Advanced Water Management for Food Production

Learn to identify and develop water resources and how to manage those resources for efficient water utilization for crop production and food security.

  • D
  • 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.

  • E

Joint Programme, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, USA and IHE Delft, The Netherlands20 months, starts in October

Apply now for


For whom?

The target group for this specialization are professionals working at ministries, authorities, river basin and water users associations, universities, research institutes, civil society organizations, and consultants engaged in or interested in the fields of planning, water resources, agriculture, engineering, environment, public works, or related fields.


Students who successfully complete this double degree program will be awarded two Masters degrees: one from IHE Delft and one from UNL. The degree students receive from IHE Delft is the MSc degree in Water Science and Engineering with a specialization in Land and Water Development. UNL will award the MS degree in Agricultural and Biological Systems Engineering, with a specialization in Advanced Water Management for Food Production.


Start: 17 October 2019
Application deadline: 01 August 2019

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 food production;
  • Be able to use 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 developers, system managers and water users on the participatory development and management, including operation and maintenance of the irrigation, drainage and flood protection schemes;
  • Be able to identify and develop available water resources for food production
  • Be able to enhance the of on-farm irrigation systems through better design and management;
  • Be able to understand and formulate water management methodologies to enhance crop production with limited water supplies;
  • Acquire knowledge and understanding of contemporary research issues in the field of land and water development and water for food;
  • Be able to formulate research questions, articulate research methodologies, develop study plans, and adequately communicate research results and conclusions in written and oral forms to a wide variety of audience. 

Structure & contents

The Advanced Water Management for Food Production program offers students the opportunity to study in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA and Delft, the Netherlands at two institutions known for providing exceptional postgraduate education in water and agriculture: UNL and IHE Delft. The program consists of a total of eight IHE Delft modules, each three weeks in duration, and ten UNL semester courses, each with a duration of 15 weeks. After completing coursework, students undertake an individual MS/MSc research project within a country of their choice and with the approval of their academic advisors. Students begin their studies in October at IHE Delft, the Netherlands, where they complete modules one through eight.

  • October - April

    IHE Delft, The Netherlands
    • Week 1 + Introduction to Water Science and Engineering Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. 1 Discuss and explain the relevant issues of the global agenda for water and sustainable development; understand the field of water science and engineering, identify its different specialisations and understand the structure of the programme at IHE Delft;
      2. 2 Reviewing, understanding, and applying: a) Mathematical concepts and techniques relevant to water science and engineering; b) Statistical and frequency analysis concepts and techniques that are relevant to water science and engineering;
      3. 3 Understand processes at the surface of the Earth that form and sculpt landscapes. Geologic processes comprise sedimentation compaction, tectonic uplifts and subsidence, and act on a long time scale. Geomorphologic processes comprise the action of water, wind, ice, fire, and living things on the surface of the Earth, along with chemical reactions that form soils and alter material properties. Geomorpological processes act on an intermediate time scale. Furthermore, in the very recent past during the anthropocene, humans have profoundly altered the landscape. Human induced processes are relatively short term, and occur rapidly. Many of these factors are strongly mediated by climate. What is the role of water as an agent of change, and how do water systems respond to these various driving forces?
    • Hydraulics and Hydrology Required

      Course at Ain Shams

    • Principles and Practices of Land and Water Development Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      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.
    • Design Aspects of Irrigation and Drainage Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      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.
    • Tertiary Unit Design and Hydraulics Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      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.
    • Socio-economic and Environmental Aspects of Irrigation and Drainage Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      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
    • Conveyance and Irrigation Structures Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      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. Understand the factors that influence the functioning of a surface drainage system and design a surface drainage system;
      5. Select the appropriate type of structure for irrigation and drainage networks, to establish the boundary conditions and to prepare a preliminary hydraulic design;
      6. 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.
    • Management of Irrigation and Drainage Systems Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Formulate objectives for irrigation development, modernisation and management and understand the consequences for irrigation management and users
      2. Comprehend various forms and levels of irrigation management organisations and different levels of water delivery service and associated costs
      3. Have gained insights into the laws, legislations, and traditions pertaining to the development and use of water resources for agriculture
      4. Identify the relation between water rights arrangements and water delivery, allocation and decision-making
      5. Design water management plans including justifiable decisions on agreements between stakeholders, water delivery and distribution between different users, division of tasks and responsibilities including payments among stakeholders, and monitoring and evaluation for assessing system performance

