The process should be bold and comprehensive rather than incremental

. .. community outreach has been a continuous feature of the reform process, gathering further momentum as actions have been thought through and implemented from 1997 to the present. Extensive discussions have taken place

197. D. Groenfeldt and C. Gorriz, 'Participatory Irrigation Management in Mexico', in D. Groenfeldt (Compiler), 1998, p. 60.

across the State, including state-level large conventions, project (scheme) level workshops and smaller workshops involving NGOs at the district level. Farmer perspectives have been central to crystallizing the policy thrust and program direction. Efforts toward building understanding have been furthered since the formation of WUAs through: rural rallies in every district (30000 to 50000 persons each in July 1997) addressed by the Chief Minister; farmers conventions; district-level workshops with WUA presidents and Irrigation and Command Area Development Departments, Agriculture and Revenue Departments; and state-level conventions of all 10 292 WUA presidents held in April and December 1998. This massive public participation campaign has been instrumental in sustaining dialogue and fostering transparency throughout the process.

It is thus interesting to assess why Andhra Pradesh succeeded where other states have not, or have had to settle for more modest increases than Andhra Pradesh's tripling of rates. The principal reason is considered to be the combination of a widespread consultation and public outreach process preceding the increase, and the presentation of the increase not as a single measure but as part of a package of measures which were seen by the rural communities and the political parties as overall beneficial to the farmers.1918

The management of irrigation is a complex and often conflictive matter, and so in principle it is not advisable for WUAs to embrace activities other than those strictly related to managing irrigation. On the other hand, in developing countries there is a general deficit of farmer organizations capable of dealing with issues such as marketing, technology transfer and financing, and so in some circumstances it is useful to build on an existing WUA structure to create a shared capacity for handling some of these other matters. Preconditions for this to work are that farmers are highly motivated and that there is a clear separation between irrigation management and other development activities. In Latin America, there are a few examples of WUAs undertaking broader activities in this sense, and in the Philippines as well. Some of the advantages and disadvantages of this trend in the Philippines have been outlined by Namika Raby:

A number of irrigator associations (IAs), particularly in the reservoir and pump systems, have accumulated capital through their O&M contracts, obtained loans from the Philippines Land Bank, bought tractors, established rice mills, and undertaken the trading of rice. The conversion of the IA into a vehicle for channeling private and government based enterprise for the development of the rural sector is envisaged as the next phase in IA development. However, this has posed a dilemma in that the IAs as presently constituted are registered as non-profit, non-stock, non-sectarian organizations which then must be converted into for-profit organizations. Also, in order to qualify for loans, from the Land Bank for example, the IA must be constituted as a co-operative. There is apprehension on the part of the National Irrigation Administration that in their enthusiasm for business related activities, an IA might forget its original functions of carrying out O&M activities. However, for an IA to build up capital and become sustainable, it is logical that it become a co-operative If water is viewed as one input for agriculture, then there is a need for farmer organizations servicing other aspects of a viable agricultural program, e.g. marketing, credit, etc. .. . Allowing micro-organizations such as the current lateral-based IAs to evolve organically in response to demands from the environment, while focusing on a viable irrigator association for water delivery at the branch canal, may prove to be an alternative solution.199

198. Oblitas and Peter, 1999, pp. 11 and 13-14 [emphasis in original].

199. Namika Raby, 'Irrigation Management Transfer in the Philippines', in D. Groenfeldt (Compiler), 1998, pp. 67, 68 and 70.

Organizing WUAs and ensuring that they operate well is not a simple task, but they can make large improvements in the functioning of irrigation systems. The alternative of central management has a much higher rate of failure. In the words of Ostrom et al:.

when the design, construction, operation and management of infrastructure are predominantly organized within a single, national government and largely financed by external funds, we can predict with some confidence the following results.

• overinvestment in poorly designed and poorly constructed large-scale infrastructure facilities;

• underinvestment in the operation and maintenance of these facilities;

• rapid deterioration of infrastructure;

• excessive investment in repair and rehabilitation of previously constructed facilities.200

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