155 pages, Figs, tabs
Most engineer-designed irrigation systems assume water will be distributed on the basis of delivery schedules that optimize physical relationships. These schedules often neglect the social parameters that govern irrigation management. This deficiency probably constrains yields on many of the gravity schemes that account for 90 per cent of all land irrigated in developing countries. The shortcoming is partly attributable to the widespread failure to study water distribution processes from an angle that is both technical and social. In the case studies presented in this collection, irrigation engineers describe water distribution practices as they actually occur in various schemes. Six of the schemes (in Mexico, Portugal, and Bolivia) are farmer-managed and one (in south India) is managed jointly by farmers and technical officers. The authors relate water flows to social processes and contrast conventional engineering wisdom with the practices they have observed.
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