chapter  Chapter 2
Priorities for Irrigation Planning and Investment
WithK. William Easter, Delane E. Welsch
Pages 20

The literature on evaluation of irrigation planning and investment is more extensive than any other area of economic investigation of irrigation. The broader questions involve trade-offs among different types of investment including the following: government vs. private irrigation projects; wet-season irrigation vs. year-round irrigation; irrigation vs. rainfed production; expansion vs. intensification of irrigation; and large-scale vs. small-scale irrigation. Governments and international lending agencies are continually asking whether irrigation investment should be large-scale or small-scale and whether the emphasis should be on new projects or on rehabilitation including development of drainage and terminal infrastructure. New systems present a sign of progress that has strong political appeal, both internally and externally; and which may have a more general psychological value. Investments to improve irrigation at the farm level have shown a wide range of economic returns. Many countries must make choices as a matter of policy between large- and small-scale irrigation systems and concentrated vs. dispersed systems.