Farmers in flood‐based irrigation systems face great uncertainties with respect to water supply. Using the Source–Pathways–Receptor and Consequence (SPRC) framework, this paper explores the sources of risks, propagation pathways, risk perceptions and consequences for the farmers, water users’ associations (WUAs) and water managers in the Gash Agricultural Scheme in Sudan. The main source of risk is the extreme variability of rainfall, causing unpredictable flows regarding volume, timing and duration. The farmers, WUAs and system managers perceive the risks from floods differently. The farmers are primarily concerned by low floods, while the WUAs are more disturbed by untimely floods. The system managers are most troubled by high and potentially destructive floods. The poor state of the infrastructure, lack of proper maintenance and suboptimal operation aggravate the consequences of unpredictable flows. Consequently, the result is low and highly variable crop production. Besides paying attention to infrastructure improvement and regular operation and maintenance activities, more efforts in institutional arrangements and policy support could play an important role in coping with the risks indicated. The SPRC appeared to be a useful framework for analysing risks at different spatial scales and for different stakeholders in the spate irrigation system studied.
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