Last year, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) requested Australian support to develop an ADB Irrigation Subsector Guidance Note as a part of growing cooperation between ADB and AWP. The note was recently published by the ADB on their website.
ADB estimates that global investments required in water infrastructure over the period 2013-30 are up to US$11.7 trillion, which will require financing far greater than historical investments. The new investment is needed to support economic and population growth in Asia, where the irrigation subsector constitutes about 80% of freshwater demand.
ADB is committed to increasing its support to irrigation for improved food security in the Asian region and was interested in Australia’s experience in addressing irrigation – improving policies and institutional arrangement and implementing the required irrigation reforms for improved governance of irrigation – as a contribution to their overall investment strategy.
Rob Rendell (RMCG) and Clive Lyle (Clive Lyle & Associates) researched and drafted a report to the ADB that was recently published as part of their Guidance Note series, Irrigation Subsector Guidance Note: Building Blocks for Sustainable Investment.
The guidance note was produced using a framework of five key pillars with 20 building blocks which can assess any irrigation project. This document will help the ADB and its developing member countries to define core areas of support in the irrigation subsector and design investments in irrigation covering both lending and non-lending assistance, such as supporting the required irrigation reforms with capacity building, and knowledge and technology transfer).
In addition, the consultation and joint learnings developed with the ADB irrigation subsector staff enabled the development of mutual respect between ADB staff and Australian experts and resulted in familiarity by ADB staff with key attributes of irrigation management in Australia.
Rob and Clive also provided the AWP with a formal advice on how the AWP might support the ADB Asia‐Pacific in relation to irrigation, which fed into Geoff Spencer’s (Rubicon Water) subsequent draft strategy for the AWP’s investments in modern irrigation systems.
An extra highlight was the fortuitous timing of the ADB Learning Week study tour of Australia which occurred toward the end of the project. The project provided a mechanism and a structure for ensuring that the study tour addressed the key issues for the ADB.