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Local farmers building Local community meeting.

Irrigation and drainage

We provide leading consultancy services aimed at improving irrigation, drainage and water resources management. Our teams have been involved in many of the world’s major irrigation developments over the past 80 years, encompassing all forms of irrigation and rural development.

We have been involved in many of the world’s major irrigation developments over the past 80 years.

In the last decade alone, we have been engaged in policy and planning studies, implementation and management of irrigation in 30 countries. Our involvement in irrigation and drainage engineering extends to over 70 countries. Our projects cover both large- and small-scale developments and include development of new irrigation systems and the rehabilitation and modernisation of established systems.

We closely match our well-proven technical skills with a sensitivity to agricultural, social, environmental, institutional and economics issues to develop sustainable irrigation as part of a coherent approach to improving rural livelihoods.

More important than the scale of the projects is their diverse nature. We are at the forefront of developments in participatory irrigation management through work on management of large-scale irrigation and drainage systems in Pakistan, development of economic and regulatory policy in Bangladesh, as well as on a smaller scale in Indonesia and Egypt. We work with water users to ensure that irrigation is developed and managed to suit their livelihood strategies and takes full account of their diverse interests.

Irrigation can have an important role in poverty reduction, but this is only achieved if projects are well-managed and target the interest of vulnerable groups. We have undertaken a series of research studies, funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), to examine ways of improving irrigation management with the specific objective of ensuring that poor water users get reliable access to water – for whatever purpose they require it – and can use this to improve their livelihoods.

We provide a comprehensive range of services, covering all stages in the project cycle from identification through implementation to commissioning and future operation.

Notable irrigation and drainage projects we have undertaken include:

Integrated irrigation improvement and management project, Egypt

Koga dam and irrigation project, Ethiopia

We undertook the design and construction supervision of Koga Dam and associated irrigation infrastructure. This project paved the way for the development of more than 6,000 ha of new farmer managed irrigation schemes thus contributing to sustainable rural livelihoods in affected areas.

Ferghana Valley water resources management project, Uzbekistan

We provided detailed designs aimed at alleviating groundwater flooding in irrigated areas in the Ferghana Valley, Uzbekistan. We developed an innovative strategy that categorised and assessed the mechanisms causing the problem. This enabled proper planning of appropriate interventions to improve the situation.

Yinbei drainage construction project, China

We provided advisory services in the implementation of modern salinity control methods for an irrigated area covering approximately 23,600 ha in Ningxia, China. Through this project, we enabled local farmers to maximise the full agricultural potential in the area, thereby boosting their incomes and reducing the poverty level in the region.

Qinghai rural water resources management project, China

We provided support in participatory irrigation management, project management, and monitoring and evaluation techniques to provincial and country level staff in Qinghai, China. Through this project, we provided water resource bureaus with a means to monitor and improve the performance of community-based organisations which would ensure continuity of developments across the province.

Northern Sumatra Irrigated Agriculture Sector Project (NSIASP), Indonesia

We provided management support and technical assistance to promote sustainable development of groundwater irrigation facilities, encourage agricultural diversification, foster institutional development and empower tubewell users and women’s groups.

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