Upon completion of their IHE Delft coursework, students travel in May to UNL in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA to complete the remainder of their studies. This includes summer courses in research methodology, project proposal preparation, and field methods, followed by MS/MSc field research for their thesis. Thesis research will be advised by faculty from both UNL and IHE Delft. Following summer research field work, students take remaining courses and write their thesis, defend their thesis during the spring semester and graduate in May of their second year. Students will graduate at UNL.

  • May - May

    University of Nebraska, Lincoln, USA
    • Field Course: Measurement Techniques in Hydrology and Irrigation Required

      Course at UNL

    • Plant-Water Relations Required

      Course at UNL

    • Groundwater Geology Required

      Course at UNL

    • Water Law, Planning and Policy Required

      Course at UNL

    • Advanced Irrigation and Drainage Systems Engineering Required

      Course at UNL

    • Advanced Irrigation Management Required

      Course at UNL

    • Masters Research Project for Advanced Water Management for Food Production Required

      Course at UNL

Tuition & fellowships

Information about tuition fees can be found here.


Application & Admission

Admission requirements

Academic admission to the Master programmes may be granted to applicants who provide evidence of having:

  • a university level Bachelor’s degree in an appropriate field, which has been awarded by a university of recognised standing, comparable in level with a Bachelor degree from a research university in the Netherlands.
  • a good command of the English language, if this is not the first language. All non-native English-speaking applicants must satisfy the English language requirements for IHE Delft's educational programmes.
  • the undergraduate curriculum included a course in ordinary differential equations and fluid mechanics.
  • minimum Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score 25th percentile in the verbal portion and 50th percentile in the quantitative portion. You have to take this test and follow the instructions. The GRE test results will be sent to IHE Delft directly. Only after receipt of these test results, your application will be taken into consideration. Therefore you are advised to sit for this test as soon as possible.For more information visit:

Several years of professional experience in an area of work related to the specialisation is an asset.

Please note: The GRE test results will be sent to IHE Delft directly, so there is no need to upload these results during your online application.

Application procedure

For admission to the programme please complete the online application, the link to the application section of our website is available at the top of this page.

You need to submit the following documents:

  • Certified copies of degrees/diplomas.
  • Certified copies of academic transcripts. Authenticated or certified copies are copies with an official stamp to verify that the copies are true copies of original documents. This official stamp may be from one of the following: a solicitor/notary, the educational institution from where the student gained the diplomas or the local council/local authority/local government office.
  • Two reference letters, preferably one from a person that can judge students' professional abilities and one from a person that can judge his/her academic abilities. One recommendation letter has to come from the current employer (if available) and another one from the university the student graduated from. Letters have to have an official letterhead and need to be signed.
  • Motivation letter (maximum 500 words explanation why he/she applies for admission to the chosen programme).
  • Copy of passport.
  • Copy of results of English language test score (if required, see English language requirements).

Please note all documents are required to be in English, or officially translated into English.

One cannot apply for more than one programme per academic year, unless there is a period of at least 3 months between the starting dates of the programmes of interest. If a student applies for an Erasmus Mundus programme for which Erasmus Mundus fellowships are available, he/she can also apply for another programme. If the other programme is also an Erasmus Mundus programme, the applicant can submit up to 3 applications.

More information

Further questions about the application procedure can be addressed to:

Ms Ineke Melis
Admission and Fellowship Officer


Connect with us

Never miss a thing!