Viewpoint - The search for understanding irrigation - Fifty years of learning

Gilbert Levine
Professor Emeritus, Biological and Environmental Engineering Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA; gl14@cornell.edu

ABSTRACT: For those involved in international irrigation development activities there often are feelings of frustration. This note is an effort to identify underlying sources of the frustrations that come from external limits that are placed on thinking, from fads that often dominate, and from the influence of power that can overwhelm one'€™s best efforts. Problems of ignorance, wilful and otherwise, the existence of unspoken objectives, and the one-size-fits-all approach are addressed from the perspective of personal experience including research, consulting, and grant-making. Basic to many of the problems are the personal motivations of those with decision-making authority. Examples from the Philippines, India and Pakistan illustrate the problems.

KEYWORDS: Irrigation, development, constraints, misfeasance