Alternate wetting and drying (AWD) method in rice cultivation [Bangladesh]

Magic pipe er madhomme kom panite dhan chas

technologies_4671 - Bangladesh

Completeness: 92%

1. General information

1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Technology

Key resource person(s)

SLM specialist:
land user:

Zaman Md. Shahid Uz




Azad Md. Abul Kalam

Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE)



Jalal Uddin Dewan

Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE)


Name of project which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
Decision Support for Mainstreaming and Scaling out Sustainable Land Management (GEF-FAO / DS-SLM)
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
FAO Bangladesh (FAO Bangladesh) - Bangladesh
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) - Bangladesh
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) - Bangladesh

1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:


1.4 Declaration on sustainability of the described Technology

Is the Technology described here problematic with regard to land degradation, so that it cannot be declared a sustainable land management technology?


2. Description of the SLM Technology

2.1 Short description of the Technology

Definition of the Technology:

Alternative Drying and Wetting (AWD) is a practice in rice cultivation which decrease water use, while having no impact on rice yield. It also decreases the amount of methane into the atmosphere and fuel consumption of water pumps.

2.2 Detailed description of the Technology


The Rajshahi, Chapai Nawabganj and Naogaon regions of Bangladesh geographically belong to High Barind Tract (HBT) of Bangladesh under Agro Ecological Zone (AEZ) 26. This region is the hottest region of the country where water scarcity is a common problem. The annual precipitation is 1410 mm and the farmer is habituated to use deep tubewell underground water for their crops operated by Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA). Rice is the common crop in this region and in Boro season (from November to March) rice consumed the lion share of underground water through flood irrigation. And this flood irrigation system is very traditional cultivation method resulting the underground water table is consistently going down for heavy extraction by shallow or deep tube-well.

It is not always necessary to keep standing water in rice fields for its maximum production like aquatic plant. To address these problems ‘Alternate Wetting and Drying’ is a good choice, because it is not necessary to keep the water standing throughout the whole growing season of Boro rice (wet rice). In this method 20-25% less water is consumed, which may save approximately USD 30 per hectare.

After 10-15 days of transplanting of rice seedling shallow standing water can be allowed and then the field can be drained and wetted alternately. To implement this method, first a perforated plastic pipe is installed to examine the water level and irrigate the rice field when necessary. The 25 cm long and 7-10 cm diameter perforated pipe is installed vertically. Only the lower 15 cm of the pipe should be perforated so that water can enter and exit, and then the pipe should be installed so that the non-perforated portion remains above the ground to protect it from debris.

In a leveled rice field of one hectare, seven to eight pipes are enough to monitor water depth. 10-15 days after seedling transplanting the AWD method can start. In each irrigation, the water level should reach 5-7 cm from the above the soil in wetting regime, and when the water level goes down to the soil level in drying regime, then the field can be irrigated again. This can continue until the panicle initiation stage. Then from panicle initiation to the milking stage, the field should be irrigated with 2-4 cm of water (also wetting regime). After the milking stage, the AWD can be continued until two weeks before harvesting from April to May (depending on rice variety).

Promotion of AWD in Bangladesh has been piloted and tested by different organisations like Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI), Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) and Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) during 2008 to 2010. In HBT, the quantity of groundwater is continuously decreasing, so farmers applied AWD without installing the pipe. The farmers are experienced with this technology long-ago and know that the cracks appeared when the groundwater goes down to 18-20 cm below soil surface. When the farmers saw the "hair like crack" in their rice field, they irrigated. BMDA introduced the pre-paid card for irrigation, so the farmer irrigated his rice field several times when he saw the field cracks. The aim is to save money as well as to save groundwater.

2.3 Photos of the Technology

2.5 Country/ region/ locations where the Technology has been applied and which are covered by this assessment



Region/ State/ Province:


Further specification of location:


Specify the spread of the Technology:
  • applied at specific points/ concentrated on a small area
Is/are the technology site(s) located in a permanently protected area?



The land user use this technology in their rice field

2.6 Date of implementation

If precise year is not known, indicate approximate date:
  • less than 10 years ago (recently)

2.7 Introduction of the Technology

Specify how the Technology was introduced:
  • through land users' innovation
  • during experiments/ research
  • through projects/ external interventions
Comments (type of project, etc.):

- From long ago, farmer observed "hair like crack" in rice field that indicate water goes down in 18-20 com
- Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) has set up a lot of research plot on AWD use
- Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) and Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) also has projects to install AWD in farmers field through demonstration

3. Classification of the SLM Technology

3.1 Main purpose(s) of the Technology

  • improve production
  • adapt to climate change/ extremes and its impacts
  • mitigate climate change and its impacts

3.2 Current land use type(s) where the Technology is applied

Land use mixed within the same land unit:




  • Annual cropping
Annual cropping - Specify crops:
  • cereals - rice (wetland)
Number of growing seasons per year:
  • 3

Mustard/Potato/Pulse-Boro - Fallow - T.Aman

Is intercropping practiced?


