The Land and Water Development Division of FAO is developing a global information system of water and agriculture with the objective to provide users with comprehensive information on the state of agricultural water management across the world. Such a system should help in assessing the role of irrigation in global food production and the relation between irrigation and water scarcity. Apart from the classical country-based statistics on all aspects of agricultural water management (water resources and use, irrigation, drainage, etc.), a geographical modelling tool has been developed to provide users with GIS-based databases, maps and model simulations.

Africa is the first continent for which the information system has been completed. The information collected and processed consists of a set of tables and maps on water resources and irrigation at continental level and by river basin (major basins and sub-basins) resulting from simulations on the water balance model. This information has been published earlier as part of the CD-ROM: FAO Land and Water Digital Media Series no. 13 - Atlas of Water Resources and Irrigation.

The programme was partly financed by the Netherlands Directorate-General for International Cooperation.

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