This film addresses issues of community management in the context of a government-funded irrigation project in Andhra Pradesh, India. It looks at the problems farmers faced as a result of uneven water distribution, and how their greater participation in managing the scheme provided viable solutions. Irrigation was seen as the key to responding to growing pressure to increase food production (01). Yet with the construction of large-scale irrigation systems farmers became recipients and were no longer the planners and operators of their own systems (03). The loss of control over water distribution, combined with poor maintenance of the canal network, meant that those at the head of the system had too much water while those at the tail received too little (10). A meeting was held for farmers from all the villages concerned to discuss the problems and ways of resolving them (24). A map was drawn showing the water outlets and cropping patterns in the irrigated area. After much discussion a consensus was reached regarding water distribution, canal maintenance, and cropping patterns. Penalties for violation were also agreed (28). Having conducted their own analysis of the problems and devised their own solutions the commitment of the farmers was assured (29).
This paper documents the Philippines' National Irrigation approaches in organizing farmers to undertake management in the operation and maintenance of irrigation systems. The experience of turnover in this country is particularly unique in that the approach involved employment of farmers, as opposed to professional community organizers, in organizing co-farmers into irrigator associations. The farmers employed were well trained, and positive results were achieved in the following areas: active irrigators' associations at field and distributary levels; reduced operation and maintenance costs; increased fee collection rates; greater equity in water distribution. This case highlights that organizing farmer activities in this way shorten the turnover process, make it less expensive and, most importantly, be effective.
The Myrada Experience: The interventions of a voluntary agency in the emergence and growth of peoples' institutions for sustained and equitable management of micro-watersheds.
In 1984, MYRADA and the Government of Karnataka, with backing from the Swiss Development Co-operation, started working together in Gulbarga on a project focusing on watershed management. This booklet discusses invaluable practical lessons learnt so far in the PIDOW project about supporting people to better manage their natural resources. The first part discusses general lessons: critical indicators of success (sustainability and equity), people's priorities, the role of people's institutions, and why focus on people's participation in watershed management. The next three sections discuss strategies used in the intervention. They are applicable to projects in which Government and NGO are co-intervenors and operational partners; parts can certainly be adopted by an NGO-only project. The three sections deal with the entry phase, planning phase and implementation phase. The emphasis throughout is on the role of the NGO. The booklet ends with a case study of a situation which differs from the Gulbarga experience and the consequences of such differences in the process which takes place.
This paper discusses the importance of indigenous irrigation systems that have operated sustainably on indigenous technical knowledge that has ensured their longevity. Modern techniques have often ignored the importance of this knowledge and the role of such knowledge needs to be enhanced in the future.
Participatory impact monitoring of a soil and water conservation programme by farmers, extension volunteers and AKRSP
The Aga Khan Rural Support Programme supports soil and water conservation work on private land, a priority identified by villagers, as part of a watershed management project. Villagers suggested that monitoring should look at: erosion controlled; land reclaimed; moisture retention in soil (as inferred from crop growth); and productivity and income generation. The article goes through the process of participatory impact monitoring, illustrated by real results. The benefits of such monitoring are listed, most of them related to increased farmer understanding of processes and control over further experimentation.