Spate News April 2013

Dear Spate Friends

We hope all of you are doing fine. In the past months we have been undertaking a large number of activities to promote good practices in spate irrigation. In this case the ‘we’ is very much the Spate Irrigation Network with several fantastic partner organizations. Here is an update. Please contact us (by email: with suggestions, requests for information, ideas for initiatives, material to be placed on the website or else.

Abraham, Frank and Linda

Rod Kohi (=Spate Irrigation) Workshop in DI Khan (Pakistan) – 23-24 April 2013

Based on more than ten years encouraging experience in spate irrigation development SDC-Intercooperation, together with VEER and SPO and Spate Irrigation Network organize a two day experience workshop in DI Khan (Pakistan). In the program of the last decade in DI Khan of Intercooperation, VEER, SPO (and with technical support of

PARC) path breaking activities have been undertaken on water rights, farmers organization, local engineering and development of forestry to mention a few. These experiences deserve to be shared. The workshop is dedicated to up-scaling successful practices by various development actors in D.I. Khan in a manner that these actors can find common grounds with what is essential for Rudh Kohi development. The aim of the workshop is:

  • Identifying existing good local practices in D.I. Khan and other Rudh Kohi areas in Pakistan and exchange
  • Identify common grounds on issues pertaining to Rudh Kohi development in DI.I. Khan (and elsewhere in the country).

For details:


New Practical Note on Milk Churners printed

Whereas in for instance India and Pakistan a large range of women friendly rural equipment is available, the same is not found in Yemen, Sudan and Ethiopia. For instance milk churners, wheat mills, oil presses or fodder choppers. These technologies save considerable burden for particularly rural women. The Spate Irrigation Network want to acceleate the introduction of these very useful equipment in countries where it is unknown. It intends to sign an MoU with Ethiopian business enterprise of Getaw Cherinet specialized in selling useful rural equipment, to start with churners. These milk churners would save considerable drudgery for women.   A Practical Note on the milk churners is available (

For contacts on this program: and


Investment Guide on Spate Irrigation in Lowlands in Ethiopia

Following the request of GIZ an extensive reconnaissance into the potential for spate irrigation in the lowlands of Ethiopia was undertaken. Based on this experience an Investment Guide has been prepared by the Ministry of Water and Energy and the Ethiopia Spate Irrigation Network.  Though it will be officially launched in May, a preview is available at the Spate Website (

For contact on these activities: and


Flood Based Farming Systems in Vietnam

Documentation of flood based farming in the Mekong Delta in cooperation with the Vietnam Rivers Network has been undertaken over the last six months by a team of students led by Dr Duong Van Ni. A very interesting video has been prepared by the team that is great learning on the flood based production systems in Vietnam (including fishery and growing aquatic crops).


Promoting shallow tubewells in flood plains in Africa

Flood plains are among the most productive areas in Africa, at the same they are often amazingly underutilized – especially compared with similar areas in Asia (Bangladesh, Vietnam). There is much scope to turn these areas into food baskets. The Spate Irrigation Network – together with Practica Foundation (and support from Partners for Water) – is aiming to promote the development of manually drilled shallow tubewells  in high potential floodplain areas in several countries_ starting with Ethiopia but then expanding to Ghana, Mozambique and Zambia. Follow this project at


Spate Irrigation in Myanmar

Thanks to pioneering efforts of some dedicated experts spate irrigation systems, often heavily engineered, have been developed in Myanmar over the last decades. A new country overview note has been prepared, written by Maung Maung Htay of NEPS. Read the overview paper at: It is our sincere hope that a country chapter can develop in Myanmar in due time.

Collecting good experiences on sorghum, livestock breeds and controlling mesquite (prosopis juliflora) in spate irrigated areas

In the coming months we want to systematically exchange experiences on three important issues in spate irrigation systems:

  • The cultivation of sorghum, the varieties and cropping practices
  • Livestock breeds – from goats to bulls
  • The management and control of mesquite, which is an invasive species but also has some economic value

The aim is to exchange experiences between insiders in the different countries and prepare new Practical Notes, but also to start direct exchanges between the different areas and countries. This activity is facilitated by Mathijs Kool:


 Studying water rights in the Tihama in Yemen

With MSc research grants and with support also from the NWO CoCoon project the team of WEC have started to study current water rights and water allocation practices in the Tihama in Yemen and particularly the link to groundwater recharge. Over the last 30 years the bread basket of the Tihama has turned into conjunctive water management systems and maybe the spate water rights need to be adjusted to accommodate this new reality and be geared to recharge as well. Contact: Dr Sharafaddin Salah:


 Video and e-learning package on spate irrigation

In cooperation with the UNW-DPC fifteen expert lectures on different topics related to spate irrigation have been prepared, available also at  This is meant to help mainstream spate irrigation in higher education, as the presentations of key specialists can be used either directly with students or as a training of trainers. We are now jointly exploring the scope for a full fledged e-learning package. Contact:


 New entries in the library

Check the spate irrigation library for new entries . Several new document have been uploaded – including flood based farming systems in West Africa and new water rights records from Pakistan. But also kindly send us unique documents, photos or videos.