Sitemap | Contact | Teams workspace
Logo of the comprehensive assessment for agriculture   Header visual
Building and sharing the knowledge base on Water, Food and Environment
Placeholder for layout
Placeholder for layout
Main navigation:
Home | About the CA | Synthesis | Research Projects | Participants | Publications | Newsroom
Placeholder for layout
Placeholder for layout
Placeholder for layout
You are here :
Placeholder for layout
Placeholder for layout
Further navigation :
Workshops / Conferences
Tools and resources
Placeholder for layout Placeholder for layout

Working Papers

Placeholder for layout

Working Paper 57 - Yellow River Comprehensive Assessment; Basin Features and Issues Collaborative Research between IWMI and YRCC by Zhongping Zhu, Mark Giordano, Ximing Cai, David Molden, Hong Shangchi, Zhang Huiyan, Lian Yu, Li Huian, Zhang Xuecheng, Zhang Xinghai, Xue Yunpeng 

A new report assessing the state of China's Yellow River could offer hope in providing much needed answers to the critical water management problems facing the countries 2nd longest river. The assessment carried out by researchers from the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and the Yellow River Conservancy Commission (YRCC). The report was carried out as part of the Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture, an international research program. The findings are stark. They highlight the four major challenges currently facing the river as being increased water scarcity, degraded environment, massive soil conservation needs and constant flood threats.

Irrigation and other Factors Contribution to the Agricultural Growth and Development in India: A Cross-State Panel Data Analysis for 1970 to 94 by Madhusudan Bhattarai and A. Narayanamoorthy (word 147kb)

Major points:

The major objective of this study is to better analyze the contribution of irrigation and other factors to multifactor agricultural productivity and production growth in India. This is done by using the improved analytical methods and actually realized indicators. The findings from this study contribute for methodological development, and for designing an effective and efficient investment and financing policies in irrigation and other sectors of agriculture and rural development in general.

Irrigation Impact on Agricultural Growth and Poverty Alleviation: Macro Level Impact Analyses in India by Madhusudan Bhattarai and A. Narayanamoorthy (word 95kb)

Major points:

Despite recent controversies in the incremental impact analysis of irrigation and other factor-inputs and their individual contribution to the agricultural growth and rural development process, this study has successfully separated out the incremental marginal impact of these factor-inputs in the variation of agricultural development and poverty measures across the states in India from 1970 to 1994. The empirical results suggest that improvement in irrigation and rural literacy rate are the two most important critical factors for the recent development of agricultural sector as well for the reduction of rural poverty level in India.

Biodiversity associated with the rice field agro-ecosystem in Asian countries: a brief review by Channa N.B. Bambaradeniya and Felix P. Amerasinghe(word 3,286kb)

This review is intended to bring together the published information available on the biodiversity associated with the rice field agro-ecosystem, in countries extending across Asia from Sri Lanka to Japan. The intention is to provide a synthesis that would enable us to better appreciate the environmental services and opportunities for biodiversity conservation associated with rice fields, as additional values and outputs of these major food-producing agro-ecosystems. Since this review is based mainly on published information in the English language public domain, a limitation of the exercise is a bias towards those countries where such published and/or accessible information exists. In order to reduce such a bias, attempts were made to review unpublished "grey" literature as well, although this was by no means comprehensive.

Working Paper 55 - Innovative approaches to agricultural water use for improving food security in Sub-Sahara Africa by A. Inocencio, H. Sally and D.J. Merrey

The 1996 World Food Summit sets a goal of halving the number of food insecure people from 800 million in 1995 to 400 million in 2015. But according to projections by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), it is unlikely that this goal would be achieved before 2030, i.e., fifteen years after the target date, at best. South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are the regions worst affected by food insecurity and malnutrition, being home to 60% of the world's food-insecure people and 75% of its malnourished children.

Working Paper 43 - Accounting of Agricultural and Nonagricultural Impacts of Irrigation and Drainage Systems: A Study of Multifunctionality in Rice - by Y, Matsuno, H.S. Ko, C.H. Tan, R. Barker and G. Levine 

The concepts of multifunctionality and green GDP were designed to improve our understanding of the magnitude of both the positive and negative impacts of economic activities, particularly on the environment and natural resources and to quantify the trends.

