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Monitoring and assessment

For better livelihoods of people occupied in irrigated agriculture, it is important to improve the productivity of irrigation water (more crops per drop). The productivity of irrigation water depends on many factors, including water management within irrigation systems.

The water management process consists of a number of steps, including monitoring and assessment of water use and distribution. For quality assessment of water use and distribution, it is necessary to have the reliable and full background information and the system of indicators.

There is a diversity of indicators that mirror technical, technological, economic, environmental and other aspects of water management activity. Here, we present key indicators needed for the analysis and decision making on water distribution. Those indicators should be introduced stage-by-stage in management practices.

Monitoring and assessment of water distribution is not a goal in itself. The assessment is needed to make an appropriate decision for the improvement of water distribution in next five days, ten days, month, growing season, year and a few years.

Indicators of water distribution are important for making short-, mid-, and long-term decisions for better water management.

They help to see whether the goals set before water managers and water user are achieved and make appropriate decisions.

Indicators serve as a means to:

  • Ensure transparency and help the civil society and public authorities to evaluate performance and deliver efficient water governance;
  • Identify weaknesses in water governance and management;
  • Detect intentional and unintentional mistakes in reporting of water-management organizations.

Assessment of water distribution can be both internal and external. External assessment characterizes costs and results of irrigation system operation; such assessment makes it possible to compare operation of different irrigation systems. Internal assessment characterizes processes taking place inside the system that lead to final results; such assessment serves to compare the actual results with the planned values.

Source: Manual on implementation of IWRM. Volume 2 Water management in irrigation systems