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Irrigation performance before and after rehabilitation of a representative, small irrigation scheme besides the Senegal River, Mauritania


  • Mateos, Luciano
  • Lozano, David
  • Baghil, Ahmed Baba Ould
  • Diallo, Oumar Abdoul
  • Gómez-Macpherson, Helena
  • Comas, Jordi
  • Connor, David


During the last quarter of the 20th century, many irrigation schemes were constructed along the bank of the Senegal River in Mauritania. About 40,000ha were developed but less than 23,000ha remain irrigated today. A program for rehabilitation is now in place to counteract deterioration and abandonment of these schemes. This paper presents an evaluation of the rehabilitation of a small, representative irrigation scheme governed by a farmers' cooperative in the village of Bélinabé. Before rehabilitation, the scheme covered 37.7ha comprising 107 plots each of 0.33ha, essentially all devoted to production of rice. Water for irrigation was pumped directly from the river into two head basins and distributed through open canals. After rehabilitation, the scheme was extended to 115ha with new plots averaging 0.36ha. Water is now supplied by a single cluster of pumps and conveyed through pipes and open canals. Evaluation of performance consisted in analysis of: capacity; distribution losses; flexibility, adequacy and reliability of the system; maintenance status; farmer's perception of system performance. Field data were collected during irrigation campaigns before rehabilitation in 2004 and during 2006 and 2007 afterwards. A model of network distribution and field water balance was developed to assist evaluation. It was established that before rehabilitation the scheme could operate satisfactorily if proper maintenance were practiced. After rehabilitation, more families have access to irrigation but reliability and flexibility of water distribution have been reduced. Furthermore, pumping capacity is now insufficient to cover crop water requirements. Recommendations are provided for future rehabilitation work and maintenance of schemes generally.

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  • Mateos, Luciano & Lozano, David & Baghil, Ahmed Baba Ould & Diallo, Oumar Abdoul & Gómez-Macpherson, Helena & Comas, Jordi & Connor, David, 2010. "Irrigation performance before and after rehabilitation of a representative, small irrigation scheme besides the Senegal River, Mauritania," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 97(6), pages 901-909, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:agiwat:v:97:y:2010:i:6:p:901-909

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Vandersypen, Klaartje & Bengaly, Kongotigui & Keita, Abdoulaye C.T. & Sidibe, Souleymane & Raes, Dirk & Jamin, Jean-Yves, 2006. "Irrigation performance at tertiary level in the rice schemes of the Office du Niger (Mali): Adequate water delivery through over-supply," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 83(1-2), pages 144-152, May.
    2. Renault, Daniel, 2001. "Re-engineering irrigation management and system operations," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 211-226, April.
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    4. Molden, David J. & Sakthivadivel, Ramasamy & Perry, Christopher J. & de Fraiture, Charlotte & Kloezen, Wim H., 1998. "Indicators for comparing performance of irrigated agricultural systems," IWMI Research Reports 44581, International Water Management Institute.
    5. Gebregziabher, Gebrehaweria & Namara, Regassa E. & Holden, Stein, 2009. "Poverty reduction with irrigation investment: An empirical case study from Tigray, Ethiopia," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 96(12), pages 1837-1843, December.
    6. Poussin, Jean-Christophe & Diallo, Youssouf & Legoupil, Jean-Claude, 2006. "Improved collective decision-making in action for irrigated rice farmers in the Senegal River Valley," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 89(2-3), pages 299-323, September.
    7. Mateos, Luciano & Lopez-Cortijo, Ignacio & Sagardoy, Juan A., 2002. "SIMIS: the FAO decision support system for irrigation scheme management," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 193-206, August.
    8. Connor, David & Comas, Jordi & Macpherson, Helena-Gomez & Mateos, Luciano, 2008. "Impact of small-holder irrigation on the agricultural production, food supply and economic prosperity of a representative village beside the Senegal River, Mauritania," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 96(1-3), pages 1-15, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tarjuelo, José M. & Rodriguez-Diaz, Juan A. & Abadía, Ricardo & Camacho, Emilio & Rocamora, Carmen & Moreno, Miguel A., 2015. "Efficient water and energy use in irrigation modernization: Lessons from Spanish case studies," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 67-77.
    2. repec:eee:agiwat:v:205:y:2018:i:c:p:38-49 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. García-Bolaños, Mariana & Borgia, Cecilia & Poblador, Noemí & Dia, Mamadou & Seyid, Ould Mohamed Vadel & Mateos, Luciano, 2011. "Performance assessment of small irrigation schemes along the Mauritanian banks of the Senegal River," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 98(7), pages 1141-1152, May.
    4. García-Ponce, E. & Gómez-Macpherson, H. & Diallo, O. & Djibril, M. & Baba, C. & Porcel, O. & Mathieu, B. & Comas, J. & Mateos, L. & Connor, D.J., 2013. "Contribution of sorghum to productivity of small-holder irrigation schemes: On-farm research in the Senegal River Valley, Mauritania," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 72-82.
    5. Elodie Blanc & Aurelia Lepine & Eric Strobl, 2014. "Determinants of crop yield and profit of family farms: Evidence from the Senegal River Valley," Working Papers 2014-596, Department of Research, Ipag Business School.
    6. Comas, Jordi & Connor, David & Isselmou, Mohamed El Moctar & Mateos, Luciano & Gómez-Macpherson, Helena, 2012. "Why has small-scale irrigation not responded to expectations with traditional subsistence farmers along the Senegal River in Mauritania?," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 152-161.
    7. Krupnik, Timothy J. & Rodenburg, Jonne & Haden, Van Ryan & Mbaye, Doudou & Shennan, Carol, 2012. "Genotypic trade-offs between water productivity and weed competition under the System of Rice Intensification in the Sahel," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 156-166.
    8. Lecina, S. & Neale, C.M.U. & Merkley, G.P. & Dos Santos, C.A.C., 2011. "Irrigation evaluation based on performance analysis and water accounting at the Bear River Irrigation Project (U.S.A.)," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 98(9), pages 1349-1363, July.


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