Measuring progress in agricultural water management: challenges and practical options
Measuring policy progress on agriculture and water policies is essential to help decision makers identify necessary policy changes and understand how further progress may be achieved to improve agricultural water management. A thorough review of existing evaluations of agriculture and water policies suggests three types of progress to be measured: policy design, policy implementation capacity and policy results. The quality and robustness of these measures of policy progress depends upon three main factors. First, assessment of policy design requires matching policy alignment with cross cutting objectives or with a reference text. Second, assessment of progress in implementation capacity requires gauging evolution towards predefined capacity needs or identified governance gaps. Third, evaluation of policy results requires clearly defined objectives, timelines and scales for assessments. Seven practical options are identified for applying these principles to agriculture and water policies, illustrated by applying them to assessing progress in the sustainable management of water for irrigation under climate change and in controlling diffuse nutrient pollution.