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Practical Benchmarking for Improving Performance of 
Irrigation and Drainage Schemes

Date: Wednesday, 7 June 2017,

Time: 16:30-17:30 hours (Indian Standard Time - IST)





1. Practical Benchmarking for Improving Performance of  Irrigation and Drainage Schemes (Speaker: Dr. Martin Burton, UK)

2. Benchmarking of irrigation Projects – Maharashtra Case Study (Panelist: Dr. Sanjay Belsare, India)



Improving the performance of irrigation and drainage schemes is now an accepted reality in order to (a) meet the food needs of growing populations in many countries and (b) make better use of available land, water and human resources. Benchmarking is one of the tools in the performance improvement toolbox that can be used to achieve this objective.


Benchmarking can be defined as: “A systematic process for securing continual improvement through comparison with relevant and achievable internal or external norms and standards”. The overall aim of benchmarking is to improve the performance of an organisation or system as measured against its objectives. Benchmarking implies comparison – either internally with previous performance and desired future targets, or externally against similar organisations or systems. Benchmarking is essentially about learning and change, moving from one position to a better position through a better understanding and knowledge about key processes and components that contribute to enhanced performance.


This webinar outlines the basic principles of benchmarking as applied to the irrigation and drainage sector and goes on to present case studies where benchmarking has been used in a number of countries and states including Australia, Egypt, Maharashtra (India), Madhya Pradesh (India), Kyrgyzstan, Turkey and the United Kingdom. The common pitfalls of benchmarking will be discussed, together with a discussion on the key processes to be benchmarked and selection and use of indicators.

ICID, under its policy to extend its knowledge dissemination wider, is initiating Webinar Services for its members in particular and wider irrigation and drainage community in general. This is the Second Webinar being given under “ICID Webinar Services”, to to introduce standardized water accounting procedures that quantifies the watershed processes, assesses a safe level of exploitable water volumes and fixes the maximum amount of water that could be withdrawn and consumed by the irrigation sector.



Speaker - Dr. Martin Burton (UK)

Dr. Martin BurtonDr Burton is a specialist in water resources, irrigation management and institutional development with over 40 years’ experience in some 32 countries. He has an international reputation in the fields of water management, performance assessment, benchmarking, asset management and institutional development. He has a Masters degree in irrigation engineering and gained a PhD in 1993 for his research into computer aided management and simulation of irrigation systems. In 2004 he graduated from Henley Management College with an MBA, his dissertation focussing on applying change management processes to irrigation management transfer.


Currently Dr. Burton works as an independent consultant and has carried out assignments over the past ten years as a consultant to the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and the Food and Agricultural Organisation. Prior to working as an independent consultant Dr. Burton worked for 6 years as a Director of ITAD~Water Ltd. Before this he worked for 14 years at the Institute of Irrigation and Development Studies, University of Southampton, the last two years as Director. It was during this time that he developed his research in irrigation management, performance assessment and asset management planning, supervising MSc and PhD research and a number of research projects. He joined the University following a period of 9 years with consulting engineers Sir M. MacDonald and Partners (now Mott MacDonald), mostly overseas in Somalia, Indonesia, Kenya and Nepal.


Dr Burton has written over 50 papers and is the author of the book “Irrigation Management: Principles and Practices” and co-author of the book “Performance Assessment in the Irrigation and Drainage Sector: Practical Guidelines” prepared in collaboration with ICID and IWMI. He was also the lead author of the World Bank publication “Toolkit for Monitoring and Evaluation of Agricultural Water Management Projects” and co-author with Hector Malano of the World Bank/FAO/IPTRID publication “Guidelines for Benchmarking Performance in the Irrigation and Drainage Sector”. Dr Burton has been on the Editorial Board of Irrigation and Drainage Systems and has recently completed a research project with Cranfield University on benchmarking performance for potatoes and soft-fruit in the UK.



Interesting Links:


India: WUA benchmarking - http://wua.aquiferindia.org
IWMI Online Irrigation Benchmarking Services - http://oibsv2.iwmi.org/
UK Benchmarking -



Coordinator: Madhu Mohanan, Communication Officer, E-mail:  icid@icid.org


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