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The contribution of information systems in maintaining large-scale irrigation schemes

Passouant M., Le Gal P.Y., Keita B.. 2010. Irrigation and Drainage, 59 (3) : p. 241-253.

DOI: 10.1002/ird.469

The maintenance of hydraulic networks, along with the distribution of water, is a primary function of irrigation scheme management. Maintenance normally passes through four stages (planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation) which marshal information exchanged between diverse stakeholders. This article shows how the management of such information was computerized on a large irrigation scheme in the Office du Niger in Mali, and the impact this had on the management of maintenance. After analyzing initial procedures and assessing stakeholders' needs, a conceptual model was built based on four components: Operation and Maintenance Unit, annual maintenance plan, maintenance activity, and nomenclature. The software developed on this basis enables one to describe the network and the contractors involved in maintenance operations, record annual maintenance plans and work accomplished each year, and manage the different nomenclatures required in the application of the software. Automated output in the form of tables and graphs facilitates decision-making based on records of past operations. The software was designed and implemented based on the results of an initial experimental phase, which also led to the creation of a data processing unit in charge of managing the information system of the Office du Niger. The whole process enabled a more coherent organization of maintenance operations while addressing problems related to training and staff commitment. Farmer participation, however, remains limited at this stage.

Mots-clés : réseau d'irrigation; mali

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