Irrigation and Drainage Systems

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 31-44

First online:

Operation and maintenance in Asian irrigation: Reappraising government and farmer responsibilities and rights

  • E. Walter CowardJrAffiliated withCornell Irrigation Studies Group, Cornell University
  • , Norman UphoffAffiliated withCornell Irrigation Studies Group, Cornell University

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A major policy concern in irrigation development is reducing government costs of both construction and operation and maintenance. There is increasing interest in shifting some of these costs to the farmers using the irrigation facilities. This paper discusses the opportunities for reducing certain direct costs to government by collaborative arrangements with water users so that the latter mobilize more of their own resources to implement specified O&M activities. Five propositions are discussed which suggest the prerequisites for successful collaboration: (1) reexamining the processes of design and construction now being used, (2) reorienting the policies and procedures of the irrigation agency, (3) increasing farmer involvement in operations, (4) increasing local organizational capacity, and (5) creating new financial procedures.

Key words

O&M activities costs and fees farmer involvement bureaucratic reorientation local organizations