Irrigation suitability map

In February 2011 FutureWater in collaboration with WaterWatch started a research on the irrigation potential of the seven Nile Equatorial Lakes (NEL) countries, on behalf of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) and in cooperation with the Regional Agriculture and Trade Program (RATP). In the first phase the countrywide irrigation potential was studied for Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, South Sudan, Tanzania and the Eastern part of DR Congo. After the ‘FAO land and water bulletin nr.4, 1997’ this is the first study which takes a physical approach and does it on a very detailed scale with a 250 m resolution. High resolution (remote sensing) data is used in combination with local available data. The study made use of the “NelMod” model, in combination with ‘CropWat’ and high level GIS analysis. The factors included in the analysis are: i) soil properties, ii) terrain and slope, iii) water availability and distance to (potential) water, and iv) accessibility. These factors are all scaled to 0-100% suitability and combined in a final irrigation potential map. (see figure) This map is very useful for decision makers and donors in the view of irrigation development. In this way the study can largely contribute to the millennium development goals of reducing hunger and poverty.

Based on this first phase and the local experience the local authorities have all selected 4-5 so called focal areas, for which a pre-feasibility study is carried out. In this second phase a close cooperation with local experts, government officials and FutureWater staff has taken place to assess all the focal areas on the irrigation possibilities, possible production increase, farmers’ knowledge, potential cost/benefits etc. Results from these pre-feasibility studies can be found in the report.

The assessment of the Irrigation Potential study resulted in a irrigation suitability map. This map can be downloaded as jpeg or as GeoTIFF. Click on the links below to download the suitable format:

More information regarding this project can be found on the project page.