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Urbanization of irrigation schemes: problems, opportunities and trade-offs. Lessons from French and Bolivian experiences

Abstract : Summary Urbanization of irrigation schemes leads to numerous changes in land and water uses from surface irrigation schemes, creating unique challenges and opportunities for agricultural water users and urban dwellers alike. On the one hand, irrigation systems, developed locally through farmers' impulsion, private or State donor support, were often designed to meet the needs of agriculture only. On the other hand, the urbanization of irrigation systems enables new and sometimes joint beneficial uses, leading to the growing recognition of the multiple use potential of these systems. This article analyses two very much interdependent issues: urbanization of irrigation schemes and development of surface irrigation canal multiple-uses. The paper aims at analyzing how irrigation associations, agencies and generally benefactors' representatives are adjusting to the urbanization process, and how new agreements are being crafted to address the many issues related to urban encroachment and the multiple uses of canal systems. It analyzes what may be expected from institutional agreements in dealing with this adjustment process. This analysis is based on two country case studies: France and Bolivia. These countries exhibit different socio-economic and legal conditions and traditions. However, Bolivia may be viewed as a good example of developing country context, while France is of interest because of its rather unique legal framework, which bears specific consequences on the way urbanization process is dealt with in irrigation schemes. In France and Bolivia, the consequences of urbanization on irrigation schemes are first presented. Then, the main components of multiple uses from irrigation canals are described, e.g. both positive and negative externalities of canals situated in urban or peri-urban areas, as well as new services that these canals offer, such as raw water service for urban users. At last, the article analyses the different existing institutional agreements that have been designed to ensure the continuous presence of positive externalities, delivery of new services, and tackling negative externalities. A typology of these local agreements is proposed. It appears that there is ample room for institutional agreements of benefit for both irrigation farmers and other users, and that these arrangements almost always designed between local actors in a bottom-up way, based on local issues and initiatives may bring satisfying solutions for a large set of problems dealing with urbanization and multiple uses of canals. This discussion, which remains much more pragmatic that theoretical, may help think better how to implement integrated management for irrigation canals and their water resource. It investigates specific dimensions to integrated water resource management, first by enlarging the concepts of efficiency and water savings, second by broadening the concept of integrated water resource management to artificial resources and theirs management potentialities
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Submitted on : Friday, May 15, 2020 - 12:42:05 PM
Last modification on : Friday, October 8, 2021 - 4:26:55 PM


  • HAL Id : hal-02588386, version 1
  • IRSTEA : PUB00020473


M. Ladki, Nicolas Faysse, D. Vega, E. Bechard. Urbanization of irrigation schemes: problems, opportunities and trade-offs. Lessons from French and Bolivian experiences. FAO IPTRID Seminar, Rome,ITA, 23 october 2006, 2006, pp.41. ⟨hal-02588386⟩



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