Tierras y Aguas

FAO Unveils MASSPRES: Enhancing the performance of pressurized irrigation systems

Increasing water scarcity and competition for limited water resources are pressing issues, steering the need to modernize irrigation systems worldwide. Pressurized pipe systems bring simplicity to irrigating farmers and are increasingly adopted as a solution, particularly in water-scarce regions. Comprehensive and standardized performance assessments are fundamental to support clear diagnoses and promote the improvement of pressurized irrigation schemes.

At the 10th World Water Forum in Bali, Indonesia, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) launched Irrigation and Drainage Paper #68 “Mapping System and Services for Pressurized Irrigation Systems – MASSPRES.” Produced in collaboration with the Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM - BARI), MASSPRES addresses the complexities of planning and designing pressurized irrigation systems that serve multiple farmers. This paper resurrects one of the FAO’s longest running publication series, the “FAO Irrigation and Drainage Papers”, whose last edition was published 10 years ago.

The publication was presented during the technical session held on Thursday, 23 May 2024, focused on the “Revitalization of existing irrigated areas: be water-wise and climate-smart.” During the event, speakers and participants discussed the importance of intensifying efforts towards increasing the performance of irrigation systems to respond to global socio-economic and environmental challenges. Among the outcomes, the session highlighted the need to advance knowledge on valuable approaches and promote the dissemination of good practices for managing irrigation schemes and planning interventions.

In line with these considerations, MASSPRES offers a step-by-step methodology for analyzing the overall performance of piped irrigation schemes. It develops indicators to assess capacity, reliability, equity of distribution, and sensitivity to change, enabling more straightforward system management and allowing farmers to irrigate on-demand to meet their crops' water needs. The publication simplifies the complexities of modern irrigation systems through clear explanations, practical examples, and case studies from Egypt, Italy, Spain, and Tunisia. Furthermore, the report is complemented with the illustration of the related computer software, Combine Optimization and Performance Analysis Model (COPAM), facilitating the understanding and application of the proposed approach.

MASSPRES will be of particular interest to irrigation planners and designers, professionals involved in irrigation modernization, and experts and educators in universities who are training future generations of irrigation engineers and system managers. This publication is a crucial step towards a sustainable and efficient future in irrigation management.

Read the new paper here >>