The series has two parts: records of the annual water seminars 1985 - 1994 and records of the water study tours 1976, 1987, 1991, and 1993. The records are the files of Herve L. Plusquellec, the irrigation engineering adviser in the Agriculture and Rural Development Department who was the organizer of the conferences.
In January 1985 the Agriculture and Rural Development Department started an annual seminar on irrigation and drainage. At that time irrigation was the largest component in the Bank's investment portfolio, and the Department believed it was the Bank's most stable and successful program in agriculture. The seminar was for Bank staff, and both Bank staff and external experts spoke. Only the Department director's speech to the seminar and the background papers exist from the first seminar. Thereafter the files include agendas, participant lists, a few administrative items and handwritten notes, speeches, and background materials. The papers and background readings include both broad topics (for example, A second look at irrigation development in the seventh annual seminar or Tradable water rights and water markets: Issues in the ninth) and case studies on a variety of countries and projects. In 1993 the annual seminar was retitled Water Resources Management Seminar, reflecting the breadth of issues the seminar had come to consider during its nine previous sessions. The last file is on the seminar of December 1994. The file for the sixth annual seminar is missing.
In 1976 the Bank sent a study tour mission of Bank staff to the southwestern and western United States to look at irrigation and agriculture projects and practices. In 1987 the Bank organized an irrigation study tour to Mexico and Arizona. This was followed by irrigation study tours to China in 1991 and to Mexico and Spain in 1993. The records include agendas, administrative correspondence, notes, lists of participants, and final reports of the missions.
Anyone researching water issues, whether irrigation, drainage, water supply, sanitation or water engineering, will find in these records the best contemporary information, both within the Bank and in the larger development community. In addition, researchers interested in the development of the Banks water policy will find these files an important source of information.