Surface irrigation against modern irrigation

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Surface irrigation is used in about 85% of irrigated areas in the middle east countries. Most of it has been established long time ago when surface irrigation was the main prevailing irrigation method, while some schemes have been established more recently because of its low cost compared to other modern irrigation systems.

Low water use efficiency is one of the main features of surface irrigation. It was estimated in previous AOAD's studies that total annual water losses by surface irrigation in the Arab countries amount to about 91 billion cubic meters. For these reasons, the general trend in Arab countries is towards modern irrigation systems. But there are financial, social and technical problems in converting all existing surface irrigation to the modern irrigation systems, due to its large extent and due to the farmers limited financial and technical ability to deal with these modern systems.

It is obvious that the best option is the promotion and modernization of these traditional surface irrigation and drainage systems.