WRM-10306 Irrigation and Water Management


Studiepunten 6.00

Excursion (multiple days)42
Course coordinator(s)ing. H Boesveld
Lecturer(s)ing. H Boesveld
GJ Borghuis
CJL Seijger
Examiner(s)ing. H Boesveld

Language of instruction:


Continuation courses:

WRM-21312 Design in Land and Water Management 2; WRM-30806 Water Delivery.


The course is an introduction to irrigation and water management and a further elaboration of the theme of agro-irrigation. The course aims at the understanding of the role of irrigation in the world and the relationship between water availability and world food production. Special attention is paid to field specific issues such as the basics of field and farm irrigation with an emphasis on plant-water-soil- atmosphere relationships and field irrigation methods.
For BIL students the course includes during week 7 and 8 an excursion to Spain, Portugal or Greece, where different types of irrigation systems will be visited showing different options and constraints to irrigated agriculture in different agro-ecological settings. The excursion is conducted co-jointly with the BIL sister course SLM-10306, exploring different land management issues in the countries visited. As an alternative for the excursion, non BIL students will carry out an assignment (1,4 Ects) consisting of a literature review and writing of an essay to answer a special question or to deepen one of the course themes of their own choice.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course student are expected to be able to:
- understand the relationship between irrigation and (food) production on global, regional, field and farm level, especially related to crop-water use and water-use efficiencies;
- understand the relationships in the plant-water-soil-atmosphere system and determination of crop water requirements and irrigation water demands;
- design and evaluate field irrigation schedules and irrigation practices;
- understand the specific characteristics and hydraulics of different field irrigation methods and the different factors determining the choice for a specific irrigation method and its evaluation;
- understand the use of software about design and evaluation of field irrigation, crop water use and irrigation scheduling.
- explain relations between different field irrigation methods and local conditions (e.g. climate, water availability, topography, market potential).
- explain management practices of different field irrigation methods and compare conflicting interests of various stakeholders.


The course is organised in two distinctive content blocks:
Block 1: Introduction water & food and Crop Water Requirements (PSWA relations).
Block 2: On-farm surface irrigation.
Block 1: Week 1-3.
10 lectures followed by exercises (discussed at class);
Reading and exercises for week 3, followed by block specific examination on Friday of week 3.
Block 2: Week 4-6
Mixture of lectures, practical, exercises and self-study with block specific examination on Friday of week 6.
BIL-student Excursion: Week 7 & 8.
International excursion (Spain, Portugal or Greece). Compulsory attendance for BIL students, with group and individual assignments to be fulfilled during the excursion.
Non-BIL students: Week 7 & 8:
Essay assignment on a related course topic of choice. Literature research and writing of essay.


Partial block specific examinations will be taken throughout the course (block 1 in week 3, block 2 in week 6). These written examination will be a set of questions that test the understanding of the subjects dealt with in the course. Emphasis is on calculation problems that are dealt with during the exercises and test the ability as well as the understanding of the subject (application of theory on problems). The excursion is examined by individual and group assignments on which participants will need to report. Students not eligible to partake in the excursion need to submit an essay assignment.

EXCURSION PARTICIPATION CRITERIA: Only BIL students are eligible to join the international BIL excursion in weeks 7 and 8 (in conjunction with SLM-10306 or WRM-10306). To partake in the excursion students need to actively participate in the course, especially in the demonstrations, practicals and examinations as preparation to the excursion. 

The final mark of the course will be composed as follows:
- 75% examination block 1 & 2 (average of two exams);
- 25% excursion/ essay assignment.
To pass the course the final course mark must be higher than 5.5 and any of the block 1 & 2 specific exams must be concluded with a sub-mark >5.0


Lecture notes, literature and reference are made available in Learning Environment@WUR:
Part PSWA: FAO I&D 56: Crop Water Requirements
Part Surface Irrigation: On-farm Surface Irrigation
Part Practical: Agro- Irrigation Practical
Selected literature:
- James, L.G. 1988: Principles of farm irrigation system design;
- Jensen, M.E. (ed) 1981: Design and operation of farm irrigation systems;
- FAO Irrigation and Drainage Paper;
- nr 24: Crop water requirements;
- nr 33: Yield response to water;
- nr 45: Guidelines for designing and evaluating surface irrigation systems;
- nr 46: CROPWAT, a computer program for irrigation planning and management;
- nr 56: Crop evapotranspiration;
- K. Roscher (1994),Agro-Irrigation Part III: Field Water Management Irrigated Rice.
The excursion guide will be made available in due time.

Verplicht voor: BILInternational Land and Water ManagementBSc1MO
Verplicht voor: WUILWBSc Minor International Land and Water Management1MO