A decision support tool for irrigation infrastructure investments

Shahbaz Khan, Shahbaz Mushtaq, Charlie Chen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    21 Citations (Scopus)


    Increasing water scarcity, climate change and pressure to provide water for environmental flows urge irrigators to be more efficient. In Australia, ongoing water reforms and most recently the National Water Security Plan offer incentives to irrigators to adjust their farming practices by adopting water-saving irrigation infrastructures to match soil, crop and climatic conditions. WaterWorks is a decision support tool to facilitate irrigators to make long- and short-term irrigation infrastructure investment decisions at the farm level. It helps irrigators to improve the economic efficiency, water use efficiency and environmental performance of their farm businesses. WaterWorks has been tested, validated and accepted by the irrigation community and researchers in NSW, Australia. The interface of WaterWorks is user-friendly and flexible. The simulation and optimisation module in WaterWorks provides an opportunity to evaluate infrastructure investment decisions to suit their seasonal or long-term water availability. The sensitivity analysis allows substantiation of the impact of major variables. Net present value, internal rate of return, benefit-cost ratio and payback period are used to analyse the costs and benefits of modern irrigation technology. Application of WaterWorks using a whole farm-level case study indicates its effectiveness in making long- and short-term investment decisions. WaterWorks can be easily integrated into commercial software such as spreadsheets, GIS, real-time data acquisition and control systems to further enhance its usability. WaterWorks can also be used in regional development planning. © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)404-418
    Number of pages15
    JournalIrrigation and Drainage
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


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