The Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation has encouraged many farmers to organize water users groups for the irrigation projects as part of a pilot programme. The aim is for higher agricultural productivity and yield through the collaborative and efficient participation of beneficiary farmers engaged in irrigation. This is being achieved by reducing water losses, extending the equal and efficient irrigation and increase the cropping intensity and yield.
Now the Irrigation Department wants to extend the water user groups to cover every watercourse irrigation system throughout the country. In the new system the group leaders will be nominated by the farmers, following elections among the beneficiary farmers of the watercourse, and then approved by the Divisional Canal Officer.
Both of the leaders and the beneficiary farmers are satisfied with the water licensing system to help organise irrigation. Farmers, water users’ groups at the secondary canal level or tertiary canal level, and Irrigation staff have open access to information, and enjoy equal and efficient water distribution in throughout the managed watercourse.
Farmers can irrigate according to a proper irrigation and operation plan and get the irrigation water to their plot smoothly. Finally they can reduce their working hours in their paddy fields and waste of irrigation water through proper irrigation management is reduced.
Proper strengthening of the watercourse water user groups is very important, in order to have equal and efficient irrigation to each and every paddy plot. It can be done through the monitoring and evaluation of the activities and functions, as a way for appropriate strengthening of their activities and functions for the purpose of establishing of strong leadership and management system.
The strengthening of the watercourse water user group in Myothit Township, Magwe Division is a good example and it should be extended to other areas and irrigation projects.
Importance of the case for IWRM
Now, most of the irrigation systems in Myanmar have water user groups at different levels especially in dry zone area projects. Strengthening of water user groups enhances the active and efficient participation of farmers, in order to establish a successful water management system for sustainable development.
It is a good example of the application of some of the principles of IWRM and could be used for first step in sustainable institution of water management.