Property Rights, Water Resources, and Technology: The Missing Ecological Link

Dik Roth and Linden Vincent

in Controlling the Water

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780198082927
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199082247 | DOI:
Property Rights, Water Resources, and Technology: The Missing Ecological Link

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This chapter examines access to water in a paddy-growing tract in Palakkad district, Kerala, India. Traditionally an area served by small tanks and ponds, access to irrigation has been changed by new public canal systems and expansion of lift irrigation. It describes how the existing property rights regime, by disregarding the basic ecological properties of water and the integrated nature of land and water use, creates conditions of unequal access and unsustainable use. Tanks and tube wells play a pivotal role here. The chapter argues that the ecological characteristics of land and water resources should be an inherent component of the formulation of property rights. It also argues that the use of energized water lifting technologies be subject to ecological considerations that prioritize sustainable consumption of scarce water supplies. This is imperative not only for the integrated management of land and water, but also for an equitable water distribution.

Keywords: irrigation technology; irrigation ponds; irrigation tanks; lift irrigation; tube wells; canal irrigation; paddy cultivation; property rights regimes; irrigation ecology; irrigation in Kerala

Chapter.  9671 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sociology

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