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An irrigation modernization training programme

Charles M. Burt

Director, Irrigation Training and Research Centre (ITRC) , CalPoly

Thierry Facon

Water Management Officer, FAO, Bangkok


The preface of the 1998 India Water Resources Management Irrigation Sector Report (World Bank, 1998) by Arun Kumar, Secretary-in-charge at the Ministry of Water Resources of the Government of India, states that "what is needed is a total revolution in irrigation agriculture ... with much more focus on the improvement of the performance of existing irrigation facilities and provision of a client-focused irrigation service".

There are two important parts to this statement. First, the statement is optimistic because it assumes that performances can be dramatically improved. Once one arrives at this level of understanding (that the present performance is low, and that it is indeed possible to make positive changes), the modernization battle is half won. Second, the statement places irrigation into the realm of service-oriented utilities - a remarkable departure from traditional irrigation project design and operation criteria which are incapable of supporting modern field irrigation.

The same preface also calls for a "paradigm shift in emphasis ... toward improving the performance of existing irrigation agriculture" and stresses that "A Second Revolution in Irrigation Agriculture is required now."

To go beyond exhortations, and to actually implement the needed changes in the field, people need to know specifically what to do and how to do it. The devil is in the details of modernization programmes - only with appropriate modernization actions will satisfactory and rapid progress be made.

Previous authors have identified improved training as an essential yet missing ingredient that is required for this "second revolution" to be successful. The World Bank Technical Paper No 246, Modern Water Control in Irrigation (Plusquellec et al, 1994), states that

"The fundamental cause for the slow rate of technology transfer ... is a lack of knowledge of available technologies and a misunderstanding of the nature in irrigation, in particular ... a lack of sufficient training at all levels, from the university to the field."

In the 1996 Bangkok expert consultation on modernization of irrigation schemes, Wolter and Burt (1997) identified the type of water delivery service that will be needed to meet future demands. They state that "Modernization is understood as a process of change from supply-oriented to service-oriented irrigation", and that pragmatic training is seriously lacking at present. In the same consultation, Burt (1997) stated that in addition to having the correct vision for modernization, education is needed. The FAO point of view on modernization was articulated at the ITIS 4 conference, held in Marrakech, Morocco (Facon, 1997). In its proposed Action Plan, training is listed as one of three key elements for modernization.

At the ITIS 5 conference, Burt and Styles (1998) presented the results of an IPTRID/World Bank study of irrigation performance in 16 projects throughout the world. Good modernization programmes are rare, but the projects with partial and appropriate modernization perform better than traditional irrigation projects. Even in those projects with some aspects of modernization, there is a clear lack of practical and focused training. This lack of training is identified by the study as a key bottleneck to the rapid and appropriate modernization of irrigation projects. The IPTRID/World Bank study also notes that many of the important concepts which should be covered in training are universal - that is, they span all projects regardless of climate, culture and nationality.

The IPTRID/World Bank study of irrigation performance documented the large disparities between the water delivery service that is needed and the water delivery service that exists, even in partially modernized irrigation projects. In each of the 16 projects basic hardware and operational changes could be made that would immediately improve project performance in terms of efficiency, cost recovery or yields. Unfortunately, these opportunities were seldom recognized. Appropriate training will empower engineers and designers to recognize the potentials for improvement, and to know what solutions are available.

In short, there is a tremendous need for improving the performance of irrigation systems to meet the food needs of the future and various economic and environmental goals, there is clear evidence that modernization can successfully provide improved performance, and that rapid and appropriate modernization will only occur is there is an explosion in pragmatic training.

