Irrigation Science

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 79–94 | Cite as

Improving management scenarios of water delivery service in collective irrigation systems: a case study in Southern Italy

  • Demetrio Antonio ZemaEmail author
  • Angelo Nicotra
  • Santo Marcello Zimbone
Original Paper


The performance of water delivery service in collective irrigation networks can be enhanced by improving measures ranging from a better water allocation to more expensive structural works. In any case, the efficacy of these measures must be simulated prior to their actual implementation and evaluated using quantitative performance indicators. The aim of this study is a strategic analysis of the water delivery service to understand whether a better water allocation is possible in collective irrigation systems by implementing improving measures at lower cost compared to structural works. For this goal, the performance of three water delivery systems was evaluated in Calabria (Southern Italy) over four irrigation seasons, using the indicators of adequacy, efficiency, dependability and equity developed by Molden and Gates (J Irrig Drain Eng ASCE 116(6):804–823, 1990). Subsequently, three scenarios for improving irrigation management (replacement of sprinkler methods with micro-irrigation, an arranged-demand water delivery service together with an irrigation advisory service, and a combination of both actions) were simulated and evaluated. Furthermore, two new indicators (“User Satisfaction Index” and “Water Exploitation Index”), measuring satisfaction of irrigation service users and water use levels, were proposed and applied. In the current situation poor adequacy, reliability and equity of water delivery service with low user satisfaction together with fair efficiency in exploiting the limited irrigation resources were detected. The simulation of an arranged-demand distribution and irrigation advisory service was found to be more efficacious and favourite to the system users than the replacement of current sprinkler systems with micro-irrigation. The combined adoption of these scenarios is advisable, to assure the optimal performance in water delivery systems and to make the collective service more adequate and efficient for both irrigation users and managers.


