Within the project “Impact of Irrigation Development on Rural Poverty and the Environment” emphasis was given to the rural development of communities performing irrigation. Main goal was to analyze the potential of irrigation development, which should be performed in an environmentally sound way to ensure good living conditions for future generations. Environmentally sound means to maintain soil fertility, water quality, to be concerned about health impacts and maintaining biodiversity. The starting point for this review is an irrigation database, a classification of irrigation schemes in Ethiopia and the resulting selection of case studies of irrigation schemes. The study aims to support the clarification of environmental factors and processes related to irrigation development. The socioeconomic implications of environmental impacts of irrigation investments such as links to poverty, health and policies and institutions will also be treated. The methods used include field measurements and observations, laboratory analyses, structured questionnaire surveys and PRA. The investigated field studies performed under the project’s specific task “Assessment of generic environmental and health issues as related to irrigated agricultural development” are presented. The collected material is compiled and made accessible through a database. The case studies results are critically reviewed and conclusions for future field investigation are drawn.