This proposal calls for the training of the engineering leadership that will galvanize the armies of the second irrigation revolution. Without excellent leaders who are well versed in modern tactics, well-intentioned revolutions fail, generally with a tremendous waste of personal effort and financial resources as well as environmental degradation. To develop the leadership cadre, FAO is proposing an Irrigation Modernization Training Programme which would consist of two parts: an initial training-of-the-trainers programme, as a premier post-graduate finishing programme for outstanding candidates; and a national upgrading programme. This would be a national or regional training programme for design and operating engineers on the concepts and details of irrigation system modernization. This project would nurture a world-wide cadre of specialists with a common vocabulary and common concepts and solutions. When combined with a technical support network, this cadre would provide the dynamic leadership and technical know-how to make the major irrigation changes that are needed.

The proposal is ambitious, but ambitious and unconventional actions are necessary. This training programme should be considered more important than any single construction or rehabilitation project - and should be funded accordingly.

The following sections provide a general outline of the concept, a draft curriculum outline of the training-of-the-trainers programme, and a skeleton outline of the main topics for the national upgrading programme.

Outline of the proposed irrigation modernization training programme


The objective of the programme will be to empower engineers in interested projects and nations to improve the performance of irrigation projects through modernization. A good modern design requires a thought process that starts with the definition of the desired level of water delivery service at all levels throughout the irrigation system. It then makes full use of advanced concepts in hydraulic engineering, agronomic science, irrigation engineering, economics and social science to identify the simplest components and a workable solution. Modernization is a complete process and is not to be confused with merely installing new physical components in a system such as a canal lining or automatic gates.

This empowerment of engineers will occur through increased awareness and knowledge of specific design and operation details that are not commonly understood. It will be accomplished by developing a high-quality cadre of well-trained and visionary engineers who understand the purposes and means of implementing successful modernization programmes in irrigation projects. To accomplish this, the framework and initial training plan cum curriculum must be developed for a standardized, pragmatic national upgrading programme.


This programme will be unique among training programmes. It will emphasize pragmatic training that focuses on proven concepts of modernization which require common sense and basic engineer skills. It will be an active rather than a passive teaching programme. Participants will visit irrigation projects and conduct critical analyses of those irrigation projects through a unique rapid appraisal process (Burt and Styles, 1998). This will help the students digest the technical facts and principles learned in the classroom and laboratory. The future trainers will be the cream of the crop. Trainers must have demonstrated skills in motivation, innovation and synthesis as well as knowledge of technical details. Certification as a trainer in this programme would be quite prestigious. This programme would develop, expand and sustain badly needed in-country expertise in the new concepts and technologies of modernization.

Programme steps

The programme steps are as follows:

