|Author:||Dutta, M. K. ; Bezbaruah, M. P.|
|Book Group Author:||NA|
With the increasing pressure of population on land, investment in expansion of irrigation capacity is needed for intensified cultivation of the area available for cropping in the plains of Assam, India. Ironically, however, the utilization rates of the existing irrigation projects are in general far from satisfactory. This calls for an examination of the factors behind low utilization of the existing capacity before new investment in capacity expansion can be justified. Using inputs from field investigations in the Brahmaputra Valley, the paper examines the factors behind the low utilization efficiency of irrigation projects. Besides collecting data from officials of the State Irrigation Department, responses were gathered from 105 farmers using irrigation water from government-owned projects and 67 farmers using irrigation water from privately-owned shallow tube wells. While the proximate factors affecting the utilization rates are managerial and technical in nature, some crucial institutional factors have been found to be at the root of the problem. In the case of the government-owned projects, involvement of the stakeholding farmers in the operation and maintenance of the project have been found to be a critical determinant of the utilization efficiency. In the instances where the farmers are actively organized and consequently able to establish better coordination with the government agencies, the proximate factors hindering utilization are better addressed and that leads to better delivery. In the case of privately-owned tube wells, the main factor hindering full utilization of irrigation capacity is the fragmentation of holdings. Land reform measures for consolidation of fragmented holdings could therefore contribute to improve the utilization efficiency of such projects. Alternatively, development of water markets can also facilitate better utilization of the capacity.
|Pages:||36 - 44|
|Journal:||Indian Journal of Regional Science|
efficiency, irrigation, irrigation systems, utilization,Assam, India, India, South Asia, Asia, Developing Countries,Commonwealth of Nations, watering, Agricultural Economics (EE110), SoilWater Management (Irrigation and Drainage) (JJ800) (Revised June 2002)[formerly Soil Water Management]