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 5: Post-intervention Dynamics in 2008: Focusing on Two Success and Two Failure Cases

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


INTRODUCTION In the previous chapter, we analyzed the configuration of success factors that influenced the 19 irrigation systems in the Indrawati River basin affected by the innovative WECS/IIMI action-research project that were recorded in 1999 and verified in 2001. Between 2001 and 2006, a range of difficulties and conflicts surfaced in all of Nepal due to the Maoist insurgency. The study area was no exception. Farmers had to cope with these difficulties, and several mediation mechanisms were devised by community members in order to cope with the adverse effects of conflict. First and foremost, the farmers had to protect local resources by effective use of their own social capital networks. They used their embedded reciprocity through informal mechanisms in order to keep water resources away from the political root cause of conflict. Thus, due to the Maoist insurgence, locals had to live in extremely difficult situations that in turn impacted the farmers’ livelihood and irrigation management. The farmers developed their own coping mechanism to deal with the parallel existence of the Maoist ‘regime’ and government authority at the village level. The farmers followed the government army, who would patrol in the villages during the daytime. On the other hand, during the nighttime Maoist rule, the farmers would avoid the army patrolling the main road by using the safety of the irrigation channels. The embeddedness of the social network helped to deal with the dual regime difficulties with minimum loss of human life. The second challenge the farmers faced during the...

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