Is crop rotation practiced?


If yes, specify:

Mustard/Potato/Pulse then irrigated Boro rice then keep fallow for few days and then again Transplanted Aman rice

3.3 Has land use changed due to the implementation of the Technology?

Has land use changed due to the implementation of the Technology?
  • No (Continue with question 3.4)

3.4 Water supply

Water supply for the land on which the Technology is applied:
  • mixed rainfed-irrigated

3.5 SLM group to which the Technology belongs

  • irrigation management (incl. water supply, drainage)
  • ground water management
  • energy efficiency technologies

3.6 SLM measures comprising the Technology

structural measures

structural measures

  • S7: Water harvesting/ supply/ irrigation equipment
management measures

management measures

  • M2: Change of management/ intensity level
  • M4: Major change in timing of activities

Because the cultivation technology in rice cultivation remains the same as before, except of the new irrigation regime, only S7, M2 and M4 are actually part of the measures associated with the new technology.

3.7 Main types of land degradation addressed by the Technology

water degradation

water degradation

  • Hs: change in quantity of surface water
  • Hg: change in groundwater/aquifer level
  • Hp: decline of surface water quality
  • Hq: decline of groundwater quality



Flooding rice cultivation increase GHG emission from nitrogen fertilizer

3.8 Prevention, reduction, or restoration of land degradation

Specify the goal of the Technology with regard to land degradation:
  • reduce land degradation

4. Technical specifications, implementation activities, inputs, and costs

4.1 Technical drawing of the Technology

Technical specifications (related to technical drawing):

Length of plastic tube: 30 cm
Width of plastic tube: 7-10 cm
Perforated portion of plastic tube : 20 cm
Non-perforated portion of plastic tube: 10 cm
Height of irrigated water: 5 cm (above surface)
Time for irrigation: When water goes down at bottom of plastic tube (approximately 15 cm below soil surface)
Number of plastic tube: 20 in one hectare of land


RIAZ, A. et al. 2017.



4.2 General information regarding the calculation of inputs and costs

Specify how costs and inputs were calculated:
  • per Technology area
Indicate size and area unit:

1 Hectare

Specify currency used for cost calculations:
  • USD
Indicate average wage cost of hired labour per day:

USD 5.0

4.3 Establishment activities

Activity Timing (season)
1. Plastic tube installation March - April

4.4 Costs and inputs needed for establishment

Specify input Unit Quantity Costs per Unit Total costs per input % of costs borne by land users
Labour Labour for plastic tube installation Person-day 1.0 5.0 5.0 100.0
Equipment Plastic tube Number 20.0 0.64 12.8 100.0
Total costs for establishment of the Technology 17.8
Total costs for establishment of the Technology in USD 17.8

4.5 Maintenance/ recurrent activities

Activity Timing/ frequency
1. Land preparation (cleaning land, repairing border, repairing canal etc. manual work) January - February
2. Plowing January - February
3. Seedling transplanting January - February
4. Irrigation in different vegetative and reproductive stages January - May
5. Fertilization January - April
6. Herbicide and pesticide application January - March
7. Harvesting May - June
8. Threshing May - June

4.6 Costs and inputs needed for maintenance/ recurrent activities (per year)

Specify input Unit Quantity Costs per Unit Total costs per input % of costs borne by land users
Labour Land preparation Person-day 6.0 5.0 30.0 100.0
Labour Seedling transplanting Person-day 37.0 5.0 185.0 100.0
Labour Herbicide and pesticide application Person-day 8.0 5.0 40.0 100.0
Labour Irrigation Person-day 18.0 5.0 90.0 100.0
Equipment Power tiller rent for plowing Machine-hour 16.0 2.0 32.0 100.0
Equipment Sprayer Machine-hour 24.0 1.0 24.0 100.0
Equipment Cost for irrigation Machine-hour 22.0 2.5 55.0 100.0
Plant material Seed kg 15.0 1.3 19.5 100.0
Fertilizers and biocides Chemical fertilizer Kg 70.0 0.35 24.5 100.0
Fertilizers and biocides Manure Kg 1500.0 0.05 75.0 100.0
Fertilizers and biocides Herbicide and pesticide Kg 18.0 2.4 43.2 100.0
Other Labour for harvesting Person-day 24.0 5.0 120.0 100.0
Other Labour for threshing Person-day 10.0 5.0 50.0 100.0
Other Labour for drying Person-day 4.0 5.0 20.0 100.0
Other Labour for repairing spray machine Person-day 2.0 5.0 10.0 100.0
Other Labour for cleaning plastic tube Person-day 1.0 5.0 5.0 100.0
Total costs for maintenance of the Technology 823.2
Total costs for maintenance of the Technology in USD 823.2

