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Wageningen University

Agricultural Water Management: Water,-Society and Technology Interactions

Wageningen University via edX


Increasingly scarce natural resources
Worldwide, a variety of processes puts more pressure on water resources every day. Global climate change causes temperatures to rise and precipitation patterns to change. A growing degree of urbanization causes people to move from the countryside to the cities. This results in increased competition over water resources, like rivers and groundwater, between cities and their surrounding areas. Furthermore, population growth and rising global welfare create an increased demand for food.

The growing demand for food must be obtained using existing agricultural land, since we are already dealing with scarcity of new farmland. Yet, the potential of increased production in the existing rain-fed agricultural areas is low.

Sustainable water management; various perspectives to consider
The combination of the processes described above create an urgent need for improved agricultural water management, agriculture being the dominant water user worldwide. In our search for sustainable solutions the management and governance regarding irrigation and drainage should take a number of water related aspects into account, among which:

• the different perspectives of involved uses and users
• including various spatial levels, from farm, to scheme, to river basin
• minding the effects on both upstream and downstream water users
• each of which must be combined with the right quantity and quality of water

Wageningen University & Research is actively involved in debates on water and food. Predominantly focussing on the combination of both water technologies and social factors, this creates a unique socio-technical approach.

Putting theory into practice
In this MOOC, we will focus on the role agricultural water management plays in this global context of sustainable water and food supplies. The online course consists of several learning modules, combined with a case study.
We start by taking a deep dive into practical and technical aspects, from crop characteristics and irrigation water requirements to actual field practices.
Subsequently, we explore the institutional perspective, from models of rural development to water management demands.
The case study videos and interviews from Morocco create the opportunity for you to directly apply your newly acquired knowledge in a real-life situation.

For whom?
This MOOC is for anyone with basic knowledge of social and biophysical sciences, ready to contribute to improving agricultural water management from where they are. Are you ready? Join us, enrol now!

We developed the MOOC: Agricultural Water Management: Water, Society and Technology Interactions in close cooperation with IAV (Institute Agronomique et Veterinaire Hassan II) in Rabat, Morocco. Specifically, professor Hammani (director of the institute) and researcher Ms. Kettani supported us greatly during the development of this MOOC. The case is situated in the Tadla irrigation scheme, where we were supported by the ORMVA-T. Special thanks go to Mohamed Saaf, chef of ORMVA-Tadla, for the support we received in the field.


Module 1: Addressing Global Water Issues

This week introduces the concept of agricultural water management in the global context of water and food.

Module 2: Water Demand for Crop Production

In this week, the basics of calculating crop & irrigation water requirements and the relationship with actual field practices of farmers will be explained. Special attention is given to the relationship between climate, crop water requirements and crop types.

**Module 3: Agricultural Water Distribution & Technology **

In this week, the basics of the technology in agricultural water management will be explained. Special attention is given to the water management needs of different crops, and local conditions.

**Module 4: Agricultural Water Management & Governance **

In this week, the management and governance dimensions of various irrigation technologies will be explored at various institutional levels.

Module 5: Agricultural Water Management in Morocco –Putting knowledge into action

In this week, technical and social factors will be integrated and used in a final assignment applied to a real-life case study.

Taught by

Gerlo Borghuis MSc, Petra Helleger, Harm Boesveld, Dr. Ir. Henk Ritzema and Alex Bolding


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