WRM-34806 Irrigation and Development


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. GJA Veldwisch
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. JD Hoogesteger Van Dijk
prof. dr. ir. RA Boelens
dr. ir. JA Bolding
dr. ir. GJA Veldwisch
dr. ir. JMC Vos
dr. E Shah
Examiner(s)dr. ir. JMC Vos
dr. ir. GJA Veldwisch
dr. ir. JA Bolding
dr. ir. JD Hoogesteger Van Dijk

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

WRM-10306 Irrigation and Water Management.

Continuation courses:

WRM-31306 Political Ecology of Water, WRM-32306 Research Approaches to Land and Water Management


The course Irrigation and Development is intended for students planning to do research on the role of irrigation in development, focusing on water control and irrigation technology. It is a compulsory course for master students following the Irrigation and Water Management specialization of the International Land and Water Management Masters Program (MIL-B) and provides the basis for the Political Ecology of Water course taught in the second period as well as for MSc Thesis Research. The course serves as an analytical introduction to contemporary irrigation issues and debates, and aims to train students in translating irrigation design and management issues into research topics. An interdisciplinary approach for analysing irrigation water management practices is presented, in which the technical, organizational and political dimensions of irrigation situations are dealt with simultaneously. An important learning aim of the course is that participants develop their own vision on the debates pertaining to irrigation and development, by understanding and engaging with the paradigms underlying these debates. To achieve these aims, special attention is given to developing a crucial academic skill, namely analyzing and summarizing scientific texts. The course is taught by the Water Resources Management group in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Wageningen University.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- understand the debates on irrigation water management;
- understand the interdisciplinary approach to irrigation as developed by WRM;
- investigate and analyse concrete issues and phenomena within the theme of irrigation and development by applying a sociotechnical approach;
- articulate a vision on irrigation and development, and on the social processes that the use of irrigation (technology) can cause;
- argue (in writing) his/her own position in each of the irrigation-related debates discussed in the course;
- analyse, reproduce (summarize) and criticize a scientific argument from a scientific text.


The course consists of lectures, tutorials, self-study, discussion groups and skills training. Particular themes concerning irrigation and development are highlighted in lectures within the context of an explicitly outlined framework. Through tutorials the information and concepts presented in the lectures are applied and discussed to facilitate articulation of an opinion on the issues presented during the lecture and to evaluate the use of the conceptual frameworks. Each course participant is a member of a discussion group, and expected to discuss the literature that came with the preceding lecture. Participants will need to spend about 10 hours per week on individual study. This implies that the literature for the next lecture is read on an individual basis. The skills training element of the course focuses on (1) writing a critical summary of two selected texts from the reader (one receiving individual feed-back, and the second being assessed for a mark); (2) plenary deconstruction of a scientific text from the reader, assessing main argument, subsidiary arguments and presented evidence.


- on basis of two assignments;
- a summary of an academic text (20%);
- a take-home essay assignment (80%);
- both marks must be marked 5.5 in order to pass the course.


A course reader with all compulsory reading materials is available for sale at the WRM secretariat.
Study and discussion questions as well as copies of the PowerPoint presentations are provided through an electronic environment that can be accessed via MyPortal.

Compulsory for: MILInternational Land and Water ManagementMScB: Water, Society and Technology2MO