  1. Political and financial (in kind or direct) support will be secured from leading states and countries.
  2. Participating countries will nominate highly qualified and motivated individuals who will receive training in the prestigious training-of-the-trainers programme. For the first programme, these highly qualified individuals must have the following qualifications:
    1. Minimum of BSc in engineering with an emphasis on irrigation or hydraulics. This is non-traditional, as trainers are typically selected from within the ranks of academia and have advanced degrees. However, many of the most innovative and motivated engineers do not fit that typical mould. This programme will benefit from a mix of individuals with different backgrounds.
    2. Interest in teaching or training. Experience is desirable but not necessary.
    3. Evidence of innovation and the ability to synthesize facts into strategies. This programme will show the trainers how to revolutionize the design and operation of irrigation projects through modernization. Therefore, the nominees must be very open to new ideas and be real thinkers and not merely have a high position due to reasons of tenure, politics or age.
    4. Several years of practical experience in the design or operation of canals.
    5. Familiarity with the existing designs and operations of canals in the candidate's region of origin.
    6. For the very first group, good English communication skills will be required. This will include both written and verbal proficiency, as evidenced by a TOEFL score of 450 or greater (a score of 550 is generally required for admission to a university in the United States). For subsequent groups, classes will be available in other languages.
    7. Excellent communication skills in the candidate's native language(s).
    8. A written commitment from the sponsoring organization that the individual will be available for training on a half-time basis for a minimum of four years after the candidate successfully completes the training-of-the-trainers programme.
  3. Concurrently with items 1 and 2, the first regional focal institution(s) will be identified. CalPoly ITRC will work with personnel at the regional focal institution(s) to provide essential teaching aids for the programme. At this time, the final curriculum for the training-of-the-trainers programme will also be completed. Presenters or resource persons from the international community at large will be identified to supplement CalPoly ITRC staff in providing the training.
  4. The first group of potential trainers will be selected. This group will have 25 persons.
  5. The first group of potential trainers will receive training. This will consist of:
    1. A first level of training for three weeks in the regional focal institution.
    2. Examination will be given to the trainees. This examination will test them on understanding of details, as well as ability to synthesize information. The top 12 trainees will be selected for participation in the next phase of the programme.
    3. The top 12 trainees will receive overseas training for 7.5 weeks, to consist of:
      • Advanced training at the Water Delivery Facility of the CalPoly ITRC.
      • Visits to two irrigation projects in the United States that are undergoing modernization. In each project, participants will conduct a rapid appraisal process exercise.
      • Visits to two irrigation projects in less developed countries. These project will have selective aspects of modernization. Again, the participants will conduct a rapid appraisal of each project.
    4. Return to the regional focal institution(s). Participants will jointly visit one irrigation project near their regional training hubs. They will individually conduct rapid appraisal of the project, and individually prepare recommendations for modernization (two weeks altogether). This will test their ability to synthesize ideas as well as their comprehension of the technical details that have been presented. Their submitted appraisals will be graded and evaluated by the instructors. All participants who demonstrate an ability to conduct a good rapid appraisal process (including the ability to synthesize information) will continue to the final step. It is hoped that the earlier (step b) qualification examination will insure that all of the 12 participants will demonstrate a good performance; however, this is a final quality control step to verify that the remaining participants are indeed of the highest calibre.
    5. Participants will individually develop a lesson plan and provide a two-hour training session on one aspect of modernization to the instructors and to the other participants. The instructors and other participants will coach each individual on improved communication techniques.
    6. The individuals will receive certificates from CalPoly ITRC and FAO acknowledging their status as qualified trainers.
  6. The qualified trainers will work with CalPoly ITRC, FAO and the regional hubs to define the training plan, curriculum and teaching aids which they will use in the national upgrading programme. This programme will target design and operation engineers, as well as university faculty. It is anticipated that the national upgrading programme will include the following:
    1. Multiple locations for each group of trainees.
    2. Three sessions for each group of 20 trainees, to be accomplished over a three-month period. The three sessions will consist of:
      • Session A - three weeks' initial training using classroom and simple laboratory equipment.
      • Session B - two weeks, consisting of one week to conduct a rapid appraisal process in the field and one week to review the process and lessons learned.
      • Session C - a one-day final review and question-and-answer session after students have had a chance to study, followed by a four-hour examination.

    Candidates who successfully pass the examination will receive a certificate of training in the concepts of irrigation system modernization.

    Because these 20 trainees will not be required to be fluent in English, teaching aids and study material and examinations must first be translated into the local languages.

  7. The qualified trainers will begin training students in the national upgrading programmes.
  8. They will also provide input to modifications for the second training-of-the-trainers programme, and a second group of potential trainers will begin a new training-of-the-trainers programme.
  9. Both programmes will be evaluated and revised.
  10. The programme will be expanded to other states or countries or regions with support from a wider variety of international organizations. An improved certification programme will be defined. This may involve regional universities, ICID, country training centres, etc. CalPoly ITRC will remain an overall resource. Training materials will be translated into local languages for both the training-of-the-trainers and the national upgrading programmes.
  11. Additional technical training will be given to the qualified trainers. This training will broaden their understanding of various design and operation issues. Although they will not teach this detailed content in their courses, the additional skills will enable them to teach and synthesize ideas even better.

