Type: Book

Improving water management in agriculture Irrigation and food production


Dr Jerry W. Knox is based within the Centre for Water, Environment and Development at Cranfield University, UK. As Professor of Agricultural Water Management, Jerry has an international reputation in the science, engineering and management of water for agriculture, including assessing the relationships between water resources, crop productivity and the environment, and the sustainability of agricultural production in the context of a changing climate. His research interests are in biophysical and water resource modelling, irrigation agronomy, soil and irrigation management, abiotic (drought) impacts on crop productivity and climate impacts and adaptation responses in agriculture. He was previously Editor for Outlook on Agriculture and Associate Editor for Irrigation Science.



Publication date:

11 June 2024

Length of book:

500 pages

ISBN-13: 9781801462747

Request Permissions


Irrigated agriculture accounts for around 70% of global water use. However, an estimated 60% of irrigated cropland remains highly water-stressed, a problem intensified by the effects of climate change.

Improving water management in agriculture: Irrigation and food production considers ways of addressing this challenge. It reviews advances in monitoring and optimising irrigation efficiency, ways of retaining and re-using water resources as well as how farmers can work collaboratively with other stakeholders to manage watersheds more sustainably.

The book highlights key areas where innovation is required to ensure that water use is optimised at farm and watershed scales. The book also encourages farmers to reassess their current irrigation models and implement alternative practices which improve efficiency with a reduced environmental impact.

What others are saying...

“The book does exceptionally well in linking the myriad of issues which are relevant to agricultural water management, covering biophysical and engineering aspects together with socioeconomics. In doing this, the editor and the book’s contributing authors have presented an excellent state of the art analysis of irrigation and food production on an international level.” (Professor Elías Fereres, University of Cordoba and IAS-CSIC, Spain)

Table of contents

Part 1 Current and future water demands for agriculture

  • 1. Reconciling water needs for food, the environment, energy and society – a quadrilemma facing the future of global irrigated agriculture: Jerry W. Knox, Cranfield University, UK;
  • 2. Monitoring agricultural water use: challenges and solutions for sustainable water management: T. Foster, University of Manchester, UK; C. D. Pérez-Blanco, Universidad de Salamanca, Spain; and G. Schmidt, Fresh Thoughts Consulting, Austria;
  • 3. Forecasting future global agricultural water demand: current projections and future challenges: Upali A. Amarasinghe and Giriraj Amaranath, International Water Management Institute, Sri Lanka; and Alok Sikka, International Water Management Institute, India;

Part 2 Improving agricultural water management practices

  • 4. Agronomic practices for optimising soil water retention: Samuel I. Haruna, Middle Tennessee State University, USA; and Stephen H. Anderson, University of Missouri, USA;
  • 5. Advances in drainage design and management for irrigated agriculture: Henk Ritzema, Wageningen University, The Netherlands;
  • 6. Crop physiological responses to irrigation and regulatory mechanisms: Ian C. Dodd, Lancaster University, UK; Katharina Huntenburg, Wageningen University and Research, The Netherlands; and Juan Gabriel Pérez-Pérez, Valencian Institute of Agricultural Research, Spain;
  • 7. Managing energy demands in irrigated agriculture: J. A. Rodríguez Díaz, A. Mérida García, R. González Perea and I. Fernández García, University of Córdoba, Spain;
  • 8. Solar-powered irrigation systems: recent developments and future trends: Muhammad Arif Watto, CSIRO Environment Business Unit, Australia; Maria Shabir, University of Foggia, Italy; Ali Sher, School of Management, Guangzhou University, China; and Muhammad Awais Ali Khan, Independent Researcher, UK;

Part 3 Improving water resources allocation and management

  • 9. Advances in farmer-led irrigation development in Africa: Phil Woodhouse, University of Manchester, UK;
  • 10. Managing the irrigation efficiency paradox to “free” water for the environment: Bruce Lankford, University of East Anglia, UK; and Matthew McCartney, International Water Management Institute, Sri Lanka;
  • 11. Developments in water sharing and water trading: Juliane Haensch, University of Göttingen, Germany; and Sarah Ann Wheeler, University of Adelaide, Australia;
  • 12. Modernizing major and medium irrigation schemes in India: formulating a programme of change: Martin Burton, Water Resources and Irrigation Management, UK; M. G. Shivakumar, Asian Development Bank; India; Rahul Sen, Water Resources Policy and Institutions, India; Kuppannan Palanisami, International Water Management Institute, India; and Lance Gore, Asian Development Bank, The Philippines;

Part 4 Addressing future water and climate risks

  • 13. PRECIMED: development of a decision support system (DSS) for precision irrigation in Mediterranean agriculture: María F. Ortuño, Andrés Parra, Juan J. Alarcón and María J. Gómez-Bellot, Centro de Edafología y Biología Aplicada del Segura (CEBAS-CSIC), Spain; Antonio Skarmeta, Manuel Mora and Rafael Marín, Odin Solutions S.L. (ODINs), Spain; Nikolaos Katsoulas, Sofia Faliagka and Dimitris K. Papanastasiou, University of Thessaly (UTH), Greece; Mohammed Semiani, Farouk Eddine Belkhiri and Smadhi Dalila, National Institute of Agronomic Research of Algeria (INRAA), Algeria; and Khouloud Boukadi, Rima Grati and Bassem Bouaziz, University of Sfax (OPTIM), Tunisia;
  • 14. Integrating biophysical and hydraulic models to assess the agronomic and environmental impacts of precision irrigation: A. Daccache, University of California, USA; and J. W. Knox and T. M. Hess, Cranfield University, UK;
  • 15. Managing the impacts of climate change, droughts and water scarcity on agriculture: Ray-Shyan Wu, National Central University, Taiwan; and Fiaz Hussain, PMAS-Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi, Pakistan;
  • 16. The water–energy–food nexus (WEF): Oscar Melo, Sadurní Vendrell and William Foster, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile;