Image Database Export Citations


Skirting the Rules: Collective Management and Informal Exchange of Formal Water Rights in Pakistan

Show full item record

Type: Conference Paper
Author: Murgai, Rinku
Conference: Crossing Boundaries, the Seventh Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Conf. Date: June 10-14
Date: 1998
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/2088
Sector: Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources
property rights
new institutionalism
transaction costs
Abstract: "Irrigation has been a fundamental source of growth in Pakistan's agriculture. The security, flexibility, and enhanced water supply provided by irrigation has directly spurred adoption of high yielding varieties, multiple cropping, and input intensification. However, surface irrigation in much of Pakistan has been crippled by worsening problems of inefficient, inequitable, and unreliable delivery, poor maintenance, and insufficient cost recovery, with potentially severe ill-consequence for the livelihoods of millions of peasant farmers. "These problems can be traced in part to the political economy of public irrigation that in its present form provides inadequate incentives for government agencies to maintain and operate networks effectively. Two solutions that are receiving increasing attention, both in the academic literature and policy circles, are devloution of control to communities and development of water markets. This paper aims to examine the changing roles played by communities and informal markets in irrigation management in Pakistan. We highlight which institutions- whether formal laws, informal norms and customs, or decentralized and uncoordinated management- have been most relevant in influencing appropriation mechanisms at the tertiary level. The empirical data combine household surveys and particpatory rural appraisal of water management by households along two water courses in Pakistan. These have been collected and generously provided by the International Irrigation Management Institute (IIMI) in Lahore. "Five main sections follow. The first section provides the context. The second section highlights that, among many possible reasons, worsening scarcity and inequitable fluctuations in scarcity led to erosion of local mechanisms of control and a reversion to legal and regulatory frameworks for establishing legitimacy of property rights over water. In the third and fourth sections, community-based adaptations that help tailor formal appropriation rules to local circumstances are discussed. Drawing on perspectives derived from the new institutional economics, the final section isolates which of various transaction costs, including those of coordination, monitoring, and enforcement, constrain community-based management to management within self-selected sub-coalitions of households."

Files in this item

Files Size Format View
murgai.pdf 51.01Kb PDF View/Open

This item appears in the following document type(s)

Show full item record