Institutions of Farmer Participation and Environmental Sustainability: A Multi-level Analysis from Irrigation Management in Harran Plain, Turkey

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"This paper examines the relationship between farmer participation and environmental sustainability from an institutional perspective in the context of Harran Plain, one of the newest and largest irrigated areas in Turkey. Harran Plain undergoes social, economic and institutional change due to the expansion of largescale irrigation and the establishment of irrigation associations. These changes, however, trigger an environmental change in the form of waterlogging and soil salinisation. The concepts of 'institutional scale' and 'institutional alignment' are applied to critically analyse the narratives regarding the causes of excessive water use, which is a collective action problem playing a significant role in increased waterlogging and soil salinity in Harran Plain. Empirical findings demonstrate that a low degree of institutional alignment among the rules at different levels constitutes an obstacle against taking actions to prevent excessive water use. Major issues are identified as the lack of water rights at plot and district levels; the exclusion of farmers from the planning of irrigation seasons; the inefficient monitoring of irrigation frequencies and fee collections, and the lack of mechanisms to monitor the operations of irrigation associations. The application of institutional scale and institutional alignment also contribute to the understanding of social-ecological systems by facilitating the systematic analysis of institutions and the identification of areas for institutional change."



common pool resources, environment, sustainability, farmer-managed irrigation, institutions, irrigation