    Time frame

    The proposed time frame is as follows:

    Start date

    End date




    1. Support secured from leader states, countries and international donor agencies



    2. Nomination of trainer candidates



    3. Regional training hubs identified; curriculum finalized for the training of the trainers (T-T)



  1. Trainer candidates selected

  2. 10/99


    5. First T-T programme



  3. Define national upgrading programme; modify the T-T programme

  4. 6/00


    7. & 8. Begin the national upgrading programme; second T-T programme



    9. Programme revision



    10. Expand programme to other countries and regions



    11. Additional training for qualified trainers

    Anticipated numbers of trainees

    This programme will have a major impact because it is designed to be expanded, and because the quality of instruction will be kept very high. The table below indicates the possible progress of training. It assumes that each national upgrading programme class will be taught by two trainers, with four national upgrading programme classes per year for each group of two trainers. Each class will have 20 students. The table below assumes that ten qualified trainers will graduate from each T-T programme. It also assumes an attrition rate of 50 percent of the qualified trainers after two years of teaching by any single individual.


    Number of trainers completing the training

    Number of national upgrading

    programme classes

    Number of students trained in year (including trainers & trainer prospects)

    Total number of students trained to date















    1 325





    2 375





    3 625

    Focal institutions and organizations

    This programme is meant to begin a revolution in the training procedures related to the modernization of irrigation projects. As such, it will eventually involve almost every organization related to irrigation world-wide. In the initial steps, possible focal institutions and organizations are listed in the table below.



    Lead international support agency


    Focal technical reference institution

    CalPoly ITRC

    Possible regional focal institutions

    Aurangabad WALMI, India; Kasetsart Univ., Thailand; Marrakech, Morocco; IMTA, Mexico

    National counterparts for certification


    Oversight committee


    Basic content of the training programmes

    Draft curriculum outlines are provided on later pages for both the training-of-the-trainers programme and the national upgrading programme. Both have the same topics, but the former will cover the subjects in more depth and time, and also include out-of-country visits. Neither course will use differential equations, partial differential equations, or calculus - teaching of the important concepts does not require this level of mathematics.

    The training programmes will be designed to cover material which is not traditionally taught, or will teach some material in a new way. The World Bank/IPTRID study by Burt and Styles (1998) clearly determines that pragmatic concepts of modernization are not well understood in irrigation projects. Examples of basic topics to be covered are:

    The initial training programmes will emphasize fundamental concepts which are the foundation of modernization programmes. There are many other topics which are also important and which must be covered in future classes after the foundation is built. Example topics are:

    These advanced topics generally require about one to three weeks each to be taught - as well as excellent computer facilities. The initial training programmes will be able to briefly cover these topics, but not in sufficient detail that the trainees will have any skills in them. The immediate need is the development of the more fundamental foundations for modernization programmes.

    Conventional modernization programmes often focus on standard civil engineering efforts such as canal lining and replacement of deteriorated structures - these are not what is meant when one discusses the type of modernization programmes necessary for the second revolution. Such traditional topics can be and have been taught for many years in almost all countries. Modernization training will discuss whether or not the deteriorated structures are of the correct hydraulic design to provide the desired level of service, and whether or not a new type of structure should replace the old deteriorated structures. With regard to canal lining, a modernization programme would examine what capacities are required to provide the desired level of service and reliability, the new turnout density requirements, the new water surface levels in the canal which are required to minimize turnout flow fluctuations, etc. Therefore, examples of topics which will not be covered include concrete mixes, traditional concrete lining design and construction techniques, surveying or corrosion protection.


