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Gerald Lacey lecture 2022 - Just add water: A history of irrigation management in India

Event organised by The Irrigation and Water Forum

16 May 2022

This event has now ended


Join us at this year’s Gerald Lacey lecture, to be delivered by IJsbrand de Jong, a water resources specialist at the World Bank.

The lecture will explore how irrigation in India has changed, and the reasons for these changes.

It will also look at how public irrigation agencies can become more accountable and sustainable, and improve the quality of services they deliver.

How India moved from protective to groundwater irrigation

Irrigation in India has changed significantly since the days that Gerald Lacey was the principal of the University of Roorkee.

Most notably, groundwater irrigation has largely replaced protective irrigation, which aimed to spread water thinly over as large an area as possible and was widely practised in North India.

Groundwater irrigation now accounts for almost two-thirds of India’s irrigation water supply.

Service delivery, the political economy, and the governance of irrigation in India have all played a role in this transition.

The quality of irrigation services is therefore closely linked to the judicious use of groundwater.

Recent developments in the monitoring of irrigation performance through remote sensing have made it possible to introduce performance-based irrigation management and can help improve these services.

Join us as we advance the thinking around the management of water resources and irrigation.


12:45 - 13:00


13:00 - 13:10

Welcome and introduction by Dr Ian Tod, chair, Irrigation and Water Forum (IWF)

13:10 - 14:00

Keynote by IJsbrand de Jong, water resources specialist at World Bank Group

14:00 - 14:20

Q&A session

14:20- 14:30

Closing remarks and session closes


IJsbrand de Jong

IJsbrand de Jong

World Bank

lead water resources specialist

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IJsbrand de Jong

IJsbrand de Jong is based in Jakarta where he provides advice on the strategy and long-term policy and program for water resources management, irrigation, drainage, and flood control in Indonesia. He was previously the World Bank’s Lead Water Resources Specialist for South Asia, based in New Delhi, India and in Central Asia, based in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Prior to joining the World Bank, Mr. de Jong held positions with the United Nations, NGOs and the private sector across Asia and Africa in the field of irrigation, water resources management and rural development.

Mr. de Jong holds a Master of Science degree in Water Resources from the University of Wageningen, the Netherlands.

For more information please contact:

Barbara Etzi