Building community irrigation system

Where irrigation schemes are possible they can make a major difference in overall rural development.
The construction of bunds across rivers, the installation of pumps on river banks and the construction of tube-wells have provided a breakthrough in agriculture for tribal villages around Rangpur in Gujarat, India. This has been facilitated by the efforts of Anand Niketan Ashram, a voluntary organisation founded by Harivallabh Parikh, a disciple of Mahatma Gandhi. Water was the crying need of most of the tribal people. Anand Niketan decided to introduce pumpsets making a technological leap over intermediate levels of traditional irrigation practices. The first diesel pump set was installed as an experiment at the ashram. Its success led the way for more pumpsets to be installed. The Ashram workers were also trained in operating the pumpsets. The initial costs were provided by private donors but later projects were mainly financed by banks. In 1983 there were 400 irrigation projects in 800 villages where 22,660 hectares were irrigated and multiple cropping was practised. Irrigation has expanded to now cover over 80 per cent of tribal croplands in these villages.

The first communal irrigation systems in the Philippines were built by the government but maintained and operated by farmers. Because the farmers did not participate in the construction work, maintenance and operation systems were neglected. The result was poor management with ineffective, or no, irrigation of the fields. In order to involve the farmers more directly in the management of communal irrigation systems, the National Irrigation Administration introduced a more integrated approach which involves waterusers' associations. The associations are actively involved in planning and construction, system lay-out, obtaining water rights and right-of-way, organizing volunteer labour and exercising control over expenditures. Farmers are involved in all phases. Construction costs have been lowered and management of the irrigation systems has improved. This decentralized management of irrigation systems entrusted to local farmers' associations gives control of these important assets to the local people and facilitates local development.

Type Classification:
D: Detailed strategies