MOOC Agricultural Water Management: Water, Society and Technology Interactions

Would you like to meet the increasing food demands around the world by contributing to optimisation of water governance and technologies? At Wageningen University & Research, the No. 1 agricultural university of the world, we approach water management from both a technical and a social perspective. Because, properly deploying water technologies for successful water management requires social and institutional agreement. Join us and learn the fundamentals of agricultural water management.

Organised by Wageningen University & Research
Duration 10 weeks, 4-5 hours per week

Why follow this course?

Increasingly scarce natural resources

Worldwide, a variety of processes puts more pressure on water resources every day. Global climate change causes temperatures to rise and precipitation patterns to change. A growing degree of urbanization causes people to move from the countryside to the cities. This results in increased competition over water resources, like rivers and groundwater, between cities and their surrounding areas. Furthermore, population growth and rising global welfare create an increased demand for food.

The growing demand for food must be obtained using existing agricultural land, since we are already dealing with scarcity of new farmland. Yet, the potential of increased production in the existing rain-fed agricultural areas is low.

Sustainable water management; various perspectives to consider

The combination of the processes described above create an urgent need for improved agricultural water management, agriculture being the dominant water user worldwide. In our search for sustainable solutions the management and governance regarding irrigation and drainage should take a number of water related aspects into account, among which:

  • the different perspectives of involved uses and users
  • including various spatial levels, from farm, to scheme, to river basin
  • minding the effects on both upstream and downstream water users
  • each of which must be combined with the right quantity and quality of water

Wageningen University & Research is actively involved in debates on water and food. Predominantly focussing on the combination of both water technologies and social factors, this creates a unique socio-technical approach.

Putting theory into practice

In this MOOC we will focus on the role agricultural water management plays in this global context of sustainable water and food supplies. The online course consists of several learning modules, combined with a case study.

Water Technology - drip irrigation
Water Technology - drip irrigation

We start by taking a deep dive into practical and technical aspects, from crop characteristics and irrigation water requirements to actual field practices.
Subsequently, we explore the institutional perspective, from models of rural development to water management demands.

Agricultural Water Management Morocco
Agricultural Water Management Morocco

The case study videos and interviews from Morocco create the opportunity for you to directly apply your newly acquired knowledge in a real-life situation.


We developed the MOOC: Agricultural Water Management: Water, Society and Technology Interactions in close cooperation with IAV (Institute Agronomique et Veterinaire Hassan II) in Rabat, Morocco. Specifically, professor Hammani (director of the institute) and researcher Ms. Kettani supported us greatly during the development of this MOOC. The case is situated in the Tadla irrigation scheme, where we were supported by the ORMVA-T. Special thanks go to Mohamed Saaf, chef of ORMVA-Tadla, for the support we received in the field.

Online course Agricultural Water Management: Water, Society and Technology Interactions

Is this course for you?

This MOOC is for anyone with basic knowledge of social and biophysical sciences, ready to contribute to improving agricultural water management from where they are. Are you ready? Join us, enrol now!

What you will learn:

  • Explain the allocation, distribution, governance and use of water
  • Apply the basic principles of estimating irrigation water requirements
  • Explain relations between water management practices and local agricultural conditions
  • Understand the relation between water technologies, management & governance
  • Analyse the interrelations between institutional and infrastructural designs for sustainable water management in agriculture