How can we meet the demands of our ever hungrier and thirstier world? Irrigation water uses 70% of the fresh water extraction worldwide to produce 40% of the food. Arid countries are dependent on these crop production systems but irrigation is usually operated at low efficiency. There is great potential to increase food output per drop of water from field through farm up to catchment level. In this intermediate course you will learn about the irrigation supply chain, from water sources to root zone. First, you’ll learn to calculate the amount of water plants need to produce a healthy and plentiful crop. You will then see how this water is supplied to the roots and how it gets to the field from the source.We’ll see how efficiency influences the design and operation of both the water application and conveyance components of irrigation systems. Towards the end we will explore a number of real-world systems including drip irrigation and surface irrigation. Together with experts in irrigation we will see different perspectives on efficiency.As you progress through the course, you will understand the drivers of irrigation efficiency for irrigators, water users and communities. This will allow you to see efficiency at the scale of the entire water resource, taking a more holistic view of water flows, water losses and possible water savings. At this stage in the course we’ll invite you to talk about a system in your country and apply this holistic water resource view.Equipped with this knowledge you will be prepared to start producing more food with less water.The course is run by KU Leuven in Belgium which has a long-standing tradition of teaching water resources subjects. Together the instructors have several decades of teaching experience in irrigation and water resources. The course is accessible to students from a variety of backgrounds, as long as they have the prerequisite knowledge. It will be especially beneficial to individuals involved in irrigation projects who can put the techniques and ideas discussed into practice.
* This article was originally published here
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