The issue of water scarcity is intensifying across the Asia Pacific region, posing significant challenges for sustainable agricultural production and water resources management. The Water Scarcity Program (WSP), designed by FAO-RAP and partners, aims to bring agricultural water use within sustainable limits and prepare the sector for a productive future with less water. The program aims to assess the ongoing issue of water scarcity in the region, evaluate potential management options, and assist partner countries to implement adaptive management in the agriculture water sector using innovative tools and approaches.

As part of the WSP, FutureWater will design and deliver a two-phase water accounting training program in Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand, respectively. The first phase of the training will primarily focus on introducing and better understanding the concept of water accounting, its components and approaches. Participants will also work with tools such as REWAS and Follow the Water (developed by FutureWater in collaboration with FAO) to conduct water accounting in agricultural systems at different scales. Through the use of these tools, participants will be able to estimate real water savings at system and basin scale, and also analyze the impact of different irrigation schemes on the overall water availability in the system. The second phase will consist of participants working on the selected basin in each country to develop a detailed water account. Given the data availability and accessibility issues in the region, the participants will learn how to access, process and analyse remotely sensed datasets using Google Earth Engine.

In addition to the trainings, FutureWater will also provide technical inputs for the regional WSP events on water scarcity and highlight the technical challenges of implemeting water accounting and allocation in south-east Asia for the WSP High Level Technical Meeting to be held in June 2024.

The first annual meeting of BONEX took place from 30 May – 1 June in Jordan where all consortium partners came together to present their progress, highlight challenges and outline the next steps.

The project aims to promote the practical implementation of water, energy, food and ecosystem (WEFe) nexus through context-adapted technological innovations across seven countries in the Mediterranean region. As part of the project, FutureWater has been developing a tool, REWEF (Realistic Evaluation of Water, Energy, Food and Ecosystem nexus), that quantifies the linkages between the four sectors of the WEFe nexus and allows users to assess the impact of different interventions and scenarios on the system.

While the tool is still under development, a preliminary assessment of the demonstration site in the Axarquia region (Spain) was carried out. The impacts of different climate (drought) and socioeconomic (increasing irrigated land and population) scenarios on the water, energy, food and ecosystem sectors in the Axarquia region were assessed and presented at the annual meeting. Coordinators and members leading the Demonstration Projects (DPs) within BONEX expressed their interest in using the tool to analyze the status of the WEFe nexus at their respective sites.

In the coming months, FutureWater will be further developing and testing the tool in close collaboration with the DP leaders to evaluate the WEFe nexus in their respective regions.

For more information about BONEX (funded by PRIMA programme), please click here and also visit the official website.

BONEX consortium members visit the Demonstration Project in Jordan
The Demonstration Project in Jordan consists of solar powered hydroponic farming of cucumbers
Presenting the REWEF tool to the stakeholders at the German Jordanian University (GJU,Madaba)

In the context of the global water shortages and challenges for water savings in agricultural systems, this course introduces interventions and tools, and more specifically the real water savings in agricultural systems (REWAS) project, that aims to provide practical guidance on the implementation of real water savings.

Text from FAO elearning Academy website.


This course targets field-level programme officers and technical advisors in the water, food, irrigation and agricultural sectors. It is also relevant to anyone working or conducting research in these sectors.

You will learn about

  • The causes of water scarcity as well as its impacts on society.
  • Tools and approaches to achieving real water savings such as water accounting, allocation and productivity.
  • The potential impacts, both positive and negative, of water savings interventions as they relate to water accounting, allocation and productivity.

Digital certification

This course offers certification. You will get your digital badge upon passing a final exam after completing the course and achieve a grade of at least 75%.

You can find more information about the course and enroll at the FAO elearning Academy website.

The REWAS tool can be downloaded here.

Flyer of the course

Achieving water savings in agricultural systems is challenging and many projects in the past have failed to deliver the expected water savings. To achieve real water savings, FutureWater and FAO have organized training courses on Real Water Savings in Agricultural Systems (REWAS) in eight Asian countries.

The Food and Agriculture Organization Regional Office of South Asia and Pacific (FAO-RAP) has supported though its Water Scarcity Program training on real water savings. FutureWater has developed and delivered those training in eight Asian countries including: Iran, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, and India.

The REWAS training course introduces a simple tool to estimate the potential for generating real water savings from various agronomic, water management and technical practices in irrigated agriculture. Target audiences of the training were professionals working in water management (policy, academia, government, NGOs, private sector) from those eight. Participants gained a solid understanding of the linkages between field interventions (water, soil, agronomy) and basin-scale hydrology, in addition to being able to quantify these impacts. Over 300 participants successfully followed the trainings and were rewarded with a certificate.

A summary of the REWAS course will be soon available on the FAO elearning Academy.

Details and access to the REWAS tool can be found here.

