11-05: Land and water governance
Linking irrigated land and water scarcity: a global view
World Bank, United States of America
Based on an innovative analysis of country-level data reported from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization—in particular on area equipped for irrigation (a proxy for irrigated land), agricultural water withdrawals, and total renewable water resources—, the paper explores the link between irrigated land and water scarcity at the global level. Trends in agricultural water withdrawals show large increases, though with declining rates of growth since about 1980. Countries’ agricultural withdrawals are closely linked to total water withdrawals, and also to the area equipped for irrigation. At the global level, agricultural water withdrawals are closely linked to water scarcity levels. With increasing scarcity, interventions related to irrigated land should therefore be moving to the center of water management concerns. In many countries, however, even high levels of water scarcity seem to have had little effect so far on trends in agricultural withdrawals and area equipped for irrigation.
Land and water: the rights divergence
SPRL KH & Associates, Belgium
Ensuring secure access to both land and water is key to the eradication of rural poverty and increased agricultural production. Yet, the legal and policy mechanisms for the allocation and use of land and water are increasingly divergent: water was actually omitted from the VGGT. Building on, and updating, an earlier FAO study, the aim of this paper is to trace this divergence in terms of rights to land and water resources and to seek to identify possible new approaches and areas for intervention. The obsolescence of traditional land tenure-based water rights in the face of increased pressure on water resources has led many countries to introduce ‘modern’ permit based water rights that sever the link to the land. The land-water divergence is further exacerbated by the SDG mandated introduction of integrated water resources management (IWRM) with its own specific methodologies and approaches.
Intensification of irrigated agriculture: the case of the Boudnib plain in Morocco
1Independent consultant, Morocco; 2Agroconcept, Romania; 3INRA SAD, ISARA Lyon, France; 4IAV Hassan II, Morocco
Agricultural development in the Sahara is relatively recent in Morocco as compared to North African countries. The plain of Boudnib, located in the South East of Morocco, is interesting for it differs in terms of rythm, actors, land rights and political setup. A “visible revolution” involves the national capitalist groups consolidated by liberal policies. The anticipated high rent created by the exploitation of natural resources - unlimited rangeland and abundant groundwater- to produce high value Medjool date palm and the high mobility of production factors contribute to the emergence of a specific model. It creates a visible agricultural boom and at the same time it induces local communities to request the access to land and groundwater for small scale extensions on the basis of their historical land rights. However, individual allocation of land may not be the best way to share the hydraulic rent and alternative pathways are needed.
Irrigation Modernization in Spain: what influences the Effects on Water?
1ICATALIST, Spain; 2Valladolid City Council, Spain; 3Duero River basin agency, Spain
This paper presents the results of a proof of concept study undertaken for the FAO/UNU on the concept of water tenure and its application to an irrigation modernisation project in the Duero basin in Spain, and a follow up study funded by the Duero River basin agency on the effectiveness of subsidies for irrigation modernization to comply with the European Union Water Framework Directive.
The study analyses the impacts of a switch in irrigation technology on changes in land and water use that are often ignored or underestimated. These land-water relationships, if not well understood and monitored, could mean that decisions in either agricultural policy or water policy have unintended consequences, including potential negative impacts on resource use. Aligning water and land use planning ex-ante to account for these interactions is key for a deeper and more nuanced understanding on the close connections between land and water use.