Social Engineering or Participatory Problem-solving? A Practitioner’s Perspective on Opportunities for Irrigation Co-management

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2008
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"Bureaucratic programs for involving water users in irrigation governance are challenged by inherent conflicts, contradictions, and asymmetries of power and knowledge. Government aspirations for acquiescence or devolution falter in the face of complexity, contestation, and interdependence. Idealized narratives of orderly irrigation clash with the messy bricolage of practice. Nevertheless, participatory programs may open meaningful opportunities for negotiation, cooperation, and polycentric governance. Drawing on examples from Aceh, Java, Bali, and broader international experience, this paper examines tensions, lessons, and opportunities for adaptive co-management in irrigation."
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participatory development, polycentricity, institutional design, co-management, water users' associations
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