Comprehensive Assessment of Socio-Economic Impacts of Agricultural Water Uses: Concepts, Approaches and Analytical Tools-Intizar Hussain and Madhusudan Bhattarai(Word 278kb)

Despite the significant contribution of irrigated agriculture to increasing food production and to overall socio-economic development, irrigation has come under increasing critism over the past decade for concerns such as socio-economic inequity, social disruptions and environmental changes that are attributed to irrigation development and reservoir construction. Inadequate information on estimates of the full range of costs and benefits and the overall impacts of irrigation has been a major constraint in resolving this controversy. This paper provides a conceptual framework and issues involved in ex post comprehensive assessment of the full range of costs and benefits of agriculture water resources development and management.

Conventional CBA (Cost Benefit Analysis), which is the method used by economists to determine the viability of a project, compares the present value of all current and future costs and benefits of a policy action and the mount by which benefits exceeds costs. Inherent weakness of it is that estimates and comparisons of costs and benefits is limited to directly affected sectors and it neglects distributional impacts of a project, or equity and other related social issues and impacts that cannot be quantified in monetary terms.

This paper describes some of the methods which could be used in carrying out comprehensive socio-economic assessments in water development projects such as how to include environmental concerns, assessment based on "Integrated Water Resources Management" concept, scale issues in Impact Assessment, identification of impacts of irrigation water, quantification and valuation approaches for impacts, estimation of irrigation costs, and other impact related issues.

To price or not to price? Thailand and the stigma of “free water”
by François Molle
(PDF 115kb)

In a context of closing river basins, where most water resources are allocated and depleted, there are strong incentives to place emphasis on water-demand management and to reform the water sector. Theoretically, water pricing has the potential not only to influence users' behaviors towards water saving, but also to contribute to reallocation of water towards more profitable crops or other uses. Pricing water is also a way to recover part of the costs incurred by irrigation infrastructure and its operation. The paper analyzes this rationale in the context of Thailand where the water used in
agriculture is free. It investigates the reasons for, and the consequences of, this particular policy, and examines whether the current proposals to establish water fees can be expected to produce benefits that would offset the costs of the reform. It shows that water pricing can hardly be justified in the absence of a wider framework of institutional reform. The prospects for success of such a reform are
briefly debated..

The Intricacies of Water Pricing in the Red River Delta, Vietnam
by Jean-Philippe Fontenelle and François Molle
(PDF 123kb)

Many State-run large-scale irrigation schemes worldwide have long been financially supported by public funds. Because of financial squeeze and of the general trend to hand over the management of irrigation schemes to farmers, emphasis is often placed on cost-recovery and on the financial autonomy of these schemes. Water fees, in most countries, generally cover only a part of O&M costs and amount to a small
percentage of the agricultural gross product, typically less than 10%. In some other countries, water supply is free and is considered as State subsidy. However, in situations where irrigation and drainage operations demand the use of pumping devices, operational costs are generally significantly higher, as they include the costs of energy, and water fees tend to be higher than the average. This is the case of the
Red river delta (RRD), where thousands of pumps of all capacities are used in operations of water

Perspectives on Asian Irrigation
by Randolph Barker and François Molle
(PDF 487kb)

TIn what some may regard as an overly ambitious exercise, we have chosen in this paper to present some salient aspects of the evolution of Asian irrigation. The focus is on South and Southeast Asia. It is argued that geo-politics has provided the main driving force for the development of public irrigation systems in Asia. Three geo-political eras are identified – the Colonial Era (1850 to 1940), the Cold War Era (1950 to 1989), and the new Era of Globalization (1990 onward).
The objectives of irrigation development set forth by colonial regimes, national governments, and development agencies in each of these time periods have been rather similar. The focus has been on the often conflicting goals of poverty alleviation and food security on the one hand and profitability and revenue collection on the other.

The Closure of the Chao Phraya River Basin in Thailand:Its Causes, Consequences and Policy Implications by Francois Molle by (PDF 295kb)

Despite being a tropical country with a monsoonal season, Thailand has now joined a host of countries currently facing water shortages. With the exception of the southern region and some forest areas along the border, hydrologic data show that the annual average rainfall in Thailand varies between 1,100 mm and 1,600 mm. During the 6 driest months of the year, from December to May, the country relies chiefly on the water available in 28 main storage dams. However, only 15 percent of the 200 billion m3 (Bm3) annual runoff remains trapped in the dams (ESCAP, 1991).

