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Irrigation and Collective Action: A Study in Method with Reference to the Shiwalik Hills, Haryana

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Kurian, Mathew
Conference: The Commons in an Age of Global Transition: Challenges, Risks and Opportunities, the Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Oaxaca, Mexico
Conf. Date: August 9-13
Date: 2004
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/264
Sector: Water Resource & Irrigation
Forestry
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): IASC
irrigation
collective action--case studies
watersheds
dams
conflict
households
joint management
Abstract: "In recent years decentralized development approaches have gained prominence in the agricultural sector. A host of community based watershed management projects have been implemented that encourage community organizations to undertake management of previously government controlled irrigation systems and forests. Community organizations have been given the responsibility of managing water distribution, collection of irrigation service fees and undertaking routine maintenance of irrigation infrastructure. In this context analysis of irrigation management has argued that groups that a rerelatively homogeneous may fare better than heterogeneous groups in facilitating collective action. However, this paper argues that analysis of the influence of group heterogeneity on collective action is complicated because of its multi-dimensional nature and the presence on non-monotonic effects in mechanisms linking heterogeneity and collective outcomes. We emphasize therefore, the importance of context specification in analysis of group heterogeneity through a discussion of elements of a joint management contract in Haryana, identification of key variables with a potential to explain collective action in irrigation management and construction of household endowment and water interest scores to account for the influence of group heterogeneity in facilitating collective action. In the process of applying household endowment and water interest scores we highlight the role of local ecological variation and non- farm employment in influencing collective action. Proper specification of local contextenables us to rely on household endowment and water interest scores to predict conflicts and potential for irrigation service provision and compliance with irrigation service rules."

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