Geomembranes are crucial to mitigating water loss – that was the message the IGS took to the 3rd World Irrigation Forum in Bali, Indonesia.
IGS Vice President Dr Nathalie Touze made the case for properly lining canal systems for environmental gains and economic efficiency at the seven-day International Commission for Irrigation and Drainage (ICID) event earlier this month (Sept).
In her keynote lecture, Dr Touze said two-thirds of the water conveyed in irrigation canals is lost upstream of farms due to a variety of factors including operation, evaporation and leaks. But geomembranes can prevent the severe loss of water common to poorly constructed irrigation systems.
Dr Touze’s talk, ‘Water Saving Upstream of The Farms’ outlined key challenges, before defining geosynthetics and their applications. Dr Touze then focused on geosynthetics’ use in canals.
She said: “This becomes essential to prevent issues including soil salination, reducing energy consumption connected to pumping, and reducing water losses. Geosynthetics materials have a huge part to play in barrier systems, protection, reinforcement and drainage.”
The audience of around 100 participants also heard about methods for both prolonging the life of geomembrane coverings and preventing vandalism through adequate covering materials. The considerable sustainability advantages and performance gains of using geomembranes over concrete or soil liners was emphasised.
Dr Touze also previewed findings from an upcoming book authored by geosynthetics pioneer JP Giroud and renowned World Bank consultant Hervé Plusquellec. Their book focuses on canal lining practice and the use of geomembranes for saving water resources. The title, yet to be confirmed, is due to be published by Taylor & Francis next year. The book discusses the impact of different types of lining on the management of water resources, with helpful case studies.
Dr Touze said she enjoyed attending the event, adding: “The IGS is looking forward to continue its collaboration with ICID through mutual invitations to conferences organized by our societies.”
ICID’s theme this year was ‘Development of water, food and nutrition security in a competitive environment’. The conference gathered multidisciplinary stakeholders to share best practice, ideas and solutions to the challenges facing the agricultural irrigation industry.