Improving Irrigation in Asia
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Improving Irrigation in Asia

Sustainable Performance of an Innovative Intervention in Nepal

Elinor Ostrom, Wai Fung Lam, Prachanda Pradhan and Ganesh P. Shivakoti

Improving Irrigation in Asia is based on a longitudinal study over two decades on innovative intervention for sustained performance of irrigation systems. The work identifies key factors that can help explain the performance of interventions, and explicates lessons for resource management and the management of development assistance.
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Chapter 3: Processes and Procedures of an Innovative Development Intervention Initiated in 1985 in the Middle Hills of Nepal

Elinor Ostrom, Wai Fung Lam, Prachanda Pradhan and Ganesh P. Shivakoti


In 1985, the International Irrigation Management Institute (IIMI) entered into agreement with the Water and Energy Commission Secretariat (WECS) of Nepal, as briefly described in the last chapter, to undertake action-research on sustainable interventions  in irrigation systems. In 1986, IIMI, which was based in Sri Lanka, established one of its country offices in Nepal with the mandate to promote the study of farmer-managed irrigation systems (FMIS). While WECS was not an implementing agency, one of its mandates was to undertake action-research on the different aspects of the water sector, including the irrigation sector. In order to ensure that the farmers of the action-research area would benefit directly from the research initiative, the Ford Foundation provided two kinds of grants: one was given to IIMI to support action-research on public intervention in FMIS and the other was for action-research on actual implementation of the intervention program. OBJECTIVES OF THE ACTION-RESEARCH PROJECT Multiple objectives have been pursued in the action-research project in Indrawati River basin. One objective was to establish low-cost procedures for identifying the relative needs of all systems in an area, allowing the selection of systems for assistance where the greatest impact on food production could be made. Another objective was to develop and test the methods for delivering assistance that would 48 M2700 - OSTROM TEXT.indd 48 28/07/2011 10:59 Processes and procedures of an innovative development intervention 49 enhance the farmers’ management capability for the operation and maintenance of irrigation systems while the physical infrastructure was being improved....

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