Challenges for water integrity in the irrigation sector

Brief

70% of the world’s water total fresh water withdrawal is for agriculture. 40% of our food is produced by irrigated agriculture.

Poor governance of irrigation systems can affect the lives and livelihoods of millions. Water for irrigation is also a strong tool to alleviate rural poverty but also an important and coveted power lever. Understanding the complexity of the sector, corruption and integrity risks and the impact of governance on the poor is therefore crucial to our food, health and well-being.

This brief examines the main governance systems and associated integrity risks for three types of irrigation systems that represent the diversity of the irrigation sector:

  • Canal irrigation
  • Tube well irrigation
  • Wastewater irrigation

Based on the identified risks, the brief outlines possible strategies for mitigation and cautions against implementing measures that would be be at odds with the needs of the poor.

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