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No Man Can Serve Two Masters: Designing Gezira Irrigation

  • Maurits W. Ertsen

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Irrigate Area Canal System Main Canal Flow Control System Large Canal 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 4.
    National Archives, F0141/579: Letter to Kerr 25/5/1923. See T. Tvedt (2004) The river Nile in the age of the. British: ‘Political ecology and the quest for economic power (London: I. B. Taurus)Google Scholar
  2. 34.
    See, for example, the Dutch irrigation engineers and their obsession with measuring water in M. W. Ertsen (2010) Locales of Happiness: Colonial irrigation in the. Netherlands East Indies and its remains, 1830–1980 (Delft: VSSD Press).Google Scholar
  3. 47.
    H. Pluesquellec (1990) The Gezira Scheme in Sudan: Objectives, design and performance (Washington: World Bank), 21.Google Scholar
  4. B. Wallach (1988) “Irrigation in the Sudan since Independence,” Geographical Review, 78, 417–434CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 53.
    SA, 496/13/119: Design Sheet No. 54 14/5/1927. Compare with the standardization in the Netherlands East Indies (Ertsen, 2010). For other engineering fields, see A. Picon (2004) “Engineers and Engineering History. Problems and Perspectives,” History and Technology, 20, 421–436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. A. Picon (2000) “Technological traditions and national identities: A comparison between France and Great Britain during the XlXth century,” in E. Nicolaidis and K. Chatzis (eds) Science, technology and the 19th century state (Athens: Institut de Recherches Neohelleniques.Google Scholar
  7. B. Etemad (2007) Possessing the world: Taking the measurements of colonisation from the 18th to the 20th century (New York: Berghahn Books)Google Scholar
  8. Alexander J. Karns (2008) The mantra of efficiency: From waterwheel to social control (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press).Google Scholar
  9. 81.
    J. M. Hodge (2007) Triumph of the expert: Agrarian doctrines of development and the legacies of British colonialism (Athens: Ohio University Press)Google Scholar
  10. J. M. Hodge, G. Hödl, and M. Kopf (eds) (2014) Developing Africa: Concepts and practices in twentieth-century colonialism (Manchester: Manchester University Press).Google Scholar

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© Maurits W. Ertsen 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maurits W. Ertsen

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