Over the last 20 years, scholars have devoted considerable attention to the ability of farmers, fishermen, pastoralists and other types of resource users to organize, adopt, monitor and enforce institutional arrangements that govern their use of common pool resources (CPRs) in a sustainable manner (Ostrom et a/., 2002). During this period, progress has been made in carefully identifying and defining key theoretical concepts, developing typologies that organize diverse types of problems and institutional arrangements, identifying factors that help explain the circumstances under which resources users are likely to engage in collective action to develop governing arrangements, identifying design principles that account for durability of self-governing arrangements, and developing an impressive body of empirical work devoted to theory development and hypothesis testing. According to Stern et a/. (2002, p. 445) the study of institutions for managing CPRs is sufficiently developed to be recognized as a field within the social sciences. Surface irrigation systems have been a focal resource in the development of this field. Much attention and effort has been devoted to explaining the conditions that contribute to the emergence and persistence of farmer-managed irrigation systems. Comparative analyses of farmer-managed and government-managed systems have also been conducted.
This chapter extends the work of scholars on self-governance of CPRs to groundwater in irrigation settings. While work has been conducted by such scholars on groundwater basins in the USA, little focused attention has been paid to groundwater and irrigation. The first section of the chapter covers conceptual tools and theory from the field of CPR governance. The second section applies the conceptual tools and theoretical concepts to groundwater irrigation. The arguments are illustrated in two ways: first, by a comparative analysis of surface irrigation systems and groundwater irrigation; and second, through the use of several case studies. The final section explores promising
©CAB International 2007. The Agricultural Groundwater Revolution:
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types of linkages between communities of groundwater users and higher-level governments. Local-level governance is a key component of sustainably managing groundwater basins.1 How higher-level governments can encourage and support local management efforts is an important topic.
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