Farmers' perception on self created water management rules in a pioneer scheme: The mula irrigation scheme, India

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During the past two decades with farmer participation in irrigation management moving to center stage, the traditional view of having a centralized control over the water resources for better management has changed. Nevertheless, success of irrigation management transfer depend on a whole set of institutional arrangements or the rules-in-use and the willingness of the users to comply and enforce and/or change the rules in the light of changing circumstances. There are many institutional analyses of water sector, much of them touch on law, policy and administration, and characteristics of the users. The present paper is based on the study carried out to examine the institutional arrangements in one of the water users association that was first in the Maharashtra state. It focuses on the institutional arrangements governing water use and distribution and attempts to elicit the perceptions of the members regarding the rules-in-use. The findings reveal that the WUA has been successful in devising and enforcing the rules for water distribution, fee collection and conflict resolution for over a decade. However, current socio-economic developments such as political heterogeneity have required explicit conflict resolution mechanisms. These issues have now become issues demanding immediate attention and may be use of existing courts or legal institutions to help the WUA sustain in future.

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