Management of local irrigation systems and stakeholder perceptions in southern Tamil Nadu, India

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Institutionen för naturgeografi

Author: Maria Nehlin; [2016]

Keywords: ;

Abstract: The irrigation tanks in Tamil Nadu are part of an irrigation system which has developedover centuries, they are man-made reservoirs of varying sizes and they are important sources ofirrigation water but also provide services such as flood control, silt capture, and ground waterrecharge. The tanks are now deteriorating, they are used less than before and their capacity islower because of poor maintenance. Other studies have found many possible explanations to thedeterioration of tanks, for example overuse of water, not enough de-silting of the tanks, orincreasing population pressure. The purpose of this study is to investigate how stakeholdersperceive the situation and the issues with the irrigation system, and to assess and compare howefficient the management of a state-owned tank and a private-owned tank is. Two cases ofirrigation tanks in southern Tamil Nadu were part of the study and interviews were conductedwith both farmers using the irrigation water in the tanks and with people who are involved in themanagement of the tanks. The study shows that the stakeholders perceive that there has been areduction in the water availability and that there are problems with poor or inadequatemaintenance, especially de-silting and maintenance of sluices in the tanks. The stakeholdersinterviewed also perceived funding of the management to be an issue. The study also showedthat overall the management of the tanks was not functioning well, although in the privateownedtank a local user organization was involved and the management of that tank seemed tofunction somewhat better than in the other tank because of it. Furthermore, in both irrigationtanks there were groups which seemed to have unequal influence over the tank‟s management,and the engagement in management among tank users was low.

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