The Water Resources Management Group plays a major role in international research on irrigation and water management set in the context of rural transformation. Its staff and PhD candidates participate in collaborative research and training programmes in a number of countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa, through work with NGO's, Universities and Research Institutes in the South and with national research programmes of CGIAR-centres such as IWMI. The Group participates in the graduate school WASS (Wageningen School of Social Sciences).
The objective of WRM’s research programme is to promote knowledge of appropriate design, development and use of irrigation and other water engineering technologies and the relationships between these technologies and rural development. Through our research we aim to contribute to water and land management that promotes emancipation of the rural population, while also being environmentally sound, socially sustainable and appropriate to contemporary water resource conditions.
Over the years our work has shown that irrigation and water management systems can be designed and managed to be effective, equitable and sustainable – although often they are not. Current design and operation of irrigation systems all too frequently still fail to address agro-ecological and social dynamics effectively, both in large public systems and in interventions into farmer-managed systems. Also, past irrigation and water related interventions have generally not resulted in equitable or sustainable development.