Monday, April 5, 2010

Dr. Walter Huppert

Former Member of IWMI ‘ s Board of Governors, currently Consultant, Water Management and Institutions

Making the “water issue” a top priority in the international debate on global development. In my opinion, IWMI’s biggest achievement is its contribution to ‘agenda setting’ in the international debate on water issues in general and on the topic of ‘water scarcity’ in particular. Linking sound scientific evidence with awareness raising efforts and joining forces with other prominent actors has generated a previously unknown international attention to global water issues. The latest evidence of IMWI’s leading role in this respect is its scientific guidance and coordination of a landmark interdisciplinary work, the “Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture” in 2007. 

Emphasizing the importance of ‘water productivity’ and making the slogan ‘more crop per drop’ becoming an internationally accepted guiding principle for water management in agriculture. IWMI’s longstanding efforts and exceptional achievements with respect to issues of efficiency in agricultural water use are legend. They culminated in the propagation of water productivity in agriculture in water scarce environments and in delivering the scientific knowledge base for such directions. Coining the slogan ‘more crop per drop’ helped greatly in disseminating the message of water productivity in agriculture. Re-defining ‘efficiency’ in ‘closed’ river basins added another important new perspective to the efficiency debate in the water sector. 

Creating a sound scientific knowledge base on “Agricultural Water Management” in general and “Irrigation Management” in particular. It is hard to imagine today that ‘irrigation management’ was a kind of non-topic in irrigation in the 1960’s and 1970’s and even in the early 1980’s when irrigation attracted the bulk of international investments in agricultural development. It is due to IWMI – the former Irrigation Management Institute – that the issue of “management” and related topics gained access into the international debate on agricultural water development and have been given ever increasing importance and a sound interdisciplinary scientific foundation since then. 

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