For the sake of completeness, all recurring costs relating to rice growing have been listed here. However, the recurring costs for AWD technology are actually only those related to irrigation (work for irrigation, patching and cleaning). Irrigation pump installation and maintenance cost belongs to BMDA, the farmer have no responsibility on irrigation pump. They just purchase irrigation water through pre-paid card.

4.7 Most important factors affecting the costs

Describe the most determinate factors affecting the costs:

- Irrigation according to wetting and drying regimes

5. Natural and human environment

5.1 Climate

Annual rainfall
  • < 250 mm
  • 251-500 mm
  • 501-750 mm
  • 751-1,000 mm
  • 1,001-1,500 mm
  • 1,501-2,000 mm
  • 2,001-3,000 mm
  • 3,001-4,000 mm
  • > 4,000 mm
Specify average annual rainfall (if known), in mm:


Specifications/ comments on rainfall:

The average rainfall in High Barind Tract is low than other parts of Bangladesh

Indicate the name of the reference meteorological station considered:

Weather Atlas; {}

Agro-climatic zone
  • sub-humid

5.2 Topography

Slopes on average:
  • flat (0-2%)
  • gentle (3-5%)
  • moderate (6-10%)
  • rolling (11-15%)
  • hilly (16-30%)
  • steep (31-60%)
  • very steep (>60%)
  • plateau/plains
  • ridges
  • mountain slopes
  • hill slopes
  • footslopes
  • valley floors
Altitudinal zone:
  • 0-100 m a.s.l.
  • 101-500 m a.s.l.
  • 501-1,000 m a.s.l.
  • 1,001-1,500 m a.s.l.
  • 1,501-2,000 m a.s.l.
  • 2,001-2,500 m a.s.l.
  • 2,501-3,000 m a.s.l.
  • 3,001-4,000 m a.s.l.
  • > 4,000 m a.s.l.
Indicate if the Technology is specifically applied in:
  • convex situations

5.3 Soils

Soil depth on average:
  • very shallow (0-20 cm)
  • shallow (21-50 cm)
  • moderately deep (51-80 cm)
  • deep (81-120 cm)
  • very deep (> 120 cm)
Soil texture (topsoil):
  • fine/ heavy (clay)
Soil texture (> 20 cm below surface):
  • fine/ heavy (clay)
Topsoil organic matter:
  • low (<1%)

5.4 Water availability and quality

Ground water table:

5-50 m

Availability of surface water:

poor/ none

Water quality (untreated):

good drinking water

Water quality refers to:

ground water

Is water salinity a problem?


Is flooding of the area occurring?


5.5 Biodiversity

Species diversity:
  • low
Habitat diversity:
  • low

5.6 Characteristics of land users applying the Technology

Sedentary or nomadic:
  • Sedentary
Market orientation of production system:
  • subsistence (self-supply)
  • mixed (subsistence/ commercial)
Off-farm income:
  • less than 10% of all income
Relative level of wealth:
  • very poor
  • poor
Individuals or groups:
  • individual/ household
Level of mechanization:
  • manual work
  • animal traction
  • women
  • men
Age of land users:
  • youth
  • middle-aged
  • elderly

5.7 Average area of land used by land users applying the Technology

  • < 0.5 ha
  • 0.5-1 ha
  • 1-2 ha
  • 2-5 ha
  • 5-15 ha
  • 15-50 ha
  • 50-100 ha
  • 100-500 ha
  • 500-1,000 ha
  • 1,000-10,000 ha
  • > 10,000 ha
Is this considered small-, medium- or large-scale (referring to local context)?
  • small-scale

5.8 Land ownership, land use rights, and water use rights

Land ownership:
  • individual, titled
Land use rights:
  • leased
  • individual
Water use rights:
  • individual
Are land use rights based on a traditional legal system?