A selection of feedback obtained from an anonymous survey at the end of the courses:

  • “All the sessions were informative and implementation of the knowledge acquired will help to make better decisions with regard to water usage policy.”
  • “It was an excellent training; a very practical tool ReWAS, great presentations and very instructive exercises.”
  • “I think this was a great training. Trainers explained very well and made it easy for students to understand. Thank you very much for providing this training. I now understand what is real water saving.”
  • “The training course design is very good and exercises are really interesting and lead to effective learning.”
  • “The real water savings was new concept for me and it will really help strengthen my knowledge and understandings.”

On 25th July and 2nd August 2022, FAO Pakistan conducted a Water Accounting Methodology Sharing workshop in Lahore (Punjab) and Karachi (Sindh), respectively. Peter Droogers (Senior Hydrologist) and Tania Imran (Consultant) from FutureWater joined the workshop to deliver introductory sessions on the concept of water accounting and the potential use of remote sensing.

The workshop was conducted as part of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) project titled “Transforming the Indus Basin with Climate Resilient Agriculture and Water Management”. The project aims to shift agriculture and water management to a new paradigm in which processes are effectively adapting to climate change.

Government officials from different provincial departments as well as researchers from various universities participated in both the workshops. Peter, as a Senior Water Specialist for the project, explained the concept of water accounting through interactive exercises and highlighted how water accounting can help analyze future scenarios and inform decision-making for sustainable water resources management. He also introduced the concept of real water savings in agriculture to broaden the participants’ perspectives and encourage them to reflect on what constitutes as ‘water losses’. Similarly, Tania shared the limitations of the existing WA methodology which solely relies on ground data and introduced opportunities for remote sensing to fill these gaps. As examples of geospatial analysis tools that can be employed for this task, she introduced Google Earth Engine and EarthMap to the participants through short exercises.

As one of the objectives of Component 1 of the project is to develop an interdisciplinary team to establish a water accounting system at four different scales, FutureWater is currently involved in building this interdisciplinary team and enhancing their technical capacity.

For this, one-on-one stakeholder meetings with different government organizations, such as Pakistan Meteorological Department, On-Farm Water Management and Provincial Irrigation Departments, also took place during the visit. The aim of these stakeholder meetings was to assess their existing technical capacity, identify training needs and gain an understanding of their desired outputs.

The next step is to design a training curriculum that will enable this interdisciplinary team to conduct water accounting at different spatiotemporal scales.


Workshop participants
Presentation by Peter Droogers

Agriculture is the most water demanding and consuming sector, globally responsible for most of the human induced water withdrawals. This abstraction of water is a critical input for agricultural production and plays an important role in food security as irrigated agriculture represents about 20 percent of the total cultivated land while contributing by 40 percent of the total food produced worldwide.

The FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (FAO-RAP) is concerned about this increase in water use over the last decades that has led to water scarcity in many countries. This trend will continue as the gap between water demand and supply is projected to widen due to factors such as population growth and economic development, and environmental factors such as land degradation and climate change.

Unfortunately, solutions to overcome the current and future water crisis by looking at the agricultural sector are not simple and have often led to unrealistic expectations. Misconceptions and overly simplistic (and often erroneous) views have been flagged and described over the last recent decades. However, uptake of those new insights by decision makers and the irrigation sector itself has been limited.

The “Follow the Water” project will develop a Guidance Document that summarizes those aspects and, more importantly, quantifies the return flows that occurs in irrigated systems. Those return flows are collected from a wide range of experiments and are collected in a database to be used as reference for new and/or rehabilitation irrigation projects.

The FAO/FutureWater project will also develop a simple-to-use tool to track water in irrigated systems using so-called “virtual tracers”. The tool will respond to the demand for a better understanding the role of reuse of water in irrigated agriculture systems. An extensive training package, based on the Guidance and the Tool, is developed as well.

FAO plays an essential role in backstopping the development of the Guidance and the Tool and promoting. FutureWater takes the lead in development of the Guidance, the Tool and the training package. With this, FAO and FutureWater will contribute to a sustainable future of our water resources.

Applications for the eLearning course Real Water Savings in Agriculture (REWAS) can be submitted starting today. This online course is organized by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and FutureWater at no costs and will be organized in August 2022. Focus will be on India. Participants will receive a FAO / FutureWater certificate after successful completion.

The REWAS training course will introduce a simple tool to estimate the potential for generating real water savings from various agronomic, water management and technical practices in irrigated agriculture. Target audience are professionals working in water management (policy, academia, government, NGOs, private sector). Participants will gain a solid understanding of the linkages between field interventions (water, soil, agronomy) and basin-scale hydrology, in addition to being able to quantify these impacts.

The REWAS tool will be distributed among the participants and can be used free of charge during and after the training.

The training is delivered as an eLearning and will be distributed over a 4-weeks period. Each week consists of approximately 1 hour of ‘live’ online learning with all participants (using videoconferencing tool) followed by about 3 to 5 hours of self-learning at ones own pace.

The live online learning sessions will take place at the following days (13:30-14:30 Indian Time):

Submit your application before 18-Jul-2022 by sending an email to Peter Droogers ( including:

  • name;
  • organization;
  • email address;
  • North or South India.