    Burt, C.M. 1997. Modern water control and management practices in irrigation: methodology and criteria for evaluating the impact on performance. in Modernization of irrigation schemes: past experiences and future options. RAP Publication 1997/22. Water Report 12. FAO. pp 89-102

    Burt, C.M. & S.W. Styles. 1998. Modern water control and management practices in irrigation: impact on performance. Proceedings of ITIS5 (Fifth International Network Meeting). 28-30 October. Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India

    Facon, T.G. 1997. Perspectives in canal operation modernization: the FAO point of view. Proceedings of ITIS 4, Fourth International ITIS Network Meeting. Information Techniques for Irrigation Systems, 25-27 Apr, Marrakech, Morocco. pp 177-192

    Plusquellec, H., C. Burt & H.W. Wolter. 1994. Modern water control in irrigation - concepts, issues and applications. World Bank Technical Paper No. 246. Irrigation and Drainage Series. 98 pp

    Wolter, H.W. & C. Burt. 1997. Concepts of modernization. in Modernization of irrigation schemes: past experiences and future options. RAP Publication 1997/22. Water Report 12. FAO. pp 65-88

    World Bank. 1998. India - Water resources management sector review. Report on the Irrigation Sector. Rural Development Unit, South Asia Region with Ministry of Water Resources, GoI. 139 pp

    Appendix: Training of the trainers - a draft curriculum outline

    Facilities and equipment required at the regional focal institutions

    To start the programme, the facility and equipment requirements will be minimal. These will include:

    Topics to be taught at the regional focal institutions (3 weeks)

    The following topics will be taught at the Regional Focal Institutions. These are essentially the same topics that will be taught in the National Upgrading Programme. The difference will be that the Trainers will also spend 7.5 additional weeks (including travel) visiting overseas projects, will receive training at the CalPoly ITRC Water Delivery Facility, and go through a more rigorous testing process. The first 3 weeks of class will include the following:

    The Nature and Importance of Good Water Delivery Service

    1. The nature of modernization
      1. What it is
      2. How it differs from traditional irrigation improvement projects
      3. Why it is desperately needed
    2. Documented status of existing irrigation projects world-wide - actual versus attainable
      1. Efficiency
      2. Yields
      3. Chaos and anarchy
      4. Environmental impact
    3. Concept of water delivery service
      1. Understanding an irrigation system as a series of layers.
        1. The layers include (i) main canal, (ii) secondary canals, (iii) tertiary canals, etc. down to field level.
        2. Each layer receives water from the upstream layer with some degree of service and provides water to the next downstream layer with some degree of service
      2. What level of service is required on-farm
        1. Basic concepts of ET, soil water holding capacities, root zone development
        2. Fundamental differences between rice and upland crops
        3. Rice irrigation - special requirements at the start of the irrigation season
        4. Planting schedules and realities
        5. Components of on-farm (field) irrigation efficiency and how they are impacted by the water delivery service
        6. Water delivery service and its relationship to anarchy or the lack of it
        7. What is required if farmers are expected to pay for water
      3. What feedback is inherently required to provide good service at the different levels
    4. Components of water delivery service
      1. Reliability. This is the first essential ingredient, but by itself it is insufficient to revolutionize irrigation
      2. Volume during a crop season
      3. Equity
      4. Flexibility
      5. Consistency and accuracy
    5. Delivery schedules for all levels within a system.
      1. Random availability
      2. Pre-arranged rotation schedules of various types
      3. Modified rotation schedules
      4. Arranged deliveries
      5. Demand deliveries
    6. The level of service provided by existing projects
      1. Results from World Bank/IPTRID study
      2. Internal Process Indicators
        1. Concept
        2. Specific indicators
        3. How to quantify the indicators for a specific project.
    7. Setting priorities for improvement of service.
      1. How one layer affects the performance of the next layer (review)
      2. Cases in which a downstream layer may have better internal process indicators than upstream layers
      3. Selecting what to do first (a preview)

    Hydraulic Principles

    There are a number of hydraulic principles which need to be clearly understood before one can learn about control. These include:

