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

Webinar on Capacity Building in Agricultural Water Management is in ‘Intensive Care Unit’ – Can It Be Rejuvenated?

Date: 20 July 2022; Time: 15:30 Hours (IST

What is capacity building or capacity development or capacity strengthening?  Capacity building is the process through which individuals, organizations, and societies obtain, strengthen, and maintain the capabilities to set and achieve their own development objectives over time. It is the improvement in an individual or organization's facility (or capability) "to produce, perform or deploy". The terms capacity building and capacity development and capacity strengthening have often been used interchangeably.

According to the definition of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP): “In the global context, capacity refers to the ability of individuals and institutions to make and implement decisions and perform functions in an effective, efficient, and sustainable manner.

What is training? Training refers to the process of changing attitudes and behaviours of individuals - imparting knowledge and developing skills while maximizing the benefits of participation and knowledge exchange.

But, in emerging and least developed countries, WE HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO - World Food Summit (1996) and Millennium Summit (2000) suggested to cut number of under-nourished to half (by 2015). But, unfortunately, the population of undernourished people is still about 768 million in the world (FAO, 2020). The current world population of 7.8 billion is expected to reach 8.6 billion in 2030 and 9.7 billion in 2050 (Population Reference Bureau, 2021).  Most of the addition will be in urban areas in emerging and least developed countries and we would need to double our food production to feed these people. Many factors influence this agricultural growth vis-a-vis food grain production.

Capacity Development in agricultural water management, among others, plays a crucial role in increasing food production thereby possibly reducing undernourishment and achieving the challenge of Zero Hunger. Towards this long vision, ICID had first established the WG-CDTE in 1995 which had been gasping and eventually closed in 2007, apparently for lack of interest! Similarly, the International Centre for Excellence in Water Resources Management (ICE WaRM) in Australia also suffered a somewhat parallel setback some years ago. ICE WaRM focused its efforts internationally and became a victim of COVID-19 travel restrictions as well as changing government priorities in development assistance.  

Likewise, India established its first Water and Land Management Institute (WALMI) at Aurangabad in Maharashtra with assistance from World Bank and USAID in 1980. It was a one of its kind of ‘Center of Excellence’, successfully run by the state irrigation department and appreciated by one and all. But unfortunately, it breathe its last when handed over to Soil and Water Conservation Department in 2017. WALMI is not closed but it is breathless under the new department. Such, not so happy, stories may be happening elsewhere in the world as well and therefore it is apt now to dwell upon the subject and explore ways to maintain sustainable interest of the governments/institutions/stakeholders in the capacity development in agricultural water management around the world as there is no other way out – a case of WALMI at Aurangabad in Maharashtra (India) in Intensive Care Unit (ICU). In some other such institutions, even if they are not closing, Capacity Development is done by spare faculty in spare time for spare people and deputing for training is taken as punishment in some other countries - can they be rejuvenated before they reach ICU?

What may be the possible reasons for such catastrophic failure?

What would be required for achieving sustainable agricultural water management?

In fact, the farmers are the key players, but their farming practices have to be supported by skilled and effective institutions. This not only involves the farmers and irrigation officials as such, but in fact the full chain from land preparation, land management, supply of agricultural provisions and equipment in the broader sense.

Within this framework the panel discussion will focus on training and capacity building needs with respect to sustainable agricultural water management.

MODERATOR: Prof. Dr. Vijay K Labhsetwar (India)

Dr. Vijay K Labhsetwar was Director at International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID), New Delhi, India from 2001 to 2018. He was engaged with ICID as a ‘Consultant’ till 2020.  Prior to this, he has worked as Professor at Water and Land Management Institute, Aurangabad, India; Research Fellow at Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Copenhagen, Denmark; Research Associate at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA. He has 34 years of experience in research, training and administration. His specialization includes Soil-plant-water relationships; Crop water requirement; irrigation scheduling; soil and water engineering; water and fertiliser; and soil science/agronomy as it relates with agricultural water management. Currently, he is a member of the Editorial Board of ICID Journal “Irrigation and Drainage” since 2006. He is also Vice Chair of ASRWG and WG-CBTE. He has published numerous papers/ reports/ training material at national and international level. His degrees are: PhD (1984) from Colorado State University, USA; M.S. (1979) from Asian Institute Technology, Thailand; BSc (1978) from JN Agricultural University, India.