Downloadable flyers for both courses in North and South India by clicking the links.


Pakistan is ranked as the 8th most climate vulnerable country in the world as per the Global Climate Risk Index (2019) and in recent years has been facing the worst brunt of climate change. Irregular and intense precipitation, heatwaves, droughts, and floods have severely impacted the agriculture and water sector. Approximately, 90% of the country’s freshwater resources are utilized by the agricultural sector. However, lack of information services makes it a challenge to implement a water accounting system for improved water resources management.

The GCF funded project titled “Transforming the Indus Basin with Climate Resilient Agriculture and Water Management” aims to shift agriculture and water management to a new paradigm in which processes are effectively adapting to climate change and are able to sustain livelihoods. FAO Pakistan, as per the request of the Ministry of Climate Change, has designed the project to develop the country’s capacity to enhance the resilience of the agricultural and water sector. There are three major components:

1. Enhancing information services for climate change adaptation in the water and agriculture sectors
2. Building on-farm resilience to climate change
3. Creating an enabling environment for continued transformation

FutureWater will be actively involved in Component 1 which focuses on facilitating the development of a water accounting system and improving the availability and use of information services. Given the limited data availability in the region, FutureWater will integrate the use of remote sensing technologies within the existing Water Accounting methodology to address this gap. A capacity and needs assessment will be conducted and a series of tailor-made trainings will be designed subsequently to enable key government stakeholders to use open-source geospatial analysis tools as well as models to estimate real water savings, particularly in the context of agriculture. The trainings will help build the country’s capacity to implement water accounting at different spatiotemporal scales and cope with the worsening impacts of climate change.

The Mediterranean Region is facing growing challenges to ensure food and water supply as countries experience increasing demand and decreasing availability of natural resources. The nexus approach aims at managing and leveraging synergies across sectors with an efficient and integrated management of the Water, Energy, Food, and Ecosystems Nexus (WEFE).

BONEX objectives are to provide practical and adapted tools, examine concrete and context-adapted technological innovations, enhance policies and governance and facilitate WEFE Nexus practical implementation that balances the social, economic, and ecological trade-offs.

The project aims at producing a novel, transdisciplinary, diagnostic WEFE Bridging Framework, which combines methods in a context-specific manner and going beyond disciplinary silos. The diagnostic tools supporting the framework will be developed and tested in seven selected demonstration projects in the region which pilot innovative technologies (agrivoltaics, wastewater reuse systems, etc.).

As a result, BONEX will provide policymakers and practitioners with an interactive decision-making tool to evaluate trade-offs, synergies, and nexus solutions approaches in a transdisciplinary manner. Further, it will produce valuable experiences with tailoring innovative WEFE Nexus technologies that provides new business opportunities. The WEFE nexus approach is required to implement sustainable agri-food systems and preserve ecosystems.

Within BONEX FutureWater will actively contribute to the package of diagnostic tools. A simple water accounting tool (REWAS) will be used to evaluate if ‘Real Water Savings’ are achieved with innovative technologies. The water accounting tool evaluates water flows at field level and irrigation district scale and determines if any ‘real savings’ are achieved. The tool also incorporates the aspects of food production (crop yield) and will introduce components for evaluating energy and water quality aspects to complement the WEFE Nexus aspects. The seven demonstration projects will be used to demonstrate and iteratively develop this water accounting tool. A hydrological analysis is performed in selected locations to also evaluate the impact at basin (watershed) scale. Eventually the results from these analyses will be translated into policy implications and achievements of SDG’s (sustainable development goals).

This project is part of the PRIMA programme supported by the European Union.

Last month, FutureWater concluded training programs on Real Water Savings for Bangladesh, China and Indonesia.
This training was part of the project ‘Delivering Training on Real Water Savings (ReWaS) for the Regional Water Scarcity Program in Bangladesh, Indonesia, India, Thailand and China’ that FutureWater is rolling out in cooperation with the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (RAP) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

In this project, FutureWater offers a training program on Real Water Savings (ReWaS) to water management professionals from five different countries. ReWaS is a simple tool developed by FutureWater, to estimate the potential for generating real water savings from various agronomic, water management and technical practices in irrigated agriculture.

The training offered a tailored training package that facilitates an assessment of the impact of field scale crop-water interventions at the basin scale.For all the trainings so far, we had an enthusiastic and ambitious group of water experts ranging from university students to government officials. All participants were actively involved and worked very hard during the interactive live sessions and the homework assignments.

For each country, we provided a tailor-made case study that combined all the knowledge gained over the training program:
  • China: Towards groundwater neutral cropping systems in the Alluvial Fans of the North China Plain
  • Indonesia: Agronomic Performance and Economic Benefits of Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum L.) Under Drip Irrigation for Sandy and Clay Soils in East Java, Indonesia
  • Bangladesh: Effect of drip irrigation and mulching on yield, water-use efficiency and economics of tomato