    1. Regime flow
      1. Where it is needed
      2. How changing channel conditions affect system performance
      3. What is needed to properly divide flows and distribute them
    2. The nature of unsteady flow in modern systems
      1. Typical wave travel times
      2. Normal depths vs. depths in channels with control structures
      3. Wedge storage variations
      4. Predicting travel times of waves
      5. How flow changes arrive at various points throughout a system
      6. What does an internal "flow balance" really mean?
    3. Using weirs and orifices as water level control structures
      1. Weirs
        1. Using weirs as control structures rather than as water measurement structures
        2. Various weir designs and their hydraulics
          1. Flash-boards
          2. Long-crested weirs
        3. How weirs respond to unsteady flow
      2. Undershot (orifice) flow
        1. Using undershot gates as control structures rather than as water measurement structures
        2. Various designs and their hydraulics
        3. How undershot gates respond to unsteady flow
    4. Using weirs and orifices as flow rate control structures
      1. Weir response to unsteady flow
        1. Upstream condition changes
        2. Downstream condition changes
        3. Accuracy of flow measurement
        4. Accuracy of flow control
        5. Accuracy of volumetric measurement
      2. Undershot (orifice) response to unsteady flow
    5. Relationship between canal and turnout designs
      1. Relative importance of upstream water level or flow rate changes
      2. Relative importance of downstream water level changes
      3. Designing the canal/turnout system as a unit rather than just designing a "turnout"
    6. Gated vs. non-gated systems
      1. Documented performance of non-gated systems
      2. Documented performance of gated systems
      3. Why traditional gated systems are so difficult to manage, and how to avoid such problems
    7. The basics of classical control concepts
      1. Upstream control
        1. Design requirements
        2. Management requirements
        3. Risk factors
      2. Downstream control
        1. Types of downstream control
          1. Level top canals
          2. Control points at downstream end
          3. Bival
        2. Design requirements
        3. Risk factor
        4. Management requirements
      3. Combination control
      4. Mixed control
    8. Flow rate measurement
      1. Where it is needed in a modern system, and what is done with the information and how often it is used
        1. Upstream control systems
        2. Downstream control systems
      2. Where it is not needed
      3. Accuracy requirements
      4. Difference between flow rate and volumetric measurement
      5. Difference between measurement and control
    9. Basic strategies of operation and design
      1. Spread the problems throughout the project or isolate them and deal with them
      2. Options with groundwater
      3. Options for systems with re-circulation capabilities vs. those without them

    Basic Concepts of Cross Regulator Control Hardware

    The basic concepts which will be covered include:

    1. Traditional designs for undershot - advantages and disadvantages of each, and small details which have a tremendous effect on their performance
      1. Sluice gates
      2. Radial gates
    2. Traditional designs for overshot - advantages and disadvantages of each, and small details which have a tremendous affect on their performance
      1. Flash-boards
      2. Long crested weirs
      3. Hinged gates
    3. Operation
      1. Mechanical advantages, no motor
      2. Motorized but manual
      3. Hydraulic gates
      4. Automated
        1. Hydraulic
        2. Electric
    4. Movement
      1. Local manual
      2. Local automatic
      3. Distributed control
      4. Remote manual
      5. Remote automatic
      6. Synchronized control

    Canals with upstream water level control

    Because the vast majority of modernization projects will use upstream control, the modernization class will emphasize this form of control rather than other concepts such as downstream control and constant volume control. Those topics will be introduced, but with considerably less detail.

    The majority of recent technical papers which have been published on canal automation deal with theoretical studies of downstream control and various forms of enhanced supervisory control. However, such schemes are few and far between in the actual world of irrigation applications, and most of the studies are theoretical rather than documentation of actual successful working, large-scale projects.

