The irrigation sector plays a crucial role in food production, but there have been ongoing difficulties raising financing and sustaining the productivity of investments. In particular, maintenance has been a serious problem: cost recovery in the sector has been too low even to recover operation and maintenance fees. Traditional irrigation plans have been founded on massive public programs, many of which have been abandoned after a prolonged period of neglect.

There is a growing interest in using PPPs to provide more efficient and sustainable irrigation infrastructure and services. To assist practitioners in understanding some of the key issues on irrigation PPPs, WBI launched “Public-Private Partnerships in Irrigation Management,” an e-learning course, in July 2010.  This short course is a part of the WBI core learning program, “Climate Change Adaptation for Managing Agricultural Water.” It aims to improve our understanding of how some fundamental water management challenges can be addressed through private sector participation, a relatively new concept in agricultural water management in most countries. The developmet goal is to foster sustainable agriculture water services to farmers, an even more crucial goal in light of changing climate conditions.

The three 30-minute e-modules help break through the jargon and myths around PPPs, especially irrigation water management.  The goal is to understand the core features, the differences between various PPP models, and how a well-designed PPP can help overcome common problems with government-provided irrigation services. The e-learning draws on case studies and walks learners through the stages of developing a PPP transaction, from engaging with stakeholders to designing regulatory and monitoring arrangements. The e-learning course is available on WBI’s website ( under Learning > Learning Products > Climate Change Adaptation for Managing Agricultural Water.

WBI also held an e-conference on PPPs in irrigation on the Global PPP Network (  To view this, go to the Network, join if you are not a member, and view under Exchange > E-conferences.

To learn more about WBI’s work on PPP capacity building go to and look for public-private partnerships under WBI Topics.