International Commission on Irrigation & Drainage Commission Interationale des Irrigation et du Drainage

Watsave Awards

Improving water efficiency is the imminent challenge faced in agriculture today. There is a need to innovate and change existing water policies, management practices and new water-saving techniques. A holistic approach involving all the stakeholders like farmers, corporates, government and civil society organisations is required to increase water productivity. Recognizing this need, ICID constituted WatSave Annual Award(s) in 1997 to identify and promote exceptional water conservation/saving practices in agriculture. They are presented every year to individuals or a team of individuals after evaluating actual realized savings; and not promising research results, plans or good ideas/intentions to save water. 

The award consists of an honorarium of US$ 2000 and a citation plague. The WatSave Awards are presented during the Annual ICID Executive Council Meeting (IEC). An autonomous international panel of judges adjudges the winners every year. 

Categories of the WatSave Awards

Innovative Water Management Award: It is presented to recognize non-technological interventions, innovative land and water management practices and policy interventions helping in increasing water availability for different uses. It aims to identify new policies/approaches for water-saving leading to the cost-effective and beneficial use of water.
Technology Award: It is presented to recognise the best technological applications or projects developed; which have been successful in saving water and/or recovering wastewaters/low-quality waters.
Young Professionals Award: It is presented to recognize young professionals (below 40 years) contributing to original research and innovative water-saving techniques leading towards sustainability.
Farmer Award: It is presented to farmer or farmer(s) who has successfully developed or implemented water-efficient farming techniques in the farms as well as the community.  


Nominations are open for 2023 and the deadline for submission is 30 June 2023

The nominations are received through the automated online form submission system ( / ICID Central Office email (, which is announced at the beginning of every calendar year. ICID’s National Committees need to endorse their countries respective applications. The entries are open to all professionals/teams from ICID member countries as well as non-member countries. In case of entries from ‘nonmember’ countries, the nominations have to be routed through and validated by an active National Committee of ICID. Such National Committee should be aware of the nominee's to support the nomination.

WatSave:  Scheme (PDF) Microsoft Word ];  and WatSave: Nomination Form (PDF)  Microsoft Word ] 

Winners of WatSave Awards 2023

IRRISAT - A satellite Based Irrigation Advisory Service 


Prof. Guido D’URSO & Mr. CARLO DE MICHELE (Italy)

IRRISAT is a satellite-based irrigation advisory service developed in Italy and operational since 2007 in the Campania region (Southern Italy); nowadays it has been used in Australia (with name COALA). The service aims at providing farms and managers of water resources with real time information on crop water needs. Irrigation needs are estimated using high resolution data from Earth observation satellites and meteorological gridded data (including 5-days forecast) by using the FAO 56 “direct” calculation method. Data are aggregated at various spatial

Congratulations !!!

Innovative Water Management Awards-


2022 China

Li Gendong, Su Xiaofei

Water Rights Trading of Hetao Irrigation Scheme

The Hetao irrigation scheme is located in the northwest inland of China and the upper and middle reaches of the Yellow River. It is dry and rainless, with an average annual precipitation of 144mm and an average annual water surface evaporation of 2,377mm, and is one of the driest areas in the world. More than 90% of the water used in the irrigation scheme is from the Yellow River. The current irrigation area from the Yellow River is 11 million mu, involving 215,000 farmers and about 800,000 people.

The shortage of water resources is a common occurrence in the Hetao irrigation sche

2021 Morocco

FIRST PPP Irrigation Project in the World (El GUERDANE Scheme) in South of Morocco

Irrigated agriculture is at the heart of Morocco's economic and social development. It plays a crucial role in meeting Morocco's food demands. It also generates more than 75% of the country's agricultural exports, providing jobs for half the rural labour force. However, irrigation monopolises the country's scarce water resources, accounting for 85% of water usage. With water resources becoming increasingly scarce, Morocco urgently needs to find a better way to manage water for irrigation. Indeed, the irrigation sector in Morocco is confronted with several constraints, mainly

2020 Iran

Mr. Mahdi Afsari

Sub-surface Irrigation and Tree Shades

The Faizabad-MahVelat area in Khorasan Razavi province is one of the most important pomegranates producing regions in Iran; however, it has faced extreme weather, rising temperatures, and water scarcity in the last few years. To promote pomegranate production, a favorable environment was created by implementing a combination of several techniques.

The problem of water scarcity was solved with drip and subsurface irrigation technology. But high temperatures and direct sunlight on trees caused problems such as the trees not being able to absorb the water they need, the destruction o

2019 Australia

Trangie-Nevertire Renewal : An Irrigation Infrastructure Modernisation Success Story

Trangie-Nevertire Co-operative Ltd (TNCL), a member-owned irrigation scheme, pumps water out of the Macquarie River in the central west of New South Wales-Australia (NSW) that had reached its use-by-date in the middle of the Millennium Drought. The combined impact of high conveyance losses, a series of low or zero water allocation years, the threat of losing water, and the possibility of government’s buying back the saved water from the members and ever-increasing costs, led to the general realization that it is high time to modernize the water use system.

