text only version   print friendly

  FAO Water  
Spate Irrigation
Who We Are
Where We Are
What We Do
News Archive
Events Calendar
    Information Resources
Mainstreaming spate irrigation in higher education

Spate-irrigated maize, EritreaA workshop organized jointly by FAO, UNESCO-IHE, UNW-DPC, MetaMeta and the Spate Irrigation Network took place from 20 to 22 September at UNESCO-IHE in Delft, The Netherlands. It gathwered a total of 40 participants from 11 countries, with a mix of academic and practitioner’s background.

The main purpose of the workshop was to launch the “Guidelines on spate irrigation” recently published by FAO after several years of collaboration between the above institutions. It was an opportunity to present the guidelines and the general principles on which they are based. Training material prepared by the Spate Irrigation Network in support to spate irrigation design and management were also presented and distributed.

The workshop assessed the needs and opportunities for mainstreaming good spate practices in higher education in countries where spate is practiced. Participants developed a plan for strengthening knowledge in spate irrigation in their respective countries, responding to the following questions:
  • Traditional bund intake under construction using draught animals in EritreaWhat is the current situation — is spate irrigation already covered or not in the educational system?    
  • What do we want to achieve with spate irrigation in education? Who is the target group?      
  • What are the institutional processes to include spate irrigation in existing curricula?
  • What could a realistic curriculum look like (topics, practicals, placements, duration)?
  • What activities are required (development of material – types - support to lecturers - accreditation process, if any - other)?    
  • Is there ready made material that can be used by others? How does it need to be modified to meet institutional needs?      
  • What external support is needed to make this happen?

  • Individual field distribution system in PakistanThe Spate Irrigation Network is an international network of professionals and practitioners. It aims at bringing together the current knowledge and experience in spate irrigation over the world, connects the different professionals, practitioners and organizations working in spate irrigation, and supports implementing organizations through training and program development. FAO works with the Spate Irrigation Network to promote good practices in spate irrigation design and management.



About Spate Irrigation

Spate irrigation is an ancient practice by which floodwater is diverted from its river bed and channelled to basins where it is used to irrigate crops and feed drinking-water ponds, serve forest and grazing land and recharge local aquifers. It has evolved over the centuries and provided rural populations in arid and semi-arid regions with an ingenious way to cope with the aridity of their climate. It is thought that spate irrigation started in present-day Yemen, where it has been practised for around five thousand years.

Today, spate irrigation covers more than 3 million hectares across the world. Although its extent is relatively minor compared to other types of irrigation, it represents a unique option for the management of scarce water resources in support of agricultural production and rural livelihoods in many arid regions.

New Document:
Guidelines on Spate Irrigation