Working Paper 36 - Global Irrigated Area Mapping
by Peter Droogers (PDF 2,700kb)

Sufficient, sustainable food production to feed growing populations is clearly related to water availability for agriculture. Seckler et al. (1999) estimated that by 2025 cereal production will have to increase by 38% to meet world food demands. Cosgrove and Rijsberman (2000) came up with a similar estimate of 40 percent. On the other hand, Koyama (1998) concluded from projections using an econometric model, that the rate of increase of grain production will be about 2% per year for the 2000-2020 period. One of the most important issues in world food policy debates is whether additional demand will require large investments in additional irrigation systems or whether increased area and yields from rain fed agriculture can satisfy at least a substantial part of the demand. This issue has become increasingly important as water in developing countries is becoming increasingly scarce, water development increasingly expensive and, in some cases, environmentally destructive.

Working Paper 32 - Water for Rural Development Water for Rural Development, Background Paper on Water for Rural Development prepared for the World Bank - David Molden, Upali Amarasinghe and Intizar Hussain (PDF 2,910kb)

Part 1

With increasing water scarcity, it is essential to view water allocation and distribution in rural areas from the basin perspective which means that we have to look not only at water supply and demand for all users but also at institutional issues involved in the provision of services.

Through water- scarcity studies, globally there are water-scarce, high potential and high need areas. To address issues prevalent in these areas, and to focus on rural development, IWMI has organized its research activities under five main themes, namely Integrated Water Management for Agriculture, Smallholder Water and land Management System, Groundwater, Environmental and Health and Water Resource Institutions and Policies.
The paper also highlights the issues that need serious consideration when developing a strategy on rural development.

Part 11

Water for Rural Development

Only less than 1 % of the world's freshwater resources is available for beneficial human uses. While the total available water resources at the global level are sufficient to fulfill human needs, their distribution across countries and regions are very uneven. Agriculture is the dominant user of water, accounting for 74% of the total water supplies in 1995.

As a result of the agriculture and rural development efforts, the world has been able to produce more food than its consumption requirements with productivity growth been a major driving force for increased food production with expansion in irrigation, adoption of high-yielding varieties, use of chemical fertilizers and better agronomic practices being the major contributing factors.

Unlike in other regions, productivity growth in Africa has been very low. In future, cereal areas in developed countries will decline whilst in developing countries especially in Africa it is expected to increase. Further, in future, Cereal production deficits are to be experienced by Africa, MENA and South Asian Regions.

In water-scare, production deficit regions, land degradation is also a major issue. An IBSRAM study on land degradation indicates that this problem has been moderate in Africa and LAC, strong in EAP and severe in MENA and SA. With increase in demand for domestic and industrial purposes, most of the growth in water supply will occur in the developing countries. Environmental water allocation will be given a prominent status in the future. MENA region, which is already physically water scarce, and South Asia are projected to experience water scarcity. While EAP and Africa will have sufficient water resources, China and Southern Africa are projected to pass the threshold of physical water scarcity. Sustainable agricultural development and crop productivity enhancement will remain important for rural poverty alleviation and overall rural development in the developing regions.

Working Paper 3 - Comprehensive Global Assessment of Costs, Benefits and Future Directions of Irrigated Agriculture (PDF 1,040kb)
A proposed Methodology to Carry out a Definitive and Authoritative Analysis of Performance, Impacts and Costs of Irrigated Agriculture
by K. Strzepek, D. Molden, H. Galbraith

During the last 50 years there has been an unprecedented expansion in the area of irrigated land. Besides financial costs, increased stress on water resources and environmental degradation are the other costs which have been incurred to achieve these results. Many people feel that the costs of irrigation in terms of diminished environmental services, displaced people, and poor returns due to poor agricultural performance have far outweighed benefits. Therefore, there is a need to undertake a Comprehensive Global Assessment of Costs, Benefits and Future Directions of Irrigated Agriculture with specific objectives such as strengthening the knowledge base on water for food and environmental security, develop conceptual, research and assessment tools to address water-food security and environmental trade-offs in an integrated framework and provide feedback into global dialogue that will strive to gain consensus among key stakeholders from the irrigation, environmental and rural development communities on the role irrigated agriculture plays and should play in the future.

Strategic Environmental assessment (SEA) or Programmatic EIA consisting of retrospection, auditing, analysis, mitigation, dialogue, monitoring and adaptive management components is concerned with assessment of not just of a single project, but of the cumulative effects of several projects and could be made to assist the comprehensive global assessment.

For SEA to achieve its desired results it must develop constructive and productive dialogue between different communities involved with the project. The SEA must have consensus between its two key elements of it which are measuring impacts and modeling future impacts.