To apply for the g

2018 Canada

Mr. Richard Phillips

Alberta Irrigation Management Model (AIMM), A decision support system to assist irrigation producers better manage their irrigation water application efficiency and optimize crop production

About 98% of Alberta’s irrigation is in Southern Alberta, where more than fifty different irrigated crops are grown. Water is diverted from three rivers (Oldman, Bow, and St. Mary) and delivered to about 6,000 irrigation districts through an interconnected system of about 50 storage reservoirs, and 7,900 km of canals and pipelines. Groundwater is not used for irrigation in Alberta. About 7,600 km of the canals and pipelines are owned and operated by the irrigation districts, and about 300 km by the Government of Alberta (GoA). Irrigation in Alberta was about

2017 China

Prof. Wang Aiguo

Promoting water-saving interventions in large irrigation systems

To build water-saving irrigation systems for efficient and sustainable utilization of water resources, revolutionary policies for planning and implementing water-saving irrigation projects, promoting modernized transformation of irrigation schemes, enhancing awareness, and extending water-saving irrigation technology were implemented in China. As a part of the policy implementation, the construction of auxiliary facilities, up-gradation of existing equipment, and water-saving irrigation technologies demonstrations were organised in different districts.

Working out policies on prom

2016 Thailand

Mr. Va-Son Boonkird and Dr. Watchara Suiadee

Innovation, Implementation and Extension of the Water Saving Integrated Smart Farming - AWDI Technique in Thailand

In 2004, Japan and other countries including Thailand formed a new body named the International Network for Water and Ecosystem in Paddy Fields, (INWEPF). The broad goal of INWEPF was to increase rice yield in a sustainable and ecologically sound manner. In August of 2012, the best practices of Alternate Wet and Dry Irrigation (AWDI) technique were incorporated with Smart Farming innovations as a new model. The model promoted the AWDI technique while managing practicalities in the real world, such as minimized labour intensity with maximum water-saving. Out of four wet and dry periods, only

2015 Egypt

Prof. Samiha Ouda and Prof. Abd-El-Hafeez-Zohry

Crop Rotation: An Approach to Save Irrigation Water under Water Scarcity in Egypt

Feeding a population growing at an annual rate of 1.84% with limited land and water resources is the most important challenge for Egypt today. There is a large gap between the production of all strategic crops and their consumption. More than 85% of the water withdrawal from the Nile is used for irrigated agriculture. Water availability, therefore, has a direct influence on national food security. At present, surface irrigation is used on over 80% of Egypt’s cultivated land. Poor water management is contributing to irrigation water wastage.


Previous research

2014 Egypt

Dr.Yosri Ibrahim Mohamed Atta

Improving growth, Yield and Water Productivity of some Maize Cultivars by new planting Method

Maize is one of the most important cereal crops in Egypt, sown as a summer crop for human consumption, animal feeding, and industrial purposes specifically for oil and starch production. Due to the production deficit, efforts are made to increase the productivity of the cultivated area by using high-yielding seeds, improving agronomic practices, and optimizing water use. Using the right amount of water at the right time in the irrigation cycle is pertinent to establish good water management practices in line with the strategy of irrigation policy in Egypt. The innovation presented here is a

2013 China

Mr. Zhang Xuehui

Jiamakou Irrigation Scheme (JIS), China

The Jiamakou Irrigation Scheme (JIS) was constructed from July 1958 to July 960, and it is the first large high-lift irrigation scheme in the Yellow River Basin in China. After nearly 40 years of operation and obvious wear and tear, some problems emerged, such as outdated facilities, obsolete infrastructure, overstaffing, organizational overlapping, and old-school management.

In 1998, the scheme was revived, the pumping stations and irrigation canals were rehabilitated to provide better services. The rehabilitation and reform innovations in JIS were extended in 10 large irrigation

2012 Australia

Mr. Peter McCamish

Integrated water recovery provides regional growth for Northern Victoria, Australia

Northern Victoria Irrigation Renewal Project (NVIRP) delivered a large?scale irrigation modernization project in the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District (GMID), a region that is responsible for approximately 25% of the state’s agricultural production and contributes around AUD 1.45 billion per year in dairy and agricultural industries.

