including discussions and exchange of views
  • 4 days of field trip to understand measurements, data reading, recording and filling field forms (participants broken into working groups)
  • 4 days of data analysis, interpretation of results, and discussion (as working groups)

    Key Topics Covered in the Workshops

- Inter-related factors within irrigation projects
- Integrated Water Resources Management and Irrigation Modernization
- Benchmarking
- External indicators that describe irrigation project performance
- The concept of service
- Internal indicators of irrigation projects
- Rapid Appraisal Procedure (RAP)
- Indicators for the project to be appraised
- Comparison with other international projects
- How to develop a modernization plan
- Typical actions taken for modernization implementation
- Management tools
- Physical tools
- Volumetric pricing/Volumetric deliveries of water (where relevant)
- Flow measurement and flow control
- How engineering impacts service and willingness of farmers to pay fees

Field Work:
- Complete the Rapid Appraisal Process (RAP) and Benchmarking of technical indicators on one or two projects

These training materials as well as the Rapid Appraisal Procedure manual and excel sheets will be made available in Thai, Vietnamese and Indonesian languages in the near future.

Materials presented here are those of the Irrigation system modernization and training workshop organized by NIA, FAO and the World Bank at yhe MARIIS irrigation scheme, Philippines, in January 2003.

For more information, please contact Thierry Facon

Go to the Program on-line :

- English
- Vietnamese
- Russian
- Bahasa Indonesia

;View the technical reports of previous training workshops :

Strategic planning for irrigation and drainage organization

The overall objective of this training program is to enable middle and senior management personnel to participate in the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of strategic planning for irrigation and water resources organizations. The program provides a set of self-contained modular exercises to guide the participants through a series of workshops leading to the development of a strategic plan for their own organization. The program is structured in 5 modules designed to be conducted over a 5-day period. The curriculum and training materials for this training program have been developed for FAO by the International Technologies Centre, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Melbourne, Australia (link to their website).

Strategic planning is a technique widely used in private and public organizations to set their future direction and strategies. It is based on a systematic approach to identify the mission, vision and objectives of the organization and develop the objectives and goals that need to be achieved to fulfill the agency's vision. The process of developing a strategic plan relies heavily on wide consultation with the sector stakeholders to understand and describe the external environment of the organization; as well as a complete understanding of the organization internal environment principally the existing performance of the organization and systems.

The sustainability of irrigation sub-sector institutional reforms and irrigation and drainage systems for enhanced performance and integrated water resources management and the adoption of a service-oriented irrigation and drainage service delivery require the adoption of strategic planning approaches for reform design and planning, improvement of irrigation and drainage systems, and management of resources and assets. This is particularly important for the operation and management of systems transferred to users, privatization of O&M of irrigation and drainage schemes, and for achieving long-term objectives of sub-sector reform, such as improved efficiency and allocation in arid countries and in rice-based irrigation schemes.

There is a lack of experience of institutions and field agencies in the water sector in the Asia-Pacific region in the use of strategic planning techniques, and of practical and specific guidelines for irrigation and drainage organisations. The recent FAO-INPIM international email conference on irrigation management transfer (IMT) has identified the lack of strategic planning as one of the main reasons for difficulties and failure in IMT programmes. Irrigation modernization concepts promoted by FAO also emphasize the need to design and plan modernization programmes at system level with a long-term vision of present and future service requirements of farmers for a productive agriculture and of the need to take into account environmental requirements as well as the new institutional and financial requirements of on-going water sector and irrigation sub-sector reforms.

This training program which focuses on decision and management processes complements the existing suite of irrigation modernization training materials that cover the design, technical and managerial concepts of service-oriented irrigation water delivery and rapid appraisal procedures for assessment of present performance and identification of software and hardware upgrading improvements.

A draft version of the training guide is avaliable on the website for review. We would be grateful for your comments and suggestions.

Agencies and irrigation projects in Asia interested in conducting a training workshop based on the training guide are invited to contactThierry Facon

Go to the Training Guide.

Trainng Education And Courses

FAO-ICID Database on Education and Training Courses in Irrigation, Drainage and Flood Control