Community-Based Irrigation Water Management in Ladakh: A High Altitude Cold Arid Region

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Date

2008

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Abstract

"Ladakh constitutes the easternmost trans-Himalayan part of India, bordering Pakistan and China. Truly described as cold arid desert, is one of the coldest and most elevated inhabited regions of the world. Because of diverse environment and lower population density there is greater need for social networking, which is clearly evident from the local institutions, the role they play in sustainably managing the meager and unpredictable resources available with the people of Ladakh, in designing strategies to deal with the inhospitable and tough environmental conditions. "The present case study explores the management of irrigation water (inter and intra village level) by local institutions in Ladakh. Local people are involves at every step of study. The study describes how irrigation water is managed by the local people of Phyang (upstream) and Phey (downstream) villages. Crop raising depends on irrigation water, originating from snowmelt and glaciers. The availability of this water is not easily predictable because it depends on the amount of snowfall in preceding winters and the prevailing weather condition. There exist local institutional arrangements for equitable and timely distribution of this water. The system of water distribution is certainly complex but exploitation is rare. The chhur-pon (water supervisor) is the most important functionary related to water distribution. The distribution system is pegged to the household or the channel according to the nature of resource availability. There exist proper rules regarding who, when, and how to access the resource, with provision of sanctions (different degree) on defaulters."

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irrigation, institutions, water management, IASC

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