Eng. Russell Rollason (Australia)

On joining eWater in October 2019, Russell Rollason brought 14 years’ experience in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade designing and managing international development programs in water resource management in the Indo-Pacific region.  He was instrumental in establishing the DFAT funded Australian Water Partnership. In June 2020, he was appointed Executive Manager of the International Centre of Excellence in Integrated Water Resource Management, ICEWARM.
A science honours graduate from the University of Queensland, Russell also holds a Master of General Studies from the UNSW. In 1998, he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia, for services to international development and humanitarian aid and promotion of social justice in Australia.
In 2010-13, Russell served as First Secretary in the Australian High Commission to India where he expanded Australia’s technical cooperation program with India in water resource management.  He managed Australia’s partnership with the World Bank regional South Asia Water Initiative.  
Russell has more than 20 years’ experience in civil society organisations, having served 12 years as Executive Director for ACFOA (now the Australian Council for International Development). 

Eng. Pradeep Purandare (India)
Mr Pradeep Purandare was a Former Associate Professor at Water and Land Management Institute (WALMI), Aurangabad in Maharashtra state of India. Voluntarily retired in 2011 and currently working as Free Lance Academic in water sector. He holds BE (Civil Engineering) in 1976 and ME (Water Management), a Gold Medallist from erstwhile Roorkee University in 1988 (currently IIT, Roorkee). He has worked for 6 years for Water Resource Department and 28 years for WALMI. His areas of interest are Water laws, Governance and Regulation. He has significantly contributed to 10 state level committees on water laws and irrigation management.  He has extensively published in Marathi Language and has received numerous awards such as ‘Maharashtra Foundation USA Award 2020’ and ‘Pani Panchayat and Gram Gaurav Pratishthan Award 2020’.


Em. Prof. Bart Schultz (The Netherlands)

Em. Prof. Bart Schultz worked almost 50 years in research, advising and project implementation in land and water development. He was Head of the Water Management Division in the IJsselmeerpolders Development Authority, Head of the Environmental Engineering Department and Top Advisor in Rijkswaterstaat. At IHE Delft he was responsible for education and research in Land and Water Development.
He is author of almost 350 papers and visited more than 35 countries to: participate in research, appraise, evaluate, or advice in projects and to teach. He was President of ICID and winner of the 2nd World Irrigation and Drainage Prize.


VPH Dr. Mohamed Abd El Moneim Wahba (Egypt), Chair, WG-CDTE
Dr. Mohamed  Wahba has many years of integrated and diverse experience starting from the field work and supervision of the implementation of projects for irrigation and drainage, research work and field studies, evaluation of the use of modern technologies in drainage networks and the use of drainage water for irrigation as well as savings in irrigation water, Development and management of water resources, including the preparation, design and implementation of policies and strategies, in addition to supervision and follow-up implementation of large projects. Planning and implementation of coastal protection projects and currently preparing the training strategy of the Ministry, designing and implementing various training programs in all fields related to water resources, irrigation and drainage, training needs assessment plans and capacity building for all different functions at the ministry level.
Dr. Wahba, representative of the Egyptian government in several international and regional forums, including the International Commission on Irrigation, Drainage and the United Nations, where he was elected as Vice-President of ICID and Chairman of the African regional Working Group, a representative of the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation of the ESCWA Committee, coordinator of cooperation between the Ministry and similar ministries in China and Iraq, he was the former chairman of ENCID and now he is an international visiting scientist to Chines academy of science.

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