Egypt: The role of water users` associations in reforming irrigation

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Egypt’s water resources are severely constrained. This calls for increasing the water use efficiency by improving irrigation management practice, as the agriculture sector is the main user of water resources. Much of the irrigation infrastructure is elderly and in need of rehabilitation. The irrigation improvement program (IIP) is one of the large-scale projects to help Egypt to sustain its ambitious development plan. The program involves a combination of technical changes and infrastructure investment, together with institutional and organisational changes in the way irrigation water is managed. Of key importance, Water Users’ Associations playing a major role in decision-making and the operation and maintenance of the pumps and mesqas by themselves, with minimal assistance from the Irrigation Advisory Service (IAS) staff. The fundamental change introduced by the irrigation improvement is to replace individual farmer pumping at multiple points along the mesqa (irrigation ditches) by collective single point pumping. In addition to the above primary aims, there are many other aspects to the project, including intensive training for water users, the IAS, and all levels of personnel involved to the top of the ministry; special studies and seminars, workshops to help the execution of such a program.

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