Presentation - Irrigation Australia

Water Pricing and Participatory Irrigation Management:
Experiences and Lessons Learnt from Integrated Watershed
Development Project in Jammu and Kashmir, India
ICID 7th Asian Regional Conference,
26 June, 2012
Falendra Kumar Sudan
Department of Economics
University of Jammu, India
Jennifer McKay
Centre for Comparative Water Policies and Laws,
University of South Australia, Australia
Content of Presentation
Objectives of the paper
Impact of PIM
Users Responses to
Increased Water Pricing
Reasons for Low Cost
Cost Recovery and
Reducing Water Use
Lessons Learnt
Participatory Irrigation Management (PIM)
• Water Users’ Associations (WUAs)
Market failure and government failure
• conservation of land and groundwater
resources through rainwater harvesting
Participatory Watershed Development
• for protection and sustainable use of land
and water resources
Institutional arrangements (users’
• clearly defined rewards and sanctions
• responsibility for operation and
maintenance (O&M) of canal systems
below certain point to local farmers
Integrated Watershed Development Project
(IWDP), Hills-II, Jammu and Kashmir
• encourage the formation of WUAs
• eventually want to transfer irrigation
management to irrigators
Initiatives of IWDP, Hills-II seen as first step
• operationalizing water pricing
• attaining sustainable irrigation water
resource management
Objectives of the paper
To review relevant literature on water
pricing and PIM
To analyze the process and impact of
evolving PIM under IWDP, Hills-II, users’
responses to water pricing and reasons
for low cost recovery
To suggest policy recommendations to
recover project costs and collect water
charges from users
Collection of primary data and
• well-structured and pre-tested
• participatory rural appraisal (PRA)
• group meetings
Sample size
• 90 members of WUAs
• 780 households
• Six WUAs (three each from
selected sub-watersheds)
• Twelve villages (six each from
‘project’ and ‘non-project’ area)
Ramnagar SW
• Project area with WUAs (185 HHs)
• Project area without WUAs (119 HHs)
• Non-project area (72 HHs)
Akhnoor SW
• Project area with WUAs (158 HHs)
• Project area without WUAs (72 HHs)
• Non-project area (174 HHs)
Stratified sampling technique
• WUAs, ‘project’ and ‘non-project’
To make comparative study
• “forested watersheds’ villages and
agricultural watersheds’ villages”
Purposive sample: 20% HH level respondents
Content analysis technique
Irrigation system in watershed areas of J&K
• medium and small water harvesting structures
and distribution channels
Past neglect and mismanagement
• declined utilities in irrigating crops
IWDP (Hills-II) started modernization and repair
• initiated treatment of catchment areas
Involvement of user groups
• repair, maintenance and improvement of
physical structures
• water management on cost-sharing basis
(voluntary free labour)
Introduced significant institutional reforms
• revive and strengthens community institutions
• clearly defining rights and obligation for users’
Formation of WUA
 Process of formation of a WUA - relatively
 Election process
• highly democratic and fair
• conducted in a participatory manner
 Location of WUAs
• physical infrastructure for irrigation already
• repairs and maintenance
 Identification of user-farmers
• participatory development staff and village
 Tenure of WUA: one year
 Separate bank account
• signatories to bank account: president and a
Operation of irrigation system
 Entire reform process
• repair and renovation oriented
 Majority of works done through WUAs along with
• fair and impartial manner
• proper records of all financial transactions
• contracts given in a fair and just procedure
 Cost of works done by WUAs: 25% lower than
 Transparency in WUA functioning assured
• technical and financial estimates
• funds disbursements
• works execution by local farmers
 No new structures, or alteration of original designs
• emphasis on restoring original designs
Allocation rules
 Credibility of WUA depends on ability to
• ensure equitable distribution of benefits
• penalize any free rider
 Rules in use
• share of water determined by land acreage
• water rationing
• rotational use of water in rice cultivation
• collective patrolling to avoid breaching of channel
 WUA decides
• extent of area to be cultivated
• timing of start of irrigation in a particular season
 Irrigation system confronted with numerous problems
• rationing supplies
• equitable sharing of shortfall in supplies among all
Maintenance of irrigation system
 ‘Maintenance’ to ensure smooth functioning of
physical facilities
 Common interest stronger in PIM
• users made a substantial contribution to cost of
developing it
 WUAs established conventions regarding
• timing of repairs
• division of work
• responsibility of members
• obligations of users
 Provision of sanction (ranging from fines to loss of
water rights) against non-compliance
 Large landowners dominated WUA functioning
Benefits and costs
 Potential beneficiaries mobilized on issue related
to fair sharing of benefits and costs
 Users’ participation
• cost-effectiveness in repairs and maintenance
• efficient management of infrastructure
• interest in minimizing costs
• economical and efficient services
• equitable distribution of water
 Inequitable water distribution
• conflicts among users and members of users’
Transparency and accountability
 Transparency one of key principles of PIM
• strengthen confidence over functioning of WUAs
• informed activities undertaken to water users