    Example topics under upstream water level control:

    1. Check structure design
      1. Purpose of the structures
      2. Types of structures
        1. Manual adjustable structures
        2. Completely static structures
        3. Automatic structures
          • Hydraulic
            • * Begemann

              * AMIL

          • Electrical (to be discussed in more detail later)
            • * Types of gates

              • Overflow
              • Underflow

              * Control strategy

              • Littleman concept and limitations
              • Gates in sequence
              • PI control
    2. Locating and sizing check structures
      1. Effect on turnout flow rates; trade-off between turnout automation and main canal improvement
      2. Effect on canal bank stability and rodents
      3. Effect on lag time for deliveries
    3. Bifurcation points - available choices for control
    4. Flow rate control and measurement designs for large turnouts
      1. Rated sections
      2. Flumes
      3. Weirs
      4. Calibrated check structures
    5. Manual operation of upstream control
      1. Information requirements
      2. Sequence of operations by typical operators - top to bottom or bottom to top
      3. Communications and mobility requirements
      4. Consequences of various actions by operators or recipients of service
      5. Where flow rates must be controlled and measured
    6. Differences in performance between automated vs. manual system
      1. Amount of spill
      2. Response time within the system
      3. Equity, reliability, flexibility
      4. Operator requirements
    7. Turnout designs for small flows (0.5-25 CFS), including ease of installation, design requirements, advantages and disadvantages, flow measurement, vs. flow control
      1. Romijn gates
      2. Semi-modules
      3. Various ungated units
      4. Meter gates
        1. Calibrated - various types
        2. With downstream flow measurement
      5. Distributor modules
      6. Review of flow and volumetric measurement options for each device
    8. Regulating reservoirs
      1. Locations
      2. Sizing
      3. Control into and out of reservoirs
      4. Operations
    9. Canal sizing criteria
      1. Traditional canal sizing rules
      2. Demand theory (Clement)
      3. Documented studies with flexible systems
      4. Special considerations in sizing for minimal control requirements and poor maintenance - the Office du Niger example
      5. Access, borrow pits, and other details
    10. Selective use of pipelines at the lower ends of projects
      1. Advantages and disadvantages
      2. Sizing
      3. Control and measurement of flows
      4. Types of pipelines
    11. Required data collection and communications
    12. Options for responsibilities of operators
    13. Classical mistakes in modernization programmes with upstream control, and how to avoid them
    14. Where to begin with the automation of a manually operated system. Example situations and trainee diagnosis
    15. Computer models - where they do and do not fit
    16. Turnout density
    17. Roads and access
    18. Maintenance equipment vs. construction equipment

    Training at CalPoly ITRC Water Delivery Facility (2.5 weeks)

    This facility has working demonstrations of almost all types of upstream and downstream control hardware, as well as a wide assortment of flow measurement equipment. It also has excellent equipment and facilities to teach about pumps and SCADA systems. ITRC also has sufficient computers for training the group on some specialized topics such as water balances.

    The following topics will be covered there:

    Review of Principles and Hardware (1 day)

    1. Wave travel time
    2. Manual operation of an upstream controlled canal
    3. Upstream control hardware - advantages, disadvantages, and design notes for various items

    Downstream Control (0.5 day)

    1. Review of the basic idea of downstream control
    2. Hardware for level top pools
    3. Hardware for other types - all computerized.
    4. Pool sizing
    5. Sensitivity and risk
    6. Selective implementation of downstream control within a project

    Basics of pump recirculation plants (0.5 days)

    1. KW-Hr requirements
    2. Locations
    3. Design

    SCADA - Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (2.5 days)

    1. What it is and why it might be used
    2. Costs
    3. Equipment requirements in the field
    4. Equipment in the office
    5. Communication requirements
    6. Software
    7. Best uses and worst uses
    8. Best locations and worst locations
    9. Vandalism
    10. Power supply
    11. Logistical and technical support needs
    12. Examples of successful programmes
    13. Examples of failures
    14. Recommended steps to take if SCADA is used

    Use of computer models to calibrate PI control algorithms (0.5 day)

    This will be a demonstration with some hands-on experience. However, there will be insufficient time to develop expertise on this topic.

