Identification and Involvement of Beneficiaries

The active involvement of beneficiaries in any process of water management is the most important factor contributing to the success of the system. This involves very close participation by irrigation-beneficiaries in such activities like construction of field channel, levelling of land and bunding for avoiding of waste and taking of water to their fields. Fair and equitable distribution of irrigation water, taking into account the needs of the users, cannot be carried out by irrigation department officials alone, even when they are strengthened by legal measures, except with the co-operation of users themselves. Apart from this the users have also a responsible role to play to ensure that the irrigation system constructed at a considerable cost is not subjected to acts of mischief.

It is from this point of view that organising water users into co-operative societies does open a way out for the problem. The problem of equitable distribution of water can well be tackled by the co-operative societies of the irrigation users. It is that co-operative movement can involve itself intensively by taking over the administration of water supply below the outlet level by forming co-operatives. Apart from assisting the Government, these co-operatives will involve the users more intimately in the operation of the system for their mutual benefit.

Involvement of people in the water shed management is an important tool for successful implementation as well as for the maintenance of community assets. It acts as a bound component in planning, implementing and managing soil conservation activities.

For efficient functioning following steps should be taken:

  1. Offer a forum to interact with external agencies interested in supporting development works.
  2. Disseminate the implications of integrated watershed management to people in general.
  3. Mobilise direct and indirect contributions from the beneficiaries to form a community fund and administer the same professionally so as to maintain the community assets created under the programme.
  4. Promote and support creation of other functional groups (e.g.) Nursery raising groups, milk and vegetable producers union, agro-processing groups etc.
  5. Resolve conflicts locally and democratically.
  6. Form and implement collective decisions on matters related to watershed management.