Irrigation and Drainage Systems

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 213–238 | Cite as

Water Pricing and Sustainability of Self-Governing Irrigation Schemes

  • Pierre-Yves Le Gal
  • Thierry Rieu
  • Charles Fall


The sustainability of self-governingirrigation schemes is currently underpressure in many countries as publicfinancial support is decreasing.Furthermore, growing global concernregarding water scarcity means thatefficient water use is essential.Theoretically the choice and implementationof a water-pricing system should play acentral role in achieving this objective,both by recovering water costs and byencouraging farmers to adopt more efficientbehaviour. In the Senegal River Delta newlyestablished water users associations (WUAs)have chosen low water charges, which areaffordable for the majority of farmers butwhich underestimate long-term maintenancecosts. Combined with the difficulty ofcollecting and managing farmers' fees, thischoice has drawn them into a vicious circleleading to scheme deterioration and poorwater service. New alternatives have beendiscussed with them using a simulation toolthat takes into account both the watercosts and the farmers' incomes. Comparedwith the present fixed water charge basedonly on cultivated land, a two-part optionbased both on equipped and irrigated areasensures the recovery of fixed expenses suchas maintenance, while encouraging farmersto intensify their farming systems byadopting double cropping. Neverthelesschoosing a relevant water charge does notensure by itself the sustainability of anirrigation scheme. Combined supportproviding WUAS and farmers with efficientadvice regarding management andorganisational skills should alsocontribute significantly to achieve thisprime objective.

decision support irrigation management transfer irrigation scheme management Senegal River simulation water charge 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pierre-Yves Le Gal
    • 1
    • 2
  • Thierry Rieu
    • 3
  • Charles Fall
    • 4
  1. 1.CIRAD-TERA, TA 60/15Montpellier Cedex 5France
  2. 2.CERDESUniversity of NatalScottsvilleSouth Africa
  3. 3.CEMAGREFMontpellier Cedex 1France
  4. 4.SAEDSaint-Louis

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