Institutional Design Principles for Accountability in Larger Irrigation Systems

Institutional Design Principles for Accountability in Larger Irrigation Systems

To varying degrees, an irrigation management agency may be either financially independent or financially dependent on outsidesources for funding. In most dependent cases, it is the government that controls and allocates the level of resources to the agency. Financially independent agencies depend on users for most of their income. Management agencies may also have varying degrees of organizational autonomy, ranging from fully autonomous—when authority over decisions and activities is held by the user-members— to fully dependent—when authority over decisions is held by the state. Similarly, an agency may manage a single irrigation system, or several systems. Many irrigation performance indicators are described in the literature and several useful conceptual frameworks for assessing irrigation performance have been proposed. However, it is presently impossible to apply universal performance indicators for comparative analysis of irrigation systems as there is no agreement among specialists on what such universal indicators might be. In addition, there is a dearth of available data on the performance of irrigation systems that can be used for comparative analyses. Consequently, the author seeks to show the plausibility of the proposed hypotheses, rather than to try to “prove” them in a scientific sense.