Literature Review on Large-Scale Public and Small-Scale Farmer Irrigation Systems



The poor performance of many public irrigation schemes has demonstrated the weakness of government intervention, and some analysts, particularly neo-liberal economists, have denounced the positive governmental actions in natural resource management for producing most, if not all, of the failures which under private property rights would not have occurred. Privatization of the resource would result in excludability and an internalization of the externalities, and would allow market forces to achieve more efficiency.1 The nature of irrigation and drainage systems creates, however, numerous sources of market failures. Empirical research on traditional farmer-owned and -managed irrigation schemes have shown that these systems can guarantee an efficient water allocation and that they sustain the irrigation infrastructure. In many large-scale public irrigation systems, water-user organizations contribute towards operation and maintenance activities, and analysts have conceded that they have a positive impact on performance, but these studies have remained unsystematic as there is a wide range of options for joint management, and no studies are available as to whether they show a higher potential for controlling salinization than public systems.


Irrigation System Water Allocation Maintenance Activity Water Saving Irrigation Scheme 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Diplom-PolitologinBerlinGermany

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