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close this bookIrrigation Training Manual: Planning, Design, Operation and Management of Small-Scale Irrigation Systems (Peace Corps, 1994, 151 p.)
close this folderIntroduction to the irrigation manual
View the documentPurpose of this manual
View the documentThe training sessions
View the documentThe irrigation reference manual
View the documentOverview of the training sessions
View the documentIrrigation principles and practices
View the documentThe experiential learning approach
View the documentThe trainer's role in experiential learning
View the documentTiming, location, and trainee preparedness
View the documentImplementing the irrigation training sessions

The training sessions

Session plans are included to provide a comprehensive background in irrigation principles and practices. Each session plan includes the goals and objectives for the session, an overview of the purpose of the session, a description of activities which can be performed to fulfill the objectives, a list of tools and materials required, and location of additional technical information in the Irrigation Reference Manual. The session plans are grouped in the manual according to topic areas. The session groupings do not necessarily reflect the order in which the sessions should be presented in a training. It is assumed that the training staff will prepare a session schedule that is unique to each training and that reflects collaboration with other Peace Corps training needs, such as language and availability of work sites.

Section 1 Introduction to Irrigation Principles and Practices

The Role and Purpose of Irrigation
Assessing Trainee Math Skills
Tool Use and Safety

These introductory sessions are intended to enable Trainees to understand the need for irrigation in tropical dry and sub-humid ecosystems and to define their own objectives for the training and beyond.

Section 2 Community Organization and Mobilization

Conducting a Community Needs Assessment
Community Organization and Mobilization
Communication Techniques
Problem Solving
Working with a Community Water Users Association
Construction of Projects in a Community

These sessions provide Trainees with opportunities to develop and test skills in working with small groups in rural communities to define problems, identify solutions, and develop and implement projects.

Section 3 Inventorying the Physical and Biological Resource Base

Watershed Hydrology
Water Flow Measurements
Surveying and Field Measurements
Soil -Plant -Water Relationships
Conducting Environmental Assessments

Trainees must acquire skills enabling them to evaluate and monitor soil, water, and ecological attributes of the areas in which irrigation projects will be developed. These sessions provide learning exercises enabling Trainees to identify and quantify water sources, conduct measurements of field and watershed conditions, analyze physical and chemical soil properties, and identify environmental concerns to make certain that irrigation projects are carried out in a manner that sustains ecological processes.

Section 4 Developing Water Sources

Diversion Dams
Designing Spring Boxes
Selecting Pumps
Design and Use of Pumps
Installing, Operating and Developing Maintenance Plans for
Wells: Hand Dug and Drilled
Storage Pond Design, Construction, and Management

Trainees learn hands on techniques that will enable them to capture and divert water from springs, seeps, or streams; dig, drill or rehabilitate shallow wells; use and repair hand and power-driven pumps; and build and maintain small ponds for storing water supplies.

Section 5 Assessing Irrigation Water Requirements

Estimating Net Crop Water Needs
Estimating the Efficiency of Irrigation Systems
Estimating Gross Daily Irrigation Requirements and Design Capacity

These sessions provide Trainees with opportunities to estimate the amount of water available and required to sustain an irrigation system. Trainees will also acquire managerial skills enabling them to evaluate the most efficient irrigation designs that can make the best use of available soil and water resources.

Section 6 Farm Water Delivery Systems

Components of Farm Irrigation Systems
Canal Design, Construction, and Maintenance
Control Structures: Checks, Diversions, and Drops
Pipe System Design, Construction, and Maintenance
Land Leveling or Smoothing
Surface Irrigation Systems
Sprinkler Systems
Trickle or Drip Systems

In these sessions Trainees learn the basic skills necessary to design and construct small irrigation systems using gravity, sprinklers, or drip methods to deliver water. Sessions also require Trainees to work in the field constructing and rehabilitating actual operating systems.

Section 7 Farm Water Management

Basic Concepts in Farm Water Management
Basic Soil and Water Conservation Practices
Developing Irrigation Schedules
Evaluation, Operation, and Maintenance

Sustainable use of irrigation systems requires precise management of soil and water resources. Trainees will construct soil conservation measures to minimize soil loss and promote high nutrient content in soils. They will also conduct evaluations and prepare water application schedules and operation and maintenance plans for existing irrigation systems.

Section 8 Waterlogging and Salinity

Basic Concepts of Waterlogging and Salinity
Control of Drainage and Salinity Problems

Trainees will work in the field constructing measures to minimize or avoid problems with waterlogging or high salt content in soils. Sessions will also provide the conceptual background to enable Trainees to anticipate problems and solutions in a variety of physical and social settings.

Section 9 Project Planning and Development

Conducting Economic Analyses
Proposal Writing

Trainees will acquire the technical skills to determine if projects are financially or economically feasible, learn how to develop project budgets and procurement plans, and write proposals to solicit financial support.

The amount of actual technical training time required to complete all 40 training sessions is estimated to be between 147-172 hours. The discrepancy in estimated time requirements is due to the fact that some training sites may have immediate access to field practice sites while others must factor in travel time. Also, the skill levels of Trainees will influence the amount of time needed to complete each session.

Time requirements by training topic section are estimated as follows:


1 Introduction to Irrigation Principles and Practices

3 Hours

2 Community Organization and Mobilization

12 Hours

3 Inventorying the Physical and Biological Resource Base

12 Hours

4 Developing Water Sources

32-37 Hours

5 Assessing Irrigation Water Requirements

5 Hours

6 Farm Water Delivery Systems

54-74 Hours

7 Farm Water Management

13 Hours

8 Waterlogging and Salinity

10 Hours

9 Project Planning and Development

6 Hours


147-172 Hours

Assuming that a minimum of six hours per day can be dedicated to technical training activities, and that training can proceed for a minimum of 5.5 days per week, then approximately five weeks will be required to complete the training.

In-service trainings will likely be constrained by time limitations, which will require trainers to pick and choose among specific topic areas and field activities that will meet Volunteer defined needs.