In Chapai Nawabganj, there are two types of land viz. Government owned and (popularly known as Khas land) and public owned land. The public owned land has registered to a person and that person paid tax to Government in yearly basis, this is the way of traditional legal system.

5.9 Access to services and infrastructure

  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
technical assistance:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
employment (e.g. off-farm):
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
roads and transport:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
drinking water and sanitation:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
financial services:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good

6. Impacts and concluding statements

6.1 On-site impacts the Technology has shown

Socio-economic impacts


crop production

Comments/ specify:

AWD increases the crop production (yield) than traditional method. So, more crop yield increases the socio-economic condition of farmer. Moreover, this method reduces the input cost for crop production.

risk of production failure


production area

Comments/ specify:

AWD method decreases the production cost for irrigation. So, the land area under this method is increasing gradually.

land management

Water availability and quality

drinking water availability

Comments/ specify:

The irrigation water and the drinking water come from same underground source by deep tube-well. So, when the water extraction is reduce for irrigation, the availability for drinking water is increase.

irrigation water availability


demand for irrigation water

Income and costs

expenses on agricultural inputs


farm income




Socio-cultural impacts

food security/ self-sufficiency


SLM/ land degradation knowledge


Ecological impacts

Water cycle/ runoff

water quantity


harvesting/ collection of water


excess water drainage


groundwater table/ aquifer



Comments/ specify:

In dry regime of AWD method, the evaporation is decrease on land


nutrient cycling/ recharge

Comments/ specify:

Some plant nutrient like Zinc (Zn) is much available when the soil going from wet to dry regime. Constant wet condition inhibit some other plant nutrient also.

soil organic matter/ below ground C

Biodiversity: vegetation, animals

biomass/ above ground C


pest/ disease control

Climate and disaster risk reduction

drought impacts


emission of carbon and greenhouse gases




6.2 Off-site impacts the Technology has shown

water availability


impact of greenhouse gases


6.3 Exposure and sensitivity of the Technology to gradual climate change and climate-related extremes/ disasters (as perceived by land users)

Gradual climate change

Gradual climate change
Season increase or decrease How does the Technology cope with it?
annual temperature increase well
seasonal temperature dry season increase well
annual rainfall decrease well
seasonal rainfall summer decrease well

Climate-related extremes (disasters)

Meteorological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
tornado moderately
Climatological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
drought very well

6.4 Cost-benefit analysis

How do the benefits compare with the establishment costs (from land users’ perspective)?
Short-term returns:


Long-term returns:


How do the benefits compare with the maintenance/ recurrent costs (from land users' perspective)?
Short-term returns:

very positive

Long-term returns:

very positive

6.5 Adoption of the Technology

  • 11-50%
Of all those who have adopted the Technology, how many did so spontaneously, i.e. without receiving any material incentives/ payments?
  • 91-100%

6.6 Adaptation

Has the Technology been modified recently to adapt to changing conditions?


6.7 Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities of the Technology

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the land user’s view
Easy to monitor irrigation schedule in AWD method. Farmer able to understand about dry and wet regime of rice cultivation that reduce the irrigation cost.
This Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) system enhance the tillering of rice resulting yield would be higher than traditional continuous flooding cultivation system
Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
AWD facilitate drying rice field for certain period. This practice inhibit the chemical reaction of nitrogen fertilizer that emit low greenhouse gas
Water is the most demandable input and in AWD system the requirement of irrigation water become low that reduces input cost
Potentials for scale-up of this AWD method, because the groundwater scarcity became increase that would be popular to all farmer

6.8 Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks of the Technology and ways of overcoming them

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the land user’s view How can they be overcome?
Magic pipe is not available everywhere Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) support them to use AWD
Technical knowledge Sub-Assistant Agriculture Officer (SAAO) and resource farmer provide technical support
Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
Technical knowledge of land user Consultation with SAAO and resource farmer
Misunderstanding on yield to use AWD; Land user think yield is lower when using Alternative Wetting and Drying method Show results by taking farmers to visit demonstration plots, field day, cross visit etc.

7. References and links

7.1 Methods/ sources of information

  • field visits, field surveys


  • interviews with land users


  • interviews with SLM specialists/ experts


When were the data compiled (in the field)?


7.2 References to available publications

Title, author, year, ISBN:

Bangladesh Rice Research institute (BRRI), Gazipur

Available from where? Costs?

Internet, free

7.3 Links to relevant online information

Title/ description:

Use of irrigation water saving technology (AWD) in rice field


7.4 General comments

In the case of annual crop cultivation, the questionnaire should be revised.

Links and modules

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