Agricultural Water Management for Enhanced Land and Water Productivity

You will learn to deal with the scientific and engineering knowledge needed for the sustainable management of water for agriculture and food security, irrigation and drainage, IWRM, agronomy, hydrology and hydrodynamics.

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  • J

    What is Joint Programme

    Part of the programme is given at a partner institute, often in another country/continent. Joint programmes have varying start and end dates.

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Joint Programme, AIT, Bangkok, Thailand and UNESCO-IHE, Delft, the Netherlands 20 months, starts in August

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For whom?

Young professionals working at ministries, authorities, river basin and water users associations, universities, research institutes, civil society organisations, and consultants dealing with or interested in the fields of planning, water resources, agriculture, environment, public works, or related fields.


Students who successfully complete this programme will be awarded two Master degrees: one from UNESCO-IHE and one from AIT. The degree students receive from UNESCO-IHE is the MSc degree in Water Science and Engineering, with a specialization in Hydraulic Engineering - Land and Water Development. AIT will award a degree in Water Engineering and Management.


Start: 15 August 2015
Submission deadline: 15 July 2015

Learning objectives

After completing this specialization, you will: 

  • Have in-depth understanding and specific knowledge of the latest concepts and theories of irrigation, drainage, flood protection, land reclamation and consolidation technologies for sustainable development, and the cross-sectoral linkages comprehending wider aspects of society, economy and the environment;
  • Be able to use the latest hydraulic engineering and hydrological methods to apply in planning, design and implementation of irrigation, drainage and flood protection schemes, independently or in a multidisciplinary team;
  • Be able to identify and cross-evaluate alternative land and water development options for areas under different land uses and assess their feasibility; technologically, economically, and environmentally;
  • Be able to engage in or advise the developers, system managers and water users on the participatory development and management, including operation and maintenance of the irrigation, drainage and flood protection schemes;
  • Have acquired knowledge and understanding of contemporary research issues in the field of land and water development.

Structure & contents

The AWM programme offers students the possibility to study at two renowned institutes for international postgraduate education: AIT and UNESCO-IHE. The coursework part of the programme starts at AIT in Bangkok in August, where students follow a number of courses until the second half of December.

  • August - December

    AIT, Bangkok, Thailand
    • Hydrodynamics Required

      Course at AIT

    • Irrigation and Drainage Engineering Required

      Course at AIT

    • Watershed Hydrology Required

      Course at AIT

    • Integrated Water Resources Management Required

      Course at AIT

In early January, they move to Delft where they join students in UNESCO-IHE’s Water Science and Engineering programme for nine modules including the international field trip. Students then move back to Bangkok for their individual thesis research work.

  • January - August

    UNESCO-IHE, Delft, The Netherlands
    • Principles and Practices of Land and Water Development Required
      Learning Objectives
      1. Refresh knowledge about engineering properties of soil, its classification, stresses, strength and deformation.
      2. Understand the importance of irrigation and drainage for global food production and economics.
      3. Understand the relevance, concept, elements and needs of irrigation and drainage.
      4. Be able of making a preliminary layout and design of gravity irrigation and drainage networks.
    • Water Management Systems and Agronomy I Required
      Learning Objectives
      1. Analyse and evaluate the various types of flow and to apply the hydraulic principles for uniform and non-uniform open channel, and flow in specific hydraulic structures in irrigation and drainage engineering issues
      2. Analyse soil-water-crop yield relationships, management options under land or water scarcity and water saving techniques, and be able to determine crop water requirements
      3. Discuss crop water requirements, drainage requirements and understand their mutual relationship
      4. Determine the boundary conditions required for water delivery and distribution systems at field level
      5. Select appropriate irrigation and drainage methods under different physical and agricultural circumstances
      6. Make a preliminary layout and design of a gravity irrigation and drainage network at tertiary level.
    • Water Management Systems and Agronomy II Required
      Learning Objectives
      1. Analyse and evaluate and to apply the hydraulic principles for pipe flow in irrigation and drainage engineering.
      2. Present, process and interpret results of hydraulic laboratory measurements in a technical report
      3. Explain the principles of the hydrological cycle, the basic characteristics of precipitation and evaporation, the principles of reservoir operation.
      4. Apply some statistical tools used in hydrology, rainfall-runoff relations and design floods
      5. Have an understanding of water-crop yield relationships, management options under land or water scarcity and water saving techniques and be able to determine crop water requirements.
    • Aspects of Irrigation and Drainage Required
      Learning Objectives
      1. Select a suitable flow control system, the appurtenant flow control structures and to specify the operation rules of the structures and social implications of applied irrigation techniques for different users
      2. Assess the sediment transport in irrigation canals and to evaluate the effect of various operation scenarios on the sedimentation; make a design of the horizontal and vertical alignment of irrigation canals considering various sediment conditions and modes of operation and maintenance;
      3. Discuss the importance of all environmental and social aspects that complete the determination of the feasibility of any land development project
      4. Describe the economic feasibility of land development projects and have a first understanding of financial reporting
    • Service Oriented Management of Irrigation Systems Required
      Learning Objectives
      1. Formulate policy objectives for irrigation development and management
      2. Gain insight to the laws, legislations, and traditions pertaining to the development and use of water resources for agriculture
      3. Identify water delivery arrangements including suitable flow control amenable to objectives
      4. Comprehend different levels of water delivery service and associated costs
      5. Conceptualize legislative, organisational and financial attributes of irrigation service delivery
      6. Draw up service agreements considering cost recovery and accountability; Design asset management programs and action plans for implementation; and Devise monitoring & evaluation and benchmarking systems for assessing system performance
    • Conveyance Systems Required
      Learning Objectives
      1. Make simple unsteady flow computations for open channels and closed conduits
      2. Apply DUFLOW for non-steady flow phenomena in open irrigation and drainage networks; to evaluate the results and to assess the advantages and disadvantages of the model for solving surface flow problems
      3. Assess the advantages and disadvantages of various numerical schemes for solving sets of equations in surface flow modelling and to select the appropriate models for stationary and non-stationary flow in open channels and in pipes and to evaluate the results
      4. Determine the requirements for water table and salinity control in irrigated areas; Understand the factors that influence the functioning of a surface drainage system; Design a surface drainage system
      5. Explain the use of modern tools as RS and GIS in combination with the use of computer models
      6. Have a basic insight in the need and format of laws pertaining to the development and use of water resources and have a general understanding of law, legislation, common law and traditions
    • Irrigation and Drainage Structures Required
      Learning Objectives
      1. Select the appropriate type of structure for irrigation and drainage networks, to establish the boundary conditions and to prepare a preliminary hydraulic design;
      2. Understand and analyse environmental aspects of land and water development projects, identify environmental impacts, and to identify measures to alleviate or mitigate the negative impacts;
      3. Identify the suitability of various types of pumps in specific situations, to define the boundary conditions for the application of pumps and lifting devices, to assess the requirements for operation and maintenance.
    • Advanced Methods and Equipment Required
      Learning Objectives
      1. Determine the requirements for water table and salinity control in irrigated areas; Understand the factors that influence the functioning of a drainage system; Design a subsurface drainage system
      2. Design surface and overhead pressure irrigation systems and understand the need for drainage in irrigated areas
      3. Explain the use of modern tools as RS and GIS in combination with the use of computer models
      4. Predict effects of different water qualities on agricultural crops, and stock farming and human health
      5. Determine the effects and related water management and land use zoning that are involved when living in flood prone areas
      6. Discuss the interactions between land use, water management and flood control in flood prone areas

