The Greening of the Desert: What Cost to Farmers—

by E. Barton Worthington, Environmental Consultant; Colin Godmans, Furners Green, Sussex, England,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1978, Vol. 48, Issue 8, Pg. 59-63

Document Type: Feature article


The influence of irrigation schemes on the people who work them is a combination of beneficial effects (provision of water, food and opportunity for economic advancement) and undesirable ones (breakdown of well-adapted social systems and the spread of water-transmitted disease). These effects are predictable, but are not always taken into full account at the project planning stage. The farmer and his family generally prove to be the key factor in achieving success and efficiency in irrigation schemes. Engineering design and management can do much to help them, but not with a full integration between physical, biological and social knowledge. Recent irrigation schemes in arid lands, Egypt, Sudan, and Iran, rate the need for a new approach to planning large-scale irrigation projects.

Subject Headings: Irrigation | Developing countries | Arid lands | Agriculture | Social factors | Project management | Economic factors | Irrigation systems | Africa | Middle East | Egypt | Sudan | Iran | Asia

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