Multilevel Governance of Irrigation Systems and Adaptation to Climate Change in Kenya

  • Jampel Dell’Angelo
  • Paul F. McCord
  • Elizabeth Baldwin
  • Michael E. Cox
  • Drew Gower
  • Kelly Caylor
  • Tom P. Evans
Part of the Springer Water book series (SPWA)


Multilevel governance of common-pool natural resources has been shown under certain conditions to sustain resources over time even when faced with various social and environmental disturbances or shocks. In the case of irrigation systems, evidence shows that multilevel institutional arrangements that include communities in a decentralized system of governance can function better than centralized systems. Kenya has implemented a legislative framework for water governance that decentralizes many aspects of water management to local levels, resulting in a multilevel institutional regime. Community water projects are empowered to manage some aspects of water resources for irrigation and domestic use—purportedly a level at which decision-makers are better suited to adapt to local dynamics. However, climate change and population increase constantly challenge the ability of these water projects to modify rules for water allocation so that all water demands are met. In this chapter, we describe the governance structure of community water projects near Mt. Kenya and illustrate the challenges for adaptive capacity with respect to different social and environmental disturbances.


Adaptive Capacity Water Governance Water Project Water District Rotation Schedule 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We gratefully acknowledge support from the U.S. National Science Foundation (grant SBE1115009).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jampel Dell’Angelo
    • 1
  • Paul F. McCord
    • 2
  • Elizabeth Baldwin
    • 3
  • Michael E. Cox
    • 4
  • Drew Gower
    • 5
  • Kelly Caylor
    • 5
  • Tom P. Evans
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.The Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy AnalysisIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of GeographyIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  3. 3.School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  4. 4.Environmental Studies ProgramDartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA
  5. 5.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA

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