Community-based Farmer-Managed Water Management Schemes


There are many success stories of community-based farmer-managed irrigation schemes in Asia including some of the traditional farmer-managed efforts in Nepal, the “tank” systems in India and Sri Lanka, communal irrigation in the Philippines, and the “subak” systems of Bali, Indonesia. Improvements of existing community-based water management systems as well as development of new farmer-managed systems continue to be a priority for water intervention development in Asia. However, their implementation may have different objectives and focuses considering the broad spectrum of socio-economic-political issues affecting the agricultural rural communities. Various farmer participatory approaches have been adopted to focus on context specific water management issues such as coping with climate change and sustainable groundwater management for depleting aquifers.



FAO had (2005-2008) completed with the assistance of NGO networks the Andhra Pradesh Farmer Managed Groundwater Systems (APFMGS) Project, which is a participatory farmer-based groundwater management program with a new approach that championed self-governance rather than a top-down bureaucratic approach in providing services. The goals are to establish a grass-root self groundwater management institution to improve water use efficiency by enabling and educating farmers with knowledge in monitoring and managing groundwater resources on their own through artificial recharge and promotion of sustainable agricultural practices. 



 Again in drought-prone Andhra Pradesh, work is underway for the Strategic Pilot on Adaptation to Climate Change (SPACC) Project supported by the Global Environmental Fund and executed by FAO in partnership with NGO networks.  This pilot program also adheres to the principles of a community and knowledge-based approach in strengthening  the local capacities of the farmers to adapt to climate variability and change impacts in agricultural productivity.  The focus is to demonstrate the participatory approach to knowledge and skill building of the farmers in sustainable land and water management and natural resources monitoring for climate change adaptation in drought-prone areas.


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Land and Water Division, Natural Resources and Environment, Food and Agriculture Organization Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok Thailand 10200

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