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Synergy Effects of Investment of Farmers and Governments on Irrigation Commons for Sustainable Management

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Yamaoka, Kazumi
Conference: Commoners and the Changing Commons: Livelihoods, Environmental Security, and Shared Knowledge, the Fourteenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Mt. Fuji, Japan
Conf. Date: June 3-7
Date: 2013
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/8999
Sector: Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: East Asia
Subject(s): IASC
water management
social capital
policy analysis
Abstract: "In Japan, a narrow islands country which has achieved high level of industrialization, a 400,000km-long paddy irrigation and drainage canal network exists just like as sophisticated arteries and veins in our body. And that amazingly it is still managed collectively by farmers throughout almost the whole of its length, and it still waters some twenty million rice paddy plots every spring, making more than two million ha of artificial wetland appear. We can also observe similar scenes all over the Asian monsoon region with various economic development stages. Why has this practice been maintained across our generations? What type of economy underpins it? No research has been done to answer these questions. This paper seeks to feature substantial debate on the question of water for food and the environment in the Asian monsoon region by proposing a spontaneous and collective management on social overhead capitals and discussing what form good governance over it should take. It consists of two main bodies and a conclusion. Part 1 presents overview of the characteristics of ecosystems and economy in multi-functioned irrigated paddy rice agriculture in the Asian monsoon region. Part 2 discusses the socio-economic mechanism of a sustainable management for irrigation and policy implications for designing it across the Asian monsoon region. It stresses the importance of good governance. The case studies and policy analysis on public works projects leads to highlight the importance of social capital in achieving good governance and discover the synergistic effects. Finally this paper concludes and recommends that we need a policy renaissance to appreciate and support the management of irrigated paddy rice agriculture collectively run by farmers in the Asian monsoon region for cumulative experience of governance and persistent build-up of social capital, for implementing an optimal policy on water for food and ecosystems in this region."

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