Tuition & fellowships

Information about tuition fees can be found here.

The following fellowships are recommended for prospective students who wish to study Agricultural Water Management for Enhanced Land and Water Productivity

  • Joint Japan Worldbank Graduate Scholarship Programme (JJ/WBGSP)

    Participants from World Bank member countries can apply for a fellowship from the Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Programme (jj/wbgsp).

    more info:


    The deadline for applications for the Master Programmes that start in October is March 31 of that same year.

  • Netherlands Fellowship Programme (NFP)

    The Netherlands Fellowship Programmes (NFP) promote capacity building within organisations in 51 countries by providing training and education through fellowships for professionals.

    The overall aim of the NFP is to help increase both the number and the competencies of skilled staff at a wide range of governmental and non-governmental organisations. You have to be nominated by your employer to be eligible for the fellowship. There also has to be a clear need for training within the context of your organisation. 

    Fellowship application procedure per modality: 

    • For more info about how to apply for a NFP fellowship for a MSc Specialization at UNESCO-IHE click here
    • For more info about how to apply for a NFP fellowship for a Short or Online Course at UNESCO-IHE visit the Short Course or Online Course webpage.

    more info:


    Use the Nuffic Grantfinder to find a suitable fellowship

Application & Admission

Application procedure

Candidates with a bachelor’s degree preferably in Civil, Agricultural, or Environmental Engineering or related fields are eligible to apply. In principle, candidates should have a minimum of three years of practical or research experience in water management (irrigation, drainage) or on integrated rural development/management since graduation. All applications are, however, considered on their individual merits. Since instruction and examinations are given in English, it is essential that participants have a good working knowledge of the English language. If there is any doubt about a candidate’s proficiency in English, he or she will be required to take one of the internationally recognised language tests before confirmation of admittance.

You can apply to either UNESCO-IHE or AIT. For UNESCO-IHE please complete the online application form and attach the requested documents (see below).


Collect the documents that are needed to apply, and attach them to the online application form:

  • Certified photocopies of your degrees/ diplomas;
  • Certified copy of academic transcripts translated in English (this is a list with subjects that you followed at university, including the marks you obtained);
  • Two reference letters, preferably one from a person that can judge your professional abilities (current employer) and one from a person that can judge your academic abilities;
  • Copy of passport;
  • Passport size photo;
  • Copy of results of English language test score, if required (see the English language requirements).

For AIT you can download the application form from AIT's website, and submit the completed form with required documents. Alternatively, you can also submit your application online from the same website. Please mention clearly which programme you are applying for. Candidates are always encouraged to apply for an NFP fellowship, besides any other forms of sponsorship they may be pursuing. Please see here more information on fellowships.

The application deadline for the Joint Double Degree programmes is 15 May of the same year. You have to take into account that, in case you wish to apply for financial assistance, the fellowship application deadline is usually much earlier. Applications can be sent throughout the year.

More information

Further questions about the application procedure can be addressed to:

Ms. Ineke Melis
Admission and Fellowship Officer