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

Webinar: Towards the Utilization of Agricultural Drainage Benefits for Facing the Future Challenges and Achieving Sustainability

29th September 2023 (Friday), 17:30-18:30 Hrs    


ICID, as part of its capacity development program and to attract young minds to agricultural water management has been organizing training programs and workshops for YP’s regionally and internationally. The main objectives of the training program/workshops are to capacitate the young water experts in the area of irrigation and drainage sector and motivate action towards national development.

As part of CDTE-WG, AFRWG and WG-LDRG activities, a serious of webinars will be organized for the capacity building and development of YP’s and one of these programs is a webinar on: Towards the utilization of Agricultural drainage benefits  for facing future challenges and achieving sustainability. This webinar will be a good opportunity for the participants to have background about multi benefits of agricultural drainage and how these systems could be utilized.


Climate change has become one of the most pressing challenges of the 21st century and is already affecting many natural resources and human environments worldwide, Climate change represents a challenge for rain-fed and irrigated agricultural, causing water shortages and droughts in some areas and floods in others. It impacts both the demand and availability of water for agriculture, affecting food security in addition to water security. In addition, the increasing water stress and the increasing gap between available water resources and growing water demand will make it more challenging to allocate water among competing uses in the future, including climate change mitigation and adaptation activities.

Nowadays, Climate change has been seen clearly in all the glob and its impacts could reach to anywhere and in no time. Extreme events could be the biggest risks which could have a greet effects on our lives. Adaptation to climate change is important to help countries manage climate risks, but the adaptation carried out so far is not enough to manage risks at current levels of climate change. The costs of climate change adaptation are likely to cost billions of dollars a year for the coming decades. In many cases the cost will be less than the damage that it avoids.

The need for land drainage has developed in arid and semi-arid countries, as well as in the humid tropics. The basic objective of agricultural drainage is to provide for a root zone environment that facilitates plant growth and optimizes crop production. In arid and semi-arid regions, drainage is linked with irrigation to make it possible to dispose of excess irrigation water and allow for the leaching of soils; in temperate regions and the humid tropics drainage facilitates the control of high groundwater and the discharge of heavy rainfall.

The role of drainage in global food production was achieved in many countries in the world. Interaction with urban drainage and flood protection has also become an essential part in design considerations. Agricultural drainage protects the resource base for food production, it sustains and increases yields and rural incomes, protects irrigation investment, it serves rural and urban residents and protects human lives and assets against flooding and high groundwater levels, and, finally, improves health conditions.

Like irrigation system management, drainage management is a core element for the sustainability of irrigated (and partly also for rain-fed) agriculture, though it has only recently been the subject of a conceptual development that has as yet not attracted much attention. The slogan of engineering science "No irrigation without drainage" can be extended: no sustainable agriculture without drainage. Irrigation must be reinvented - with drainage taking due consideration of its effects on nature and the environment. Irrigated agriculture inevitably produces emissions, i.e. agricultural effluents, and if drainage infrastructure is lacking or poorly maintained, these causes waterlogging and soil salinity.

However, drainage provides benefits, and there are, many reasons that support the idea of putting greater emphasis on land drainage in the context of integrated water resources management. Drainage protects the resource base for food production, the provision of drainage infrastructure and services help to sustain favorable soil conditions, drainage sustains and increases yields and rural incomes, drainage protects irrigation investment, drainage infrastructure serves rural and urban residents as well as industry In many countries, drainage protects human lives and assets against flooding and high groundwater levels Well-drained areas and drainage infrastructure provide a buffer (retention area) for torrential rainfall, drainage services improve health conditions as stagnant water on inadequately drained land and in poorly maintained, silted-up drains contributes to the transmission of diseases and escalates their incidence, and with properly designed and maintained drains, vectors could be controlled. Sanitary conditions improve when stagnant water in and near villages is reduced, and pit latrines may work properly if the surrounding area has low water tables

This webinar aims to highlight the multi roles agricultural drainage as an instrument for agricultural and rural development and mitigating climate change extreme events and achieving sustainability


PH Prof. Em. dr. ir. Bart Schultz (The Netherlands)
The career of Em. Prof. Bart Schultz includes more than 40 years of research, advising and project implementation in the field of land and water development, drainage, irrigation, flood management and environmental engineering. He worked as Head of the Water Management Division in the Ijsselmeer polders Development Authority, and as Head of the Environmental Engineering Department and Top Advisor in the Civil Engineering Division of Rijkswaterstaat. At IHE Delft he was responsible for education and research in Land and Water Development. He is author of more than 350 papers and visited about 35 countries to: participate in international research, appraise, evaluate, or advice in projects and to teach. He was President of ICID and Chairman of the Editorial Board of Irrigation and Drainage. He is the winner of the 2nd World Irrigation and Drainage Prize.

PH Prof. Chandra A. Madramootoo P.Eng. (Canada)
Professor Madramootoo is a Distinguished James McGill Professor of Bioresource Engineering at McGill University. He is also a Visiting Faculty in Water and Food Security at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He served as Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and was the Founding Director of the Brace Centre for Water Resources Management at McGill. He created the McGill Institute for Global Food Security, as well as programs in integrated water management. He is one the world’s foremost experts in land drainage, agriculture and food security. He has received several national and international awards for his work in water management including being inducted to the Overholt International Drainage Hall of Fame, recipient of the World Irrigation Prize, elected Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada, recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and awarded the DSc (honoris causa) by the University of Guelph. Professor Madramootoo is a member of the Steering Committee of the Global Framework on Water Scarcity in Agriculture, hosted at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. He served as President of the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID). He continues to advise international organizations and government agencies in Canada and abroad on issues of water resources and climate change in the water/agriculture sector.

VPH Dr. Willem F. Vlotman (Australia)
Willem was born in 1952 in the Netherlands and completed his BSc in the Netherlands in 1975. Then as part of his work and further studies travelled the world: Jamaica, USA (where he completed both his MSc and PhD in 1982 and 1985), Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Egypt, The Netherlands, and Australia (since 2004). In all those years he has been active in ICID and was Chairman of the Working Group on Drainage from 2001 – 2013. He is co-author of a book on Modern Land Drainage (2004, 2nd edition 2020). In Australia he was heavily involved in flood modelling at the Murray-Darling Basin Authority. Since November 2017 he is happily retired and busier than ever. In October 2022, the ICID held its first International Conference in two years (Covid19 cancellations) and I was asked by the president of ICID to Chair the WG-LDRG and revive information exchange on drainage for ICID.


VPH Dr. Mohamed Abd El Moneim Wahba (Egypt)
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, he was the former chairman of ENCID and now he is vice president honorary of ICID, Chairman of the African regional Working Group (AFRWG) & chairman of Capacity Development, Training and Education Working Group (CDTE-WG) of ICID and he is a guest professor in Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resource Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Beijing-China.


  • Opening Remarks  - President Dr. Ragab Ragab                                  
  • Introduction About the Webinar  and Speakers  -   VPH Dr. Mohamed Abd El Moneim Wahba
  • Drainage and Flood Protection of the Polders in Africa  -  PH Prof. Em. dr. ir. Bart Schultz 
  • Drainage Water Management in North America  -   PH Prof. Chandra A. Madramootoo P.Eng 
  • Drainage in Australia   -   VPH Dr. Willem F. Vlotman
  • Discussions and Closing                      


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