Initially associated with hi-tech irrigated agriculture, drip irrigation is now being used by a much wider range of farmers in emerging and developing countries. This book documents the enthusiasm, spread and use of drip irrigation systems by smallholders but also some disappointments and disillusion faced in the global South. It explores and explains under which conditions it works, for whom and with what effects. The book deals with drip irrigation 'behind the scenes', showcasing what largely remain 'untold stories'.

Most research on drip irrigation use plot-level studies to demonstrate the technology’s ability to save water or improve efficiencies and use a narrow and rather prescriptive engineering or economic language. They tend to be grounded in a firm belief in the technology and focus on the identification of ways to improve or better realize its potential. The technology also figures prominently in poverty alleviation or agricultural modernization narratives, figuring as a tool to help smallholders become more innovative, entrepreneurial and business minded. Instead of focusing on its potential, this book looks at drip irrigation-in-use, making sense of what it does from the perspectives of the farmers who use it, and of the development workers and agencies, policymakers, private companies, local craftsmen, engineers, extension agents or researchers who engage with it for a diversity of reasons and to realize a multiplicity of objectives. While anchored in a sound engineering understanding of the design and operating principles of the technology, the book extends the analysis beyond engineering and hydraulics to understand drip irrigation as a sociotechnical phenomenon that not only changes the way water is supplied to crops but also transforms agricultural farming systems and even how society is organized. The book provides field evidence from a diversity of interdisciplinary case studies in sub-Saharan Africa, the Mediterranean, Latin America, and South Asia, thus revealing some of the untold stories of drip irrigation.

chapter |15 pages


Panda or Hydra? The untold stories of drip irrigation
ByMarcel Kuper, Jean-Philippe Venot, Margreet Zwarteveen

chapter 1|22 pages

From obscurity to prominence

How drip irrigation conquered the world
ByJean-Philippe Venot

chapter 2|16 pages

Decentering the technology

Explaining the drip irrigation paradox
ByMargreet Zwarteveen

chapter 3|14 pages

The practice of designing and adapting drip irrigation systems

ByHarm Boesveld

chapter 4|17 pages

Re-allocating yet-to-be-saved water in irrigation modernization projects

The case of the Bittit irrigation system, Morocco
BySaskia van der Kooij, Marcel Kuper, Charlotte de Fraiture, Bruce Lankford, Margreet Zwarteveen

chapter 5|20 pages

Unraveling the enduring paradox of increased pressure on groundwater through efficient drip irrigation

ByMarcel Kuper, Fatah Ameur, Ali Hammani

chapter 6|17 pages

Sour grapes

Multiple groundwater enclosures in Morocco’s Saïss region
ByLisa Bossenbroek, Marcel Kuper, Margreet Zwarteveen

chapter 7|12 pages

Creating small farm entrepreneurs or doing away with peasants? State-driven implementation of drip irrigation in Chile

ByDaniela Henriquez, Marcel Kuper, Manuel Escobar, Eduardo Chia, Claudio Vasquez

chapter 8|17 pages

Conquering the desert

Drip irrigation in the Chavimochic system in Peru
ByJeroen Vos, Anaïs Marshall

chapter 10|20 pages

Collective drip irrigation projects between technological determinism and social construction

Some observations from Morocco
ByMostafa Errahj, Jan Douwe van der Ploeg

chapter 11|17 pages

Historical perspective on low-cost drip irrigation design and promotion

ByRobert Yoder, Brent Rowell

chapter 12|14 pages

Low-cost drip irrigation in Zambia

Gendered practices of promotion and use
ByGert Jan Veldwisch, Vera Borsboom, Famke Ingen-Housz, Margreet Zwarteveen, Nynke Post Uiterweer, Paul Hebinck

chapter 13|19 pages

The conundrum of low-cost drip irrigation in Burkina Faso

Why development interventions that have little to show continue
ByJonas Wanvoeke, Jean-Philippe Venot, Margreet Zwarteveen, Charlotte de Fraiture

chapter 15|10 pages

‘Bricolage’ as an everyday practice of contestation of smallholders engaging with drip irrigation

ByMarcel Kuper, Maya Benouniche, Mohamed Naouri, Margreet Zwarteveen

chapter 16|18 pages

The ‘innovation factory’

User-led incremental innovation of drip irrigation systems in the Algerian Sahara
ByMohamed Naouri, Tarik Hartani, Marcel Kuper

chapter 17|19 pages

Intermediaries in drip irrigation innovation systems

A focus on retailers in the Saïss region in Morocco
ByCaroline Lejars, Jean-Philippe Venot

chapter 18|21 pages

Drip irrigation and state subsidies in India

Understanding the success of the Gujarat Green Revolution Company
ByJanwillem Liebrand