Irrigation and Drainage Systems

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 147–172

A comparative description of two farmer-managed irrigation systems in Nepal

  • Edward D. Martin
  • Robert Yoder
General Papers

DOI: 10.1007/BF01102924

Cite this article as:
Martin, E.D. & Yoder, R. Irrig Drainage Syst (1988) 2: 147. doi:10.1007/BF01102924


The organization of two farmer-managed irrigation systems in the western hills of Nepal is described by examining the ways in which the activities of water allocation, water distribution, maintenance, and resource mobilization are performed. Due to the topography and environment, these two organizations are structured primarily to mobilize the large amount of labor required for maintenance of the intake and canal. Both organizations precisely define each member's water allocation. In one system, water is allocated in proportion to the area of an individual's land holding, while in the other water allocation is by purchased shares. These two cases were used to analyze the importance of the principle of water allocation for expansion of area irrigated and equity of access to irrigation. Evidence from the two systems shows that in this hill environment water allocation by purchased shares provides the individual incentive and an organizational mechanism for efficient development of irrigation resources. Expansion of area irrigated and equity of access to irrigation were found to be greater in the system which allocates water by purchased shares than where water was allocated in proportion to area irrigated.

Key words

irrigation farmer-managed organization institutions water allocation resource mobilization Nepal 



Person skilled in tunnel and canal building. Traditionally worked in the mining industry, but also constructed many irrigation canals and tunnels


Sloping fields which have not been leveled and bunded for irrigation


Fields which have been leveled and bunded for irrigating rice


Stream or small river



Maato Muri

Traditional unit of area equal to approximately 1/80 of a ha


Leader. Often the title of the irrigation organization leader


A unit of area used in the hills of Nepal equal to approximately 1/20 of a ha

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward D. Martin
    • 1
  • Robert Yoder
    • 1
  1. 1.The International Irrigation Management InstituteSri Lanka

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