• efficient management of irrigation systems
 Dissemination of information
• general body meetings on regular intervals
 Prioritize repair works to utilize available funds
• project functionaries as facilitators
• accountable and responsible to farmers’
 Executives of WUAs
• accountable to their members
Impact of PIM
Perceptible economic gains of PIM
• increase in land values by 10-15%
• better field drainage & reduced
waterlogged conditions
• increase in area under cultivation
• ensure timely sowing of crops
• receipt of water at tail end
• new acreage added to irrigate lands
• increased productivity of rice, pulses,
vegetables and orchards
• increased income from various crops
• cropping pattern shifted to commercial
crops like vegetables and pulses
Impact of PIM
Reduction in rainwater loss and sediment yield
 Micro-level watershed planning
• emphasis on soil erosion control on hill slopes and
• regulation of water flow system in watershed
• rearrangement of farmlands
 Adverse climatic conditions in the Shivaliks
• micro catchment techniques for run-off harvesting
and conservation practices
• improved moisture retention
• run-off soil loss declined
• improving surface and ground water regime
Impact of PIM
Status of water resources and irrigation
 Number of water points (bowlies) & gravity based
water points per village
 Number of water harvesting structures
 Length of irrigation channel
 Better quality of water harvesting structures
• more in PA with WUA than without WUA and
 Outcomes
• increased water potential
• increased irrigated cropping
• increased irrigation intensity
Impact of PIM
Change in crop intensity and crop productivity
 Improved soil moisture regime, increased
irrigation resources and high use of fertilizer
(including cow-dung)
Better cropping intensity due to project
improved cropping intensity in PA
compared to NPA
rainfed crop demonstration
propagation of use of modern inputs
through extension agents
Increased average crop yield per hectare
Users Responses to Increased Water Pricing
PIM & increase in water pricing
• 22% user demands less water and leaves land
• 18% applies less water to crop accepting some
yield loss
• 36% switches to less water demanding crops
• 43% invests in more efficient irrigation
Further rise in water charges
• water intensive crops no longer optimal
• farmers switch to other crops
• invest in more efficient water application
Users Responses to Increased Water Pricing
In water abundant area, price relatively low
• water quantity reduction policies more effective
than water price policies
In flood irrigation schemes, water pricing more
In drip systems, increasing water charges less
Adoption of irrigation technologies
• water price
• land quality
• crop type
Pricing induces upstream farmers to use water
more efficiently
Reasons for Low Cost Recovery
Low water fee collection rates
• lack of farmer participation in planning &
• poor communication
• lack of transparency between farmers and
irrigation management
• poor water delivery service
Water charges covers
• O&M: one-fifth
• cost-recovery rates: between one-fourth and onethird
Responsibility for fee collection shifted to WUAs
• not clarifying water users’ rights and
• no incentives for service providers to collect fees
Cost Recovery and Reducing Water Use
Water pricing must covers appropriate costs
• users’ consultation and irrigation agencies
Better irrigation services
• an incentive to pay fees & increased ability to
pay with higher farm incomes
Financial autonomy to WUA
• improve irrigation water management
• collect water fees from users to recover O&M
Water pricing
• either volumetric or area-technology based
Use of appropriate water-saving technology
Lessons Learnt
Institutional reforms under IWDP (Hills-II)
• bold and innovative
Better maintenance of physical irrigation system
• improved water availability
Addresses key issues pertaining to irrigation
• institutional structure, incentives, accountability,
transparency, and sustainability
Sustainability of WUAs essentially depends on
• their capacity to operate and manage on own
Financial sustainability important in sustainability of
• to make the reform process a success
Transparent consultation process
• farmers to participate in decision-making
• willingness to pay water charges
• ensure high cost-recovery
Lessons Learnt
To encourage farmers to pay their water charges
• incentives for providing high-quality and timely water
• penalties by stopping water delivery to defaulters,
charging a higher rate for late payment
Water charges to be equitable, administratively simple,
and easily understood by users and collecting agency
Use of other mechanisms to reduce water use per
• area-crop and area-technology based water charges
• incentive to shift to crops that need less water
• to shift to water-saving technologies, or both
Public awareness, education, and training programmes
• economic value of water
• understanding the importance of conserving water
Lessons Learnt
Mechanisms to ensure accountability
• roles and responsibilities of all agencies concerned
• need to transfer all O&M to WUAs in near future
Transparency to progress further
• simple and standardized procedures for
accounting and finance
Need to ensure replicability of the successes achieved
Needed to form federations of WUAs, for which
continued support and training required
Involvement of NGOs and training institutes in
upgrading skill and capacity building
Regular monitoring mechanism to be put in operation
to initiate corrective measures as and when needed
Thank you!