  1. Abernethy CL (1986) Performance measurement in canal water management: a discussion. In: ODI-IIMI Irrigation Management Network Paper 86/2d, p 25Google Scholar
  2. Akkuzu E, Unal HB, Karatas BS, Avci M, Asik S (2007) General irrigation planning performance of water user associations in the Gediz Basin in Turkey. J Irrig Drain Eng ASCE 133(1):17–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anwar AA, Clarke D, de Vries TT (2006) Channel capacity under arranged demand irrigation. Agric Water Manag 82(1–2):148–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. ARSSA (2003) I suoli della Calabria—Carta dei suoli in scala 1:250.000 della regione Calabria Rubettino Editore, Catanzaro, Italy, p 387 (in Italian) Google Scholar
  5. Bombino G, Gurnell AM, Tamburino V, Zema DA, Zimbone SM (2007) A method for assessing channelization effects on riparian vegetation in a Mediterranean environment. River Res Appl 23:613–630CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Clarke D, Smith M, El-Askari K (1998) User’s guide: CropWat 4, windows version 4.2.0013. IDIS (UK), FAO (Italy), NWRC (Egypt), p 43Google Scholar
  7. Doorenbos J, Kassam AH (1986) Yield response to water. FAO Irrigation and Drainage Paper 33, Rome, pp 193Google Scholar
  8. English M (1990) Deficit irrigation. I. Analytical framework. J Irrig Drain Eng ASCE 116:399–412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. FAO (2009) CropWat. Accessed 30 June 2016
  10. Fereres E, Soriano MA (2007) Deficit irrigation for reducing agricultural water use. Special issue on ‘Integrated approaches to sustain and improve plant production under drought stress’. J Exp Bot 58:147–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gorantiwar SD, Smout IK (2005) Performance assessment of irrigation water management of heterogeneous irrigation schemes. 1. A framework for evaluation. Irrig Drain Syst 19:1–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hamid SH, Adeeb AM, Yasir AM (2011) Towards a performance-oriented management for large-scale irrigation systems: case study, Rahad scheme, Sudan. Irrig Drain 60:20–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. ISTAT (2010) Censimento dell’agricoltura 2010. Italian National Institute of Statistics, Rome (in Italian) Google Scholar
  14. Jahromi SS, Feyen J (2001) Spatial and temporal variability performance of the water delivery in irrigation schemes. Irrig Drain Syst 15:215–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kazbekov J, Abdullaev I, Manthrithilake H, Qureshi A, Jumaboev K (2009) Evaluating planning and delivery performance of WUAs (Water Users Associations) in Osh Province, Kyrgyzstan. Agric Water Manag 96:1259–1267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Khepar SD, Gulati HS, Yadav AK, Brar TPS (2000) A model for equitable distribution for canal water. Irrig Sci 19:191–197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Korkmaz N, Avci M, Unal HB, Asik S, Gunduz M (2009) Evaluation of the water delivery performance of the Menemen left bank irrigation system using variables measured on-site. J Irrig Drain Eng ASCE 135(5):633–642CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lorite IJ, Mateos L, Fereres E (2004a) Evaluating irrigation performance in a Mediterranean environment. I. Model and general assessment of an irrigation scheme. Irrig Sci 23:77–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lorite IJ, Mateos L, Fereres E (2004b) Evaluating irrigation performance in a Mediterranean environment. II. Variability among crops and farmers. Irrig Sci 23:85–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lorite IJ, Mateos L, Orgaz F, Fereres E (2007) Assessing deficit irrigation strategies at the level of an irrigation district. Agric Water Manag 91(1):51–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Malano H, Burton M (2001) Guidelines for benchmarking performance in the irrigation and drainage sector. In: International programme for technology and research in irrigation and drainage (IPTRID), Rome, ItalyGoogle Scholar
  22. Mateos L, Lopez-Cortijo I, Sagardoy JA (2002) SIMIS: the FAO decision support system for irrigation scheme management. Agric Water Manag 56(3):193–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Merriam JL, Styles SW, Freeman BJ (2007) Flexible irrigation systems: concept, design, and application. J Irrig Drain Eng ASCE 133(1):2–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Molden DJ, Gates TK (1990) Performance measures for evaluation of irrigation water delivery systems. J Irrig Drain Eng ASCE 116(6):804–823CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Molden DJ, Sakthivadivel R (1999) Water accounting to assess use and productivity of water. Water Res Dev 15:55–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Montoro A, López-Fuster P, Fereres E (2011) Improving on-farm water management through an irrigation scheduling service. Irrig Sci 29(4):311–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Nam WH, Hong EM, Choi JY (2016) Assessment of water delivery efficiency in irrigation canals using performance indicators. Irrig Sci 34:129–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Pereira LS, Oweis T, Zairi A (2002) Irrigation management under water scarcity. Agric Water Manag 57:175–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Rodríguez-Díaz JA, Camacho-Poyato E, López-Luque R (2004) Application benchmarking and data envelopment analysis (DEA) techniques to irrigation districts in Spain. Irrig Drain 53:135–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Rodríguez-Díaz JA, Camacho Poyato E, López Luque R (2007) Model to forecast maximum flows in on-demand irrigation distribution networks. J Irrig Drain Eng 133(3):222–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Saxton KE, Rawls WJ, Romberger JS, Papendick RI (1986) Estimating generalized soil-water characteristics from texture. Soil Sci Soc Am J 50(4):1031–1036CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Unal HB, Asik S, Avci M, Yasar S, Akkuzu E (2004) Performance of water delivery system at tertiary canal level: a case study of the Menemen Left Bank Irrigation System (Gediz Basin, Turkey). Agric Water Manag 65(3):173–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Urrestarazu LP, Díaz JR, Poyato EC, Luque RL (2009) Quality of service in irrigation distribution networks: case of Palos de la Frontera irrigation district (Spain). J Irrig Drain Eng 135(6):755–762CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Vandersypen K, Bengaly K, Keita ACT, Sidibe S, Raes D, Jamin JY (2006) Irrigation performance at tertiary level in the rice schemes of the Office du Niger (Mali): adequate water delivery through over-supply. Agric Water Manag 83:144–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Wellens J, Nitcheu M, Traore F, Tychon B (2013) A public–private partnership experience in the management of an irrigation scheme using decision-support tools in Burkina Faso. Agric Water Manag 116:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Zaccaria D, Neale CMU (2014) Modeling delivery performance in pressurized irrigation systems from simulated peak-demand flow configurations. Irrig Sci 32:295–317CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Zema DA, Nicotra A, Tamburino V, Zimbone SM (2015) Performance assessment of collective irrigation in Water Users’ Associations of Calabria (southern Italy). Irrig Drain 64:314–325CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Zema DA, Nicotra A, Mateos L, Zimbone SM (2018a) Improvement of the irrigation performance in Water User Associations integrating data envelopment analysis and multi-regression models. Agric Water Manag 205:38–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Zema DA, Nicotra A, Zimbone SM (2018b) Diagnosis and improvement of the collective irrigation and drainage services in Water Users’ Associations of Calabria (Southern Italy). Irrig Drain. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.″Mediterranea” University of Reggio Calabria, Department “AGRARIA”Reggio CalabriaItaly

Personalised recommendations