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close this bookDesign and Operation of Smallholder Irrigation in South Asia (WB, 1995, 134 p.)
close this folderChapter 12 - Cultivator organizations
View the documentCultivator organizations in irrigation system operation
View the documentTraditional organization in village-level irrigation schemes
View the documentProjection from the village-level organization to cultivator organizations in public systems
View the documentExperience and problems with water user groups in public irrigation systems

Traditional organization in village-level irrigation schemes

In village-level schemes, particularly small "tank" systems, organization of irrigation distribution is generally remarkably efficient. Many of the schemes were constructed back in the days when village authority was absolute, and cultivators held their land under sufferance to the local ruler. Progressive weakening of traditional authoritarian structure and substitution by democratic process is changing the situation rapidly in some areas, but operation of village schemes remains reasonably effective. The method of operation varies, but generally an individual is delegated the task of operating all structures including turn-outs to each farm. He is paid by, and under the direction of, the cultivator group. In some cases, however, the post is inherited and carries considerable authority. Sharing of the tasks of maintaining the system is also well organized.