Egyptian agriculture is uniquely dependent on water, with over 95 per cent of agricultural production originating from land irrigated by the Nile. The improvement of irrigation systems and better control over water by farmers is therefore crucial to the drive to raise productivity in the current ocntext of scarce water resources, rich but underutilized land and changes in the institutional environment of the economy after "liberalization". This text evaluates the ambitious state-of-the-art Irrigation Improvement Project (IIP) and should be of interest to all those concerned with issues of water and development in the Middle East.
Part 1 Irrigation in Egypt - the traditional and the new system: the agricultural sector of Egypt; three problems faced by the agricultural sector; the irrigaiton improvement project; the traditional Egyptian irrigaiton system; the IIP improvements. Part 2 The improvement of irrigation system performance - a review of the literature: the irrigaiton management tradition; the reasons for system improvement; the performance of public irrigaiton systems; major determinants of the improvement of irrigaiton system performance; approaches to the improvement of irrigation system performance; conclusion - the characteristics and problems of the research field. Part 3 Towards an analytic framework: the theoretical framework; basic assumption and concepts; hypotheses; what can the study contribute? Part 4 Methodology: sources; the design of the field survey; the validity of the field survey; evidence of internal validity in the field survey; conclusion - internal and external validity. Part 5 Three filed survey areas: the Herz-Numaniya command area; Beni Ibeid command area; the Qiman el Arus command area. Part 6 Improving farmers' water control: the survey findings; bivariate analyses; combining evidence. Part 7 Saving scarce land resources: findings; savings in land; discussion. Part 8 Increasing farm income: a framework for analysis; presentation of findings; combining evidence. Part 9 The impact of the DSC package; a demand-driven spread of the DSC package? can the findings be generalized?