Achieving water savings in agricultural systems is challenging and many projects in the past have failed to deliver the expected water savings. To achieve real water savings, FutureWater and FAO have organized training courses on Real Water Savings in Agricultural Systems (REWAS) in eight Asian countries.
The Food and Agriculture Organization Regional Office of South Asia and Pacific (FAO-RAP) has supported though its Water Scarcity Program training on real water savings. FutureWater has developed and delivered those eight individual trainings in eight Asian countries including: Iran, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, and India. The eight trainings were delivered over a period of half a year, and tailored to each of the countries with specific case studies.
The REWAS training course introduces a simple tool to estimate the potential for generating real water savings from various agronomic, water management and technical practices in irrigated agriculture. Target audiences of the training were professionals working in water management (policy, academia, government, NGOs, private sector) from the eight countries. Participants gained a solid understanding of the linkages between field interventions (water, soil, agronomy) and basin-scale hydrology, in addition to being able to quantify these impacts. Over 300 participants successfully followed the trainings and were rewarded with a certificate.
The main objective of REWAS is to assess quickly the impact of field scale crop-water interventions on basin-scale water savings. The REWAS approach is to “Follow the Water”. In other words, drainage, runoff and percolation to the groundwater are in many cases considered as “losses”, ignoring the fact that this water is used by downstream users. So, claiming that a reduction in drainage, runoff and percolation at a field saves water is incorrect as downstream reuse should be considered. The training tool calculates and raises awareness on the real water saving potential of future investments in agricultural system.
A selection of feedback obtained from an anonymous survey at the end of the courses:
- “All the sessions were informative and implementation of the knowledge acquired will help to make better decisions with regard to water usage policy.”
- “It was an excellent training; a very practical tool ReWAS, great presentations and very instructive exercises.”
- “I think this was a great training. Trainers explained very well and made it easy for students to understand. Thank you very much for providing this training. I now understand what is real water saving.”
- “The training course design is very good and exercises are really interesting and lead to effective learning.”
- “The real water savings was new concept for me and it will really help strengthen my knowledge and understandings.”