    Flow Measurement and Control in Canals and Off-takes (2.5 days)

    This will emphasize how to design broad-crested weirs, as well as options with meter gates for turnouts

    Irrigation Efficiency and Water Balances (2 days)

    Because many modernization programmes have goals related to improving irrigation efficiency, this topic must be covered. ITRC has conducted water balances and efficiency studies in numerous conditions, and has ample demonstration materials.

    Topics to cover include:

    1. Irrigation Efficiency definition
    2. Differences between field and project efficiencies
    3. Developing a water balance
      1. Components
      2. Quantifying the components
      3. Combining the components
      4. Confidence intervals

    Rapid Appraisal Process (2 days)

    The RAP used developed by CalPoly ITRC will be explained. The use of RAP, including background computations and developing conclusions and recommendations, will be covered.

    Field visits in the USA (2 weeks including travel)

    Two irrigation districts will be visited in the U.S. An RAP will be conducted on each. Both districts will be undergoing some type of modernization, and both will primarily be gravity (canal) systems. Possible choices will be Imperial Irrigation District (200 000 ha, all canals, in an area of no rainfall and no downstream users and no rice), and Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District (about 100 000 ha, in an area with considerable winter rainfall, primarily rice, and mainly unlined canals).

    Each district will be visited for 2-3 days, followed by 2 days of trainee discussion and computations and development of recommendations. The 2 days of discussion will be held in a town near the irrigation districts, so that rapid visits may be made to structures in question, or to talk again with district employees.

    Field visits in other countries (3 weeks inc. travel)

    Two irrigation projects will be visited in less developed countries. Two possible projects are Dantiwada in India and Rio Mayo in Mexico. Both projects are beginning the modernization process and have very different characteristics. Both projects have been examined in the World Bank/IPTRID study. Rio Mayo has active but imperfect water user associations, and has made tremendous progress in the last ten years. Dantiwada has farmers who are generally satisfied, and is attempting new water delivery schedules and the installation of new control structures. Again, trainees will conduct an RAP of each project, and there will be several days of discussion for each.

    RAP of a local project

    Trainees will conduct a RAP at a project near their local/regional training centre. This will be facilitated by the local/regional training centre, but the trainees will conduct this RAP without an instructor in attendance. Following the field work, they will then quantify external and internal process indicators, as well as make recommendations for project improvement. Their performance will be evaluated and graded by the primary instructors. This is the final place in the programme at which participants are evaluated for competence as criteria for completing the remainder of the programme.

    Lesson Plan

    Each trainee will prepare and execute a two-hour lesson plan on some aspect of modernization. This will be presented to the primary instructors, the other participants, and to any local engineers who may wish to attend. The lesson plan will be evaluated and graded by the primary instructors. Positive feedback will be provided to trainees.


    The qualifying trainees will receive certificates from CalPoly ITRC and FAO acknowledging their successful completion of the rigorous programme, and their status as Qualified Trainers.

    Skeleton outline of the National Upgrading Programme (NUP)

    The topics of NUP will be identical to those covered under the Training-of-the-Trainers programme. However, they will not be convered in as much detail. It is anticipated that each session will be taught by a team of two Trainers. Each session will have 20 students, which is sufficiently small for the Trainers to provide individual attention to students.

    Session A topics - (three weeks at a Regional Training Centre)

    Session B (2 weeks)

    The first week will consist of a Rapid Appraisal Process (RAP) conducted at a local irrigation project. All students will travel as a group throughout the irrigation project and fill out the forms, conduct interviews, collect data, etc. The second week will be spent at the Regional Training Centre reviewing RAP, developing external and internal process indicators, and constructing recommendations for how a modernization programme might proceed.

    Session C (2 days)

    Between session B and session C, students will return to their homes where they will have a chance to review the material from sessions A and B. Approximately 1 month later, they will regroup for session C for a one-day review and question-and-answer period. Following this, they will have a 4 hour examination of principles and concepts.


    Those who successfully pass the 4-hour examination and who have attended the complete sessions will be awarded a certificate of completion of Training in Concepts of Irrigation System Modernization.

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