Spate Irrigation

Spate irrigation is a type of water management that is unique to semi-arid enviroments. It is found in the Middle East, North Africa, West Asia, East Africa and parts of Latin America. MetaMeta Research developed, a website with extended information on spate irrigation such as practical notes, overview papers, articles, a photo library and much more.

We set up a Spate Irrigation Network; a community of spate irrigation professionals and practitioners. The network exchanges experiences and good practices, help upgrade training, identify priority fields for improvement and research and development. In 2016 the name was changed into Flood-Based Livelihoods Network. This name reflects the changed focus of the network, to strengthen livelihood benefits of not just spate irrigation, but of other major flood-based livelihood systems as well, including flood rise and flood recession, flood inundation, flood spreading weirs and water harvesting from roads. Moreover, by using ‘Livelihood’ instead of ‘Farming’, more topics such as fisheries, agro-forestry, climate change adaptation, buffering landscapes, wetland management and natural regeneration can be placed within the Network’s mandate.

For more information and to join the community visit the website.




page_articles   Guidelines on spate irrigation
F. van Steenbergen, P. Lawrence, A. Mehari Haile, M. Salman and J. Faurès, 2011.
  Modernization of Spate Irrigated Agriculture: a New Approach
Mehari Haile, B. Schultz and F. van Steenbergen, 2010.
  Agricultural Water Management in Ephemeral Rivers:Community Management in Spate Irrigation in Eritrea
B. Haile Ghebremariam and F. van Steenbergen, 2007.
  Improving Community Spate Irrigation
P. Lawrence and F. van Steenbergen, 2005.
  Spate Water Rights
F. van Steenbergen


Beneficial use of floods.
groundwater spate-irrigation
buffer-management water-governance