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Water management, policies and legislation related to water use in agriculture


The following governmental and non-governmental agencies are responsible for water-related issues in Suriname (SWRIS, 2013):

  • The Ministry of Natural Resources is in charge of the development, management and engineering of all natural resources including water. The Water Supply Company (SWM) of the Ministry is responsible for producing and distributing drinking water in the coastal area and the hinterland. It is also responsible for technical training and the design and maintenance of water supply projects.
  • The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries is in charge of irrigation and drainage management.
  • The Ministry of Public Works is in charge of roads and public drainage and sewerage systems. The Hydraulic Research Division (WLA) of the Ministry promotes the optimal utilization, management and protection of water resources. It is the principal agency in the country that collects and publishes hydrologic, hydraulic and water quality data and information and conducts investigation and research. The Meteorological Service Suriname (MDS) of the Ministry maintains a national meteorological databank.
  • Other ministries with responsibilities related to water resources are: the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Labour, Technological Development and Environment, the Ministry of Transport, Communication and Tourism and the Ministry of Regional Development.
  • The National Institute for Environment and Development in Suriname (NIMOS), established in 1998, is responsible to initiate the development of a national, legal and institutional framework for environmental policy and management in the interest of sustainable development in Suriname.
  • The District Water Board Multipurpose Corentyne Project (OW-MCP) is in charge of managing the pumps at Wakay, cleaning the Corentyne canal and re-establishing district water boards in the rice areas.
  • The Anton de Kom University of Suriname is in charge of education and research through the departments of Infrastructure (IS), Environmental Sciences (MW), National Zoological Collection – CMO (NZCS) and the Hydraulic Laboratory (WBL).
  • The Suriname Order of Consulting Engineers (ORIS) provides engineering services in the fields of, among others, water resources studies, irrigation and drainage works, water supply and sewerage, identification of pre-feasibility and feasibility studies, supervision during construction of works, recommendations on maintenance, operation and legislation, and support for education and training.

Water management

In the 1994-1998 Multi-annual Development Plan, the revitalization of agriculture was emphasised through rehabilitation and modernization of the agricultural sector, modernization of agro-industries, improvement in traditional export production and expansion of non-traditional agro-cultural production. In addition to the above, the 1996-2001 Agricultural Policy Document mentions certain policy measures, notably: removal of subsidies, privatization, incentives for export and domestic food production and improvement of physical infrastructure.

The Multi-Purpose Corentyne Project in Nickerie district included the construction of a 66 km irrigation canal to bring water to existing and projected new areas to produce rice and raise cropping intensity from 1.22 to 1.90. Vegetables, perennial fruit crops and pastures are mainly rainfed, although modern irrigation and drainage systems would be needed to make production less dependent on rainfall.

The Suriname Water Resources Information System (SWRIS) Project has improved water resources management in the country. In addition to the online information system, the project has developed a water video, a collection of hydro-meteorological field data, awareness programmes about water resources for primary and secondary schools, training, and academic courses. The goal is to increase awareness of freshwater resources and to promote and foster human resources development in IWRM in Suriname (GWP, 2013).

The potable water supply system in Greater Paramaribo is characterized by inadequate production capacity, unreliable supply, restrictions on housing, old and inadequate production and transmission and distribution infrastructure. The Government of Suriname and the Inter American Development Bank are preparing a new operation Water Supply Infrastructure Rehabilitation (IDB/GOS, 2010).

In 2009 the new Water Supply Master Plan for Suriname was approved (IDB/GOS, 2010).


At present, there is no fee for irrigation, but there are proposals to start charging farmers for using surface water, which will control the use of water and reduce the waste of water.

Policies and legislation

Currently, there is no legislation in Suriname on water or environment, and therefore no formal environmental permits are issued. A national water law has been in draft since 1984.

A set of regulations on groundwater protection areas was drafted in 2007, but there was no further development of this draft regulation.

NIMOS has prepared a guideline based on World Bank guidelines for Environmental Impact Assessments, using similar categories and terminologies as the World Bank.


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       Quote as: FAO. 2016. AQUASTAT website. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Website accessed on [yyyy/mm/dd].
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