NVIRP provided an irrigation system that improved customer service levels, leveraged farm efficiencies, and increased productivity and profitability. Some of the features are presented below:

The 6,300 km irrigation channel network i

2011 India

Prof. Dr. Subhash Madhawrao Taley

Participatory Rainwater Conservation of Rainfed Agriculture of Vidarbha Region (Maharashtra), India

In Vidharba region of Maharashtra, a south-western state of India, around 93% (5 Mha) of the cultivated land is dependent on rainwater for crop production. Due to variable and uncertain rainfall in the monsoon season, crop yields are quite low and unstable. Rainfed agriculture supports about 65% of the rural population and is also the major producer of cereals, pulses, and oilseeds. To manage this situation and increase water productivity, the farmers’ community implemented participatory rainwater management in the region.

To enhance crop productivity and reduc

2010 South Africa

Mr. Kobus Harbron

Water distribution management at the Vaalharts irrigation scheme

The Vaalharts irrigation scheme is situated at the confluence of the Harts and Vaal rivers on the border between the North West and the Northern Cape provinces in South Africa. It is the largest irrigation scheme in the country, with a scheduled area of 29,181 ha. The scheme consists of a network of canals covering a distance of more than 100 km supplying water to about 1,873 abstraction points through pressure regulating sluices.

Vaalharts water distribution practices suffered from the limitations of a manual system including higher labour force requirements, calculation/estimati

2009 India

Messrs Shahaji Manikrao Somawanshi, Bharat Kawale and Sanjay Madhukar Belsare

Transformation of irrigation through management transfer user group

The participatory Irrigation Management (PIM) approach was introduced in India in the 1990s. The Government of India has been promoting PIM in irrigation schemes, with the objective of improved operation and maintenance of irrigation infrastructure, reducing fiscal burden, increased cost recovery, and higher crop production through better water management. As a result, more than 50,00 Water User Associations (WUA) were formed all over the country. Waghad Irrigation Scheme of in the Maharashtra State is one such example that created an impact on the ground.

Waghad Irrigation Scheme

2008 Egypt

Dr. Yousri Ibrahim Atta

Innovative Method for Rice Irrigation with High Potential of Water Saving

Rice is one of the most inefficient crops in terms of water use because it is conventionally grown under submerged conditions increasing the pressure on limited area resources in the country and contributing to irrigation water shortage during the peak summer season.

This study was performed to seek the possibility of growing rice variety (cultivar Sakha 104) on strips to decrease the amount of irrigation water as well as to increase crop productivity. This method depends on reducing irrigated area by land division into furrows. The top of the furrow was named (border) and

2007 South Africa

Dr. Abraham Singels

Provision of Irrigation Scheduling Advice to Small Scale Sugarcane Farmers Using a Web Based Crop Model and Cellular Technology: A South African Case Study

2006 South Africa

Dr. Nico Benad

Water Administration System (WAS)

The Water Administration System (WAS) is designed to be a water management tool for irrigation schemes, Water User Associations (WUA’s), Catchment Management Agencies (CMA’s), and water management offices that want to manage their water usage, water distribution, and water accounts. 

The main aim during the development of the WAS program was to minimise water losses for irrigation schemes that work on the demand system and that distribute water through canal networks. Currently the WAS program is in use at all the major irrigation schemes cross South Africa and it

2005 China

Prof. Li Daixin

Innovative Water Saving Technologies in China

2004 India

Er. Suresh. V. Sodal

An initiative towards saving of water and sustainable Irrigation Management in Maharashtra State, India

2003 Pakistan

Dr. Muhammad Akram Kahlown

Comprehensive approach in water resources management such as Irrigation, Drainage, On-Farm Water Management, Water Quality, Groundwater Modeling, Contaminant Transport

2002 Egypt

Dr. Mahmoud Moustafa

Spatio-Drainage Approach: A Tool for Proper Management, Accurate Design and Cost Effective?Subsurface Drainage Projects and Water Saving

2001 China

Prof. Gu Yuping

Water-Saving Irrigation Practice in China - Demands, Technical System, Current Situation,?Development Objective, And Countermeasures

2000 Spain

Dr. Francisco del Amor Garcia

Modernization Plan of Mula Traditional Irrigations

1999 Egypt

Eng. Hussein El-Atfy

Modified Drainage System for Rice Growing Areas : A Tool for Water Saving

1998 China Development of Water Saving Irrigation Technique On Large Paddy Rice Area in Guangxi Region of China

Nominations Recieved

2019 Iran

Ghazanfarpour - Mortaza


The ?Neyrpic Modules? method replace the conventional splitting methods in the face of abnormal volatility due to the asymmetric, unbalanced, non ? voluntary and seasonal runoff and drain of agricultural water.

2019 Iran

Mohamad Kazem Araghi;Abbas Gorji Chakespari

National Botanical Garden of Iran

The garden was initially irrigated in traditional methods such as surface irrigation but the use of these methods led to a lot of waste of water. In 2002, about 50 hectares of garden were equipped with drip irrigation systems and 75 hectares were irrigated with sprinkler.

