No Man Can Serve Two Masters: Designing Gezira Irrigation

  • Maurits W. Ertsen


When he could find a moment in his hectic 1946 working schedule, the director of Irrigation and Irrigation Advisor to the Sudan Government, R. J. Smith, looked back “with nostalgia to the carefree days of pre-war extensions to the Gezira, with the confident planning and certain execution of works.”1 He was in a good position to compare the postwar years with those before World War II, as Smith had started his career in Sudan in 1925, just before the start of Gezira irrigation from Sennar. With the exception of two years in the 1930s, when he was in the Gash Delta in the east of Sudan, Smith made his career through Gezira. As much as the Sudan Irrigation Department (SID) itself, his career had been shaped by and for Gezira. Between 1945 and 1953, he was Assistant Director for Development (1945–1946) Director of Irrigation between (1946–1953). As such, Smith was a major player in Gezira irrigation development after World War II—table 3.1 shows his career.


Irrigate Area Canal System Main Canal Flow Control System Large Canal 
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© Maurits W. Ertsen 2016

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  • Maurits W. Ertsen

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