Español || Français
      AQUASTAT Home        About AQUASTAT     FAO Water    Statistics at FAO

Featured products

Main Database
Global map of irrigation areas (GMIA)
Irrigation water use
Water and gender
Climate info tool

Geographical entities

Countries, regions, river basins


Water resources
Water uses
Irrigation and drainage
Institutional framework
Other themes

Information type

Summary tables
Maps and spatial data

Info for the media

Did you know...?
Visualizations and infographics
SDG Target 6.4
UNW Briefs

Irrigation and drainage

 Information sheet
 Country profile section
 Regional analysis section
 River basin profile section
 GMIA country section
 Irrigated crop calendar
 Data from Main Database
 Summary maps
 Summary tables
 Topical glossary
 Related topics
 Thematic discussion
 Selected publications

Information sheet

Irrigation areas sheet

Hierarchical diagram of irrigation areas

Country profile section

  Irrigation and drainage

Regional analysis section

  Irrigation and drainage

River basin profile section

  Water-related development

Global map of irrigation areas country section

  Sub-national irrigation

Country irrigated crop calendar

  Irrigated crop calendar

Data from Main Database

For the convenience of users, AQUASTAT provides the following queries to the Main Database, providing the most up-to-date data at the click of a button. Please note that the data presented is a summary of available data. For more detail, or to fine-tune the query, go to the AQUASTAT Main Database query page.

Full control irrigation technologies

Area equipped for irrigation and actually irrigated

Harvested irrigated crops

Summary maps

   Area equipped for full control irrigation
   Part of cultivated area under irrigation
   Latest version of the global map of irrigation areas (GMIA)
   Global map of irrigation areas in Google Earth
   Global map of irrigation areas: interactive map

Summary tables

   Area equipped for irrigation and part irrigated by groundwater
   Continental, regional and sub-regional groupings
   Irrigation areas and irrigated cropping intensity
   Irrigation areas in %: harvested, actually irrigated, equipped
   Irrigated harvested crop areas, in hectares
   Irrigated harvested crop areas, in % of total irrigated crops
   Irrigated harvested crop areas, in % of specific irrigated crops
   Irrigated harvested cereal areas, in hectares
   Irrigated harvested cereal areas, in % of total irrigated cereals

Topical glossary


Related topics

   Global map of irrigation areas
   Irrigation water use
   Geo-referenced database on dams
   Irrigation area treemaps
   Water-related investment envelopes and project portfolios for Africa

         This asset was last updated in 2008 and is therefore extraordinarily outdated, but
          is kept online at users' requests.
   Investment costs in irrigation

         This asset was last updated in 2003 and is therefore extraordinarily outdated, but
          is kept online at users' requests.
   Did you know...? Facts and figures about irrigation areas, irrigated crops,

Thematic discussion

AQUASTAT has adopted the following irrigation typology:

  • Area equipped for irrigation: area equipped for full control irrigation + equipped lowlands area + spate irrigation area
  • Agricultural water managed area: area equipped for irrigation + cultivated non-equipped lowlands area + cultivated non-equipped flood recession area

Full control irrigation technologies are: surface irrigation, sprinkler irrigation and localized irrigation.

Sources of water used for irrigation are: primary and secondary surface water, primary and secondary groundwater (renewable and fossil), mixed primary and secondary surface water and groundwater, directly used wastewater (treated or not-treated), directly used agricultural drainage water, and in a few exceptional case desalinated water. Secondary water refers to water that was previously withdrawn for agricultural, municipal and industrial purposes and then returned to the system.

The above classifications according to typology, technology and source of water are schematically presented in the following diagram or irrigation area sheet:


Irrigation areas sheets filled in for each country are available from the dropdown menu under "Information sheet" at the top of this page. These sheets are automatically generated from the Main Database and thus always contain the latest information available in the database. Definitions of all terms can be found in the glossary.

Data for the variable "Area equipped for irrigation" is collected by and available in both AQUASTAT and FAOSTAT and harmonization between AQUASTAT and FAOSTAT takes place on a regular basis to ensure consistency between the two.

In AQUASTAT, the irrigation area variables related to source of water refer to the "Area equipped for irrigation". The global map of irrigation areas, which includes sub-national data as well as areas by source of water, also refers to the area equipped for irrigation and that part of the area equipped for irrigation that is actually irrigated.

However, the harvested irrigated crops area and irrigated crop calendars refer to the "Area equipped for full control irrigation" (see also the above Irrigation Areas sheet) and, if information is available, to the part of the area equipped for full control that is actually irrigated. The reason is that most of the time spate irrigation areas and equipped lowlands have irrigated crops just once a year, while the aim of "full control" irrigation is to be able to have two (or three even in a few cases) crops on the same area in a year thanks to irrigation and thus increasing the cropping intensity, which is the harvested crop area divided by the physical irrigated area. Adding spate irrigation and equipped lowlands would reduce the irrigated cropping intensity and therefore not correctly show the possible merits of irrigation.

A special effort is being made to collect quantitative and qualitative information on women in irrigated agriculture. If information is available a special sub-section on "Women and irrigation" is created in the section "Irrigation and drainage development" of the country profile.

Selected publications

A list of all publications is available on the Publications page. A non-exhaustive selection of some publications more specifically related to irrigation is given below:

  Irrigated areas - Atlas of African agriculture research & development
  The role of women in agricultural water management - Results of a pilot
           project to develop gender-sensitive indicators
(in French)
  Update of the Digital Global Map of Irrigation Areas (GMIA) to Version 5
  Groundwater use for irrigation - a global inventory
  The resource outlook to 2050: By how much do land, water and crop yields
           need to increase by 2050?

  Irrigation Manual - Planning, development, monitoring and evaluation of
           irrigated agriculture with farmer participation

  Irrigation potential in Africa - A basin approach
  Assessment of irrigation potential in Africa - Arc-Info: a tool for the
           computation of the irrigation water requirements at continental level

arrow Printer friendly version

^ go to top ^

       Quote as: FAO. 2016. AQUASTAT website. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Website accessed on [yyyy/mm/dd].
      © FAO, 2016   |   Questions or feedback?   
       Your access to AQUASTAT and use of any of its information or data is subject to the terms and conditions laid down in the User Agreement.