Case Studies of Utilizing a Flexible Automated Supply in Developing Countries

by John L. Merriam, California Polytechnic State Univ, San Luis Obispo, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water Resources Planning and Management: Saving a Threatened Resource—In Search of Solutions


The need is seldom questioned for a water supply that is available when the crop needs it - frequency; at a rate that can be satisfactorily used; and for a duration that provides just the desired amount. The ability to attain these three operating conditions at the farm level rarely exists. It is a major factor worldwide why projects fail to be viable or even moderately economical. This is seldom recognized by the responsible parties as being pertinent because they are unaware of the true value of a flexible supply system. The concept of the rigid top down control exemplified in a rotation-warabandi-schedule is prevalent and results in a too-cheap system. Case studies of the application of the flexible supply concept to Pilot Projects in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Egypt and India are presented. They show that a flexible automated supply with a demand or arranged schedule, can be constructed at a greater cost than the elementary rotation schedule earth ditch system, but much more economically because: greatly increased production - 20 to 40%, appreciably reduced farm labor which is also more conveniently done, elimination of top ender/low ender contention and yield differential, more efficient use of irrigation water, farming of the right-of-way, use of low pressure nonreinforced concrete pipeline, and improved inter-personal relationships between farmers and between farmers and the operating agencies.

Subject Headings: Case studies | Developing countries | Automation and robotics | Agriculture | Water pipelines | Water supply | Scheduling | Economic factors | Asia | Sri Lanka | Pakistan | Egypt | Africa | Middle East | India

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