Flood-based irrigation in particular spate irrigation relies on variable flood scenarios occurring every year. Management of spate floods for spate irrigation must cope with the variability and uncertainty of water supply. Coping with water supply risks is often the only way to grasp the opportunities in an arid environment. Integrating and strengthening community responses into irrigation policies and improvement plans could ensure sustainable productive spate irrigated systems to meet the food security of the poor population. This research analyses and evaluates risks and coping strategies developed by farming communities in the Gash spate irrigation system in Sudan-Eastern Africa. The research has synthesized different coping strategies developed by farmers, water user associations, and water managers to cope with low, high, and untimely flood risks. The research provides different frameworks that can assist with the identification of risk sources, pathways, and propagation as well as the evaluation of locally developed strategies at field, secondary, and intake systems. The findings of this study contribute to scarce knowledge on spate irrigation systems and provide scientifically sound and evidence-based insights to aid informed policy and decision-making to improve the productivity and sustainability of the spate irrigation systems.