In celebration of World Water Day, the 22nd of March, 2015, the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) reflects on 30 years of research excellence to support sustainable water use and development.
World Water Day 2015
In celebration of World Water Day, the 22nd of March, 2015, the International Water
Management Institute (IWMI) reflects on 30 years of research excellence to support
sustainable water use and development. During the last three decades, new ways of
collecting, distributing and managing water have continually influenced our scientists’
The head of a water user association in southwestern Tajikistan meets cotton farmers to discuss
irrigation requirements. For three decades, IWMI’s research has analyzed community
approaches to water management, seeking out ‘what works’ and identifying paths to
Photo: Neil Palmer/IWMI
The Lukanga wetland, Zambia. For several years, IWMI has been in partnership with the
international Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, which advises countries on the wise use of these
vital ecosystems. The Institute’s research has contributed to a growing recognition of the
important role wetlands play in supporting livelihoods and sustaining communities.
Photo: Matthew McCartney/IWMI
A grower in Pakistan adjusts a rain gun. ‘Water and sustainable development’ is the theme of
World Water Day 2015. The CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE), led
by IWMI, seeks to make a major contribution to this goal by evaluating irrigation options to
support an ecosystems approach to the sustainable intensification of agriculture.
Photo: Faseeh Shams/IWMI
A smallholder on the outskirts of Accra, Ghana, takes a break from harvesting cucumbers. In
developing countries, many farmers are forced to use polluted water for cultivating their crops,
especially around urban areas. IWMI has been a pioneer in looking at ways to use wastewater
for agriculture more safely and profitably.
Photo: Nana Kofi Acquah/IWMI
A farmer in Egypt’s Nile Delta sets up a sprinkler. Managed well, this approach can reduce water
requirements and protect the soil. However, farmers in the region use a variety of irrigation
methods, some of which are leading to increased soil salinity. IWMI contributed to a recent
global survey of the issue and is exploring how salt-affected soils can be rehabilitated.
Photo: Hamish John Appleby/IWMI
Testing a solar-powered groundwater pump in a village in Haryana State, India. As costs have
fallen, these pumps have become increasingly popular on the subcontinent. IWMI’s research is
investigating how targeted subsidies for solar pumps could best contribute to a sustainable
future for India’s agriculture.
Photo: Prashanth Vishwanathan/IWMI
The Kandalama Reservoir in Sri Lanka’s Central Province, which is used to store rainwater for
irrigation. Under a changing climate, extremes of water variability will become more frequent.
IWMI’s research has helped identify climate-vulnerable ‘hot spots’ and suggested adaptation
strategies, such as the rehabilitation of the country’s ancient system of ‘tank’ reservoirs.
Photo: Neil Palmer/IWMI
IWMI’s expertise in remote sensing allows detailed analyses of water and land use. This satellite
image shows farm ponds in Bangladesh’s Dinajpur District, and is being used by researchers to
compare the numbers of permanent (blue) and temporary monsoon water storage structures
(yellow), to give an indication of how much extra water could be stored in the area.
Photo: IWMI GRanD Lab
The Shongweni Dam, South Africa. Dams have multiple uses including water storage, flow
regulation, hydropower generation and supporting wildlife and recreation, but these functions
have often been managed independently. IWMI and others take a more holistic approach,
seeking ways to balance the demands for energy, agriculture and healthy ecosystems.
Photo: Steve McCurrach/IWMI
A modern vegetable farm in Ethiopia. Around 95% of smallholder farmers in the country still rely
solely on rainfall for cultivation, but new investments in water management are transforming
the agriculture sector. IWMI’s scientists seek to better understand the global implications of
these changes, and how they can provide benefits for all.
Photo: Petterik Wiggers/IWMI
A farmer in Sudan checks weather information on his mobile phone. The use of modern
communication tools has great potential to improve food security and livelihoods for
smallholders in Africa. IWMI and its partners have been trialing a system that provides irrigation,
agriculture and weather-related information to farmers via mobile phone text messages.
Photo: Giriraj Amarnath/IWMI
Men and women evaluate landscapes differently depending on how they use natural resources.
IWMI scientists work with rural communities in Africa and Asia to map their local areas, and
work out how best to manage what they have in a sustainable and equitable manner.
Photo: Liza Debevec/IWMI