Considering that agricultural irrigation is the highest consumer of freshwater resources across the Middle East accounting for more than 80% of all water withdrawals, the first central theme of the new Blue Peace in the Middle East structure was chosen as water use efficiency in agriculture.
Within this scope, the project of “Disseminating Knowledge to Improve Agricultural Water Use Efficiency”, coordinated and implemented by SUEN as the Coordination Office, has been completed with the last project action; namely the final workshop to share and discuss the study results with country experts.
The project consisted of following primary actions:
1- The Report on Agricultural Water Use Efficiency in the Middle East: A report with the title of “Improving agricultural water use efficiency and productivity in the Middle East: Pressures, status, impacts and responses” is prepared that focuses on water scarcity, the challenges this brings to irrigated agriculture, and the options available to improve water use efficiency (WUE) and, in turn, increase water productivity and crop production in the region (click here for the report).
2- Capacity Building Activities: Based on a training needs assessment, capacity building activities in the form of trainings and observational study tours have been carried out to increase technical knowledge and raise awareness of regional experts involved in water management regarding water efficiency.
3- Training Manual: A training manual/handbook is developed for educational experience and future reference in regards to irrigation efficiency (click here for the report).
4- Policy Brief: Main strategic outcomes and recommendations of the study is presented for key decision makers in a synthesis (click here for the document).
5- Dissemination Activities: The key messages and outcomes generated through the study are disseminated through a workshop and high-level meetings. As part of the dissemination activities, a workshop and study tour were held in Şanlıurfa, Turkey on 24-26 May 2022 with the participation of irrigation experts from Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey.
The key outcomes and messages of the report titled as “Improving agricultural water use efficiency and productivity in the Middle East: Pressures, status, impacts and responses” were presented and discussed. Each country also delivered presentations on irrigation governance and good practices in their countries to facilitate exchange of knowledge and experience.In addition, field visits were paid to WUA’s and irrigation facilities to observe the practices on the ground.
The importance of state-of-the-art technologies (e.g. RS, modelling, informatics etc.) as well as governance issues (e.g. rationale pricing, participatory irrigation management etc.) were highlighted as areas for possible future collaborative actions.
As Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems (WEFE) nexus is identified as the new umbrella theme for the BPME initiative’s next phase, it is foreseen that the thematic activities on agricultural water use efficiency, among others, will be further carried out in the future as a follow-up to the completed study.