In 1993, FAO started to develop a programme named AQUASTAT, which is an information system on water use for agriculture and rural development. Its aim is to collect information at country and sub-country level and to make it available, in a standard format, to users interested in global, regional and national perspectives.

In 1994-95, the 53 African countries were surveyed, which resulted in FAO Water Report 7 "Irrigation in Africa in Figures".

In 1995-96, the 29 countries of the Near East region were surveyed, which resulted in FAO Water Report 9 "Irrigation in the Near East Region in Figures".

In 1997, the 15 countries of the Former Soviet Union were surveyed and FAO Water Report 15 "Irrigation in the Countries of the Former Soviet Union in Figures," was published.

Other regions are being covered and will result in similar water reports.


 The purpose of the survey is twofold:

  • to provide a clear picture of the situation of rural water resources management on a country basis, with emphasis on irrigation, and featuring major characteristics, trends, constraints and perspectives;

  • to help support continental and regional analyses by providing systematic, up-to-date and reliable information on water for agriculture and rural development, and to serve as a tool for large-scale planning and forecasting.
In order to obtain information that was as reliable as possible, the survey was developed and carried out for each country as follows:

 1. Review of literature and existing information on the country and the sub-region.

 2. Data collection by means of a detailed questionnaire.

 3. Data processing and critical analysis of the information, with the assistance of the AQUASTAT data processing software and selection of the most reliable information.

 4. Preparation of a country profile.

 Lastly, regional and sub-regional tables and maps and regional summaries were prepared. Cross- checking of the information took place wherever possible.



 Country profiles were prepared in the official FAO language of the country or in English, and are presented here as such.

 Each country profile describes the situation regarding water resources and use in the country, with special attention to the water resources, irrigation and drainage sub-sectors. Its aim is to emphasize the particularities of each country, as well as the problems encountered in rural water management and irrigation. It also summarizes the trends of irrigation in the countries, as described in the available literature. It was a deliberate choice to try and standardize the country profiles as much as possible. All profiles follow the same pattern, organized in six sections:


  • geography and population;

  • climate and water resources;

  • irrigation and drainage development;

  • institutional environment;

  • trends in water resources management;

  • main sources of information.
Standardized tables are used for all country profiles. When information is not available, this is indicated by a dash (-). As most of the data are available for a limited number of years only, the most recent reliable data are used in the tables, with an indication of the year to which they refer.



 The main sources of information were:


  • national water resources and irrigation master plans;

  • national yearbooks, statistics and reports;

  • reports from FAO or other projects;

  • international surveys;

  • results from surveys made by national or international research centres.
In total, 50 variables for Africa and 65 variables for the Near East Region and the Former Soviet Union were selected and are presented in the tables attached to each country profile. They are grouped into categories corresponding to the profile sections. A detailed definition of each variable is given (see definitions).

 In most cases, a critical analysis of the information was necessary to ensure consistency between the different data collected for a given country. When several sources give different or contradictory figures, preference was always given to information collected at national or sub-national level and, unless proved wrong, to official rather than unofficial sources. In the case of shared water resources, a comparison between countries was made to ensure consistency at river-basin level.

 Nevertheless, the accuracy and reliability of the information vary greatly between regions, countries and categories of information, as does the year in which the information was gathered. These considerations are discussed in the country profiles.

The designations employed and the presentation of material do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

 © FAO

Top of the page