2019 Iran

Eisa Maroufpoor

Effect of exploitation on the hydraulic performance of movable sprinkler solid-set systems

In this research, irrigation performance indicators were estimated for ten randomly selected on-farm systems. After these reforms, the irrigation systems were evaluated again, and performance indicators were determined and compared with the first stage.

2018 Iran

NaserBehmanesh Far

Practical implementation for Reducing Water Consumption through Volumetric Charging of Agricultural Water

Dez Irrigation and Drainage Network (DIDN) in southwest of Iran, has been under operation since 1977, farmers pays 3 percentage of his product price for water.

2018 Egypt

Dr. Sayed Ahmed Abd El-Hafez; Dr. Alaa Zoheir El-Bably

Smart Management for Saving Water and Producing more Crop with less Water

The improved techniques used are precision land leveling, dry planting of clover and wet planting of cotton, using seed drill and row planting for wheat, planting cotton, maize, sugar beet and faba bean in relative long furrows and application of gypsum requirement according to the chemical analysis of soil.

2018 South Korea

Oh Changjo

Development of Smart Water Management System using IoT Technology

Agricultural uses are approximately 48% of the total annual water use in South Korea. While approximately 70% of the annual rainfall is received during the summer season, most of the agricultural water is utilized from May to June. Therefore, irrigation facilities using reservoirs, canals, and pumps were installed to efficiently manage water on the farms. The supply of agricultural water also varies from season to season due to climate factors, regional topographies, characteristics of the river, and the water level. Over time, the imbalance between supply and demand undermined efficiency i

2017 Australia

Lex McMullin; John McDonald

Improving Water Use Efficiency in the Australian Nursery Industry

A range of nursery industry resources developed through a process of research, experimentation and field evaluation are available for use by the Australian Nursery Industry.

2017 Egypt

Prof. Dr. Sayed Ahmed Abd El-Hafez

Adoption of Good Agriculture Practices by Rural Smallholders Farmers for Water Saving, Improving the Productivity, Income and Livelihood

(1) Field methodology: Selection of the farmers for the demonstration fields (2) Demonstration Sites: Applying up to date recommendations from the government (3) Demonstration types: short-term, long-term, and demonstration irrigation canal. (4) Farmer surveys (questionnaires): Evaluations (5) Evaluation application

2017 Iran

Mohammad Mehdi Javadianzadeh; Mohammad Hossein Bagheri

Controlling of Downfall of Groundwater (GW) Level Using Participatory Management (case study: Yazd Abarkuh Plain, Iran)

A management approach for controlling the decline in GW level in Abarkouh County watershed containing two plains (Abarkouh and Chahgir), having 3,760 km2 and the average elevation of 1,776 m above sea level. Main factor in depletion of Abarkouh aquifer is agricultural well pumping.

2017 India

Dr. Kaluvai Yella Reddy; Udaya Sekhar Nagothu; Kakumanu Krishna Reddy; Liati Narayan Reddy

Building Farm Level Capacities to Adapt to Climate Change

The project analysed the performance of direct seeded rice (DSR) in actual field conditions and documented the results along with the development of an up-scaling strategy with policy prescriptions.

2016 China

Prof. Wang Aiguo

Development and Management of Water-Saving Irrigation in China

Policies promoting water-saving irrigation; increased investment; regional large-scale development of highly-efficient water-saving irrigation

2016 Egypt

Dr Ahmed Ali Mohamed Rashed

Soil and Soil-less Cultivation Using Constructed Wetlands Treated Drainage Water

In the absence of any water source other than brackish drainage water and no land for agricultural production other than wetlands, Lake Manzala (LM) basin in Egypt needed to identify water for agricultural production. To overcome the issue, a unique approach was followed, wetlands were constructed to treat brackish drainage water which reclaimed the saline-sodic soil as well as led to vegetable production on rice bales as an alternate growing media. The approach was later called the El-Salaam Canal project, a successful project that reclaimed saline lands by apply

2016 Iran

Mohammad Ebrahim Yakhkeshi & Amrollah Barari Slavoshkolaee

Water Saving vy Systematic Water intervals method

A performance of group work as an administration experience in the province. The water intervals began limitedly in first year and then it performed widely and nowadays it?s performed even in wet years with the aim of water saving and culture-building after 5 years to its alternative performance.

2016 Iran

Mr. Rahmatolla Kazeminejad

Participatory Water Management System project in Golestan Province

A participatory water management system in Iran’s Golestan province, aimed to promote the efficient use of water resources for irrigation and reduce water consumption, was implemented in the Tazehabad region. The objective was to improve efficiency with the active participation of farmers, a mechanism that can be replicated in other areas. Activities were set to achieve tangible goals such as increasing the irrigated lands and efficiency upgrades in three parts: transmission, distribution, and water use.

The project cycle management methodology was used and a logical

Technology Awards+

Young Professional Awards+

Farmer Awards+

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