Contributions to High Groundwater Levels and Salinity Caused by the Operation and Maintenance of the Lower Seyhan Irrigation Project
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The central issue of this chapter is to identify the contributions to high groundwater levels, waterlogging and salinization by the operation and maintenance of the Lower Seyhan Irrigation Project. There, two management settings can be studied where the state agency and farmer groups share in O&M responsibilities: in 1981 village-based Water User Groups (WUG) with limited O&M responsibilities were established, and in 1994, Water User Associations (WUA) were initiated with a wider scope of autonomy. The working hypothesis is that in large-scale public irrigation systems institutional constraints bias towards the effective control of high groundwater levels and salinity if the state management unit is embedded in a highly centralized decision-making structure where the state agency is dependant on centrally allocated O&M budgets, and where the O&M budget allocations have nothing to do with the quality of the services provided, or with local O&M and salinity control requirements. If poor control mechanisms on performance, and if no accountability linkages are in place, public officials have no incentives for performing their duties well. The water charges, usually, do not instigate water-use efficiency, because they show no relation to the amount of water applied, and the officially introduced water allocation rules are poorly enforced although their enforcement could limit water distribution problems and could restrict excess water inputs. It is, furthermore, assumed that if irrigator groups participate in O&M activities, operation and maintenance will improve. The potential of the two public-farmer settings for controlling high groundwater levels and salinization is evaluated.
KeywordsProject Area Service Area Irrigation Scheme Irrigation Season Water Charge
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