VIDEO: Crafting Institutions for Self-Governing Irrigation Systems

January 1, 1992 - Author: Elinor Ostrom

VIDEO: Crafting Institutions for Self-Governing Irrigation Systems



Crafting Institutions for Self-Governing Irrigation Systems
by Elinor Ostrom
Produced by the Institute for Contemporary Studies, 1992

A successful irrigation system exists when farmers are actively involved in the design, operation, and maintenance of barrier systems. Eight general principles help to explain how many self-governing irrigation systems work. The design principles are our effort to capture uniformities that underlie a wide variety of irrigation systems that farmers have designed and crafted for themselves.

These eight principles are:

1- A self-governing irrigation system must have clearly defined boundaries and a precise definition of who has the right to use the system;
2- A clear set of rules specifying the benefits each farmer will receive and in turn what is required from the farmers by way of labor, materials, or money;
3- The farmers affected by the operating rules in an irrigation system must be included in the group that can change these rules;
4- The monitors who are responsible for monitoring compliance with the irrigation systems rules are accountable to the farmers served by the system;
5- Farmers who violate the rules of a self-governing irrigation system should receive graduated penalties known as sanctions from other users or from officials accountable to these users.
6- Farmers and officials should have rapid access to low cost local resources to resolve conflict between farmers or between farmers and officials;
7- All self-governing irrigation systems have the need for external authorities to recognize the rights of farmers to devise their own institution;
8- For optimal organization, all rights and responsibilities for the irrigation system should be organized into multiple layers of activity known as nested enterprises.

Crafting Institutions for Self-Governing Irrigation Systems by Elinor Ostrom
Produced by the Institute for Contemporary Studies, 1992

A successful irrigation system exists when farmers are actively involved in the design, operation, and maintenance of barrier systems. Eight general principles help to explain how many self-governing irrigation systems work. The design principles are our effort to capture uniformities that underlie a wide variety of irrigation systems that farmers have designed and crafted for themselves. 

These eight principles are:

1- A self-governing irrigation system must have clearly defined boundaries and a precise definition of who has the right to use the system; 
2- A clear set of rules specifying the benefits each farmer will receive and in turn what is required from the farmers by way of labor, materials, or money; 
3- The farmers affected by the operating rules in an irrigation system must be included in the group that can change these rules; 
4- The monitors who are responsible for monitoring compliance with the irrigation systems rules are accountable to the farmers served by the system; 
5- Farmers who violate the rules of a self-governing irrigation system should receive graduated penalties known as sanctions from other users or from officials accountable to these users. 
6- Farmers and officials should have rapid access to low cost local resources to resolve conflict between farmers or between farmers and officials; 
7- All self-governing irrigation systems have the need for external authorities to recognize the rights of farmers to devise their own institution; 
8- For optimal organization, all rights and responsibilities for the irrigation system should be organized into multiple layers of activity known as nested enterprises.

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