Building capacity in irrigation: Asia-Australia Water Learning Week

Building capacity in irrigation: Asia-Australia Water Learning Week


The International WaterCentre (IWC) hosted a group of water professionals from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Developing Member Countries on a week-long learning program to build capacity to manage water scarcity in irrigation, 3-10 December 2016.

Participants learnt from Australian leaders in water and irrigation management using the Murray-Darling Basin as a case study.

Designed to stimulate networks and knowledge sharing between experts, policy makers and practitioners from the Asia-Pacific region and Australia, the Asia-Australia Water Learning Week 2016 (Water Learning Week) delivered a week-long intensive program building capacity to manage water scarcity in irrigation.

Led by the IWC and funded by the Australian Water Partnership and the Asian Development Bank, the program shared insights of water reform in Australia to assist Developing Member Countries (DMCs) in managing water resources for irrigation amid increasing demands, competition and water scarcity. The Water Learning Week commenced on Sunday 4 December in Melbourne, before delegates spent Monday – Thursday travelling through Echuca, Deniliquin and Griffith, and finishing in Canberra with a final day of presentations and workshops on Friday 9 December.

Learning Objectives & Outcomes

At present, regions of Asia are exploring new policy, planning and management strategies to respond to the diverse and complex interdependencies of water, food and energy security. Key challenges of water scarcity for the irrigation sub-sector include:

  • Governance, regulation and monitoring strategies to manage competing demands on water
  • Capacity and resilience for managing drought and climate variability
  • Increasing agriculture production and water efficiencies
  • Managing water in arid landscapes

Future strategies will need to recognise water management, not only as a technical issue, but as a political and social issue, where water for the environment and human use is a foundation to policy, governance and management.

Using the Murray-Darling Basin case study, the Water Learning Week facilitated the sharing of experiences and insights between participants and Australian experts, policy makers and practitioners to manage irrigation and water security into the future, with a specific focus on the key themes, including:

  • Responding to the Millennium Drought
  • Governance and institutional arrangements
  • Water planning and allocation
  • Implementing water entitlements and allocations
  • Farm scale initiatives and involvement in catchment planning
  • Technological enhancements to improve productivity and water efficiencies.

Partnering with the ADB

The ADB is a finance institution focused on delivery projects in DMCs that create economic and development impact, the Water Learning Week hosted 25 participants, representing six project teams from Myanmar, Indonesia, Vietnam, People’s Republic of China and Sri Lanka. The project teams were selected based on their intention to improve the design and implementation of irrigation and water resource management projects.

More information

For more information on our training program or the Asia-Australia Water Learning week please contact.
T: +61 7 3028 7600


The Asia-Australia Learning Week is funded by the Australian Water Partnership and Asian Development Bank.

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