Irrigation Management

Development of Water Users Associations within Minor Irrigation Program - Maharashtra

Rural Development and Water Conservation Department of GoM is funded by KFW Bank of Germany for the development of 29 minor irrigation projects in 10 districts of Maharashtra as per the principle of Participatory irrigation development and management. The project aiming to increase the farmer's income through sustainable irrigated agriculture, expects the farmers to get united themselves into the Water users associations and ensure farmers' participation in planning, actual construction management, maintenance and repairs of water irrigation system. Hence, to build the capacity of the Water Users Associations, Government of Maharashtra has appointed AFARM as APEX NGO since January 2009.

AFARM assisted farmers in fifteen Water Users Associations during formation & strengthening of it, so that these Water Users Associations can play very active role in and during the design, construction, operation & maintenance of irrigation infrastructure. APEX NGO has also assisted women members in terms of capacity development of SHGs for administrative & financial management and entrepreneurship development.

The services included as per the participatory irrigation development and management are (i) facilitation for completion of irrigation systems, (ii) Training on administrative and financial management, operation & maintenance of irrigation systems & (iii) regular trainings, guidance through follow up visits to SHGs for group management, management of revolving fund, agri & livestock based micro enterprises development.

Key Achievements

  • Members of Water Users Associations (WUAs) contributed 62.5 % of cost to develop water distribution systems availing assured irrigation facility for 2300 hectares of land.
  • Operational guidelines as per the Participatory irrigation development and management include internal rules and regulations for effective functioning of Water Users Associations are performed. Regular meetings of executive committee and general body of WUAs take place.
  • Well formed financial systems are formed as per participatory irrigation development and management. Financial records are being updated resulting in timely preparation & approval of audited statements of accounts and annual reports by WUAs. Subcommittees for managing the revolving fund are formed while rules & regulations for management of revolving fund are followed in accordance with participatory irrigation development and management by WUAs.
  • A set system for Preparation & Implementation Irrigation and Repair & Maintenance Plan along with a separate system for billing of water charges & its collection is activated.
  • Gradation of all 136 SHGs completed in the 15 schemes. Of these, 96 SHGs secured ‘A’ grade, 34 SHGs got ‘B’ grade and 4 groups fell in ‘C’ grade. 31 SHGs started small business ventures like goat rearing, milk vendors, poultry, contract farming, grocery shops etc.

Capacity Building, Promoting Effective Functioning and Fostering of Water User’s Association

To promote more efficient, equitable and sustainable irrigation service deliveries through effective involvement of Water User's Associations (WUAs) and to reduce canal irrigation subsidies, GoM has passed the Maharashtra Management of Irrigation Systems by Farmers (MMISF) Act, 2005, which provided the transfer of irrigation system management to Water Users Associations and including bulk supply and volumetric charging of irrigation water to WUAs as per the participatory irrigation management in India.

For effective implementation of provisions in MMISF Act 2005, GoM has established WUAs on about selected 286 irrigation schemes in Maharashtra. Water Resources Department, GoM has engaged region specific six capable and credible NGOs to support, promote and build WUAs to act as per MMISF Act, 2005

During the period of February 2009 to January 2012, AFARM with the local support of 6 NGOs has provided capacity building services to 111 WUAs established on 56 Minor, 1 Medium and 1 Major Irrigation projects from Pune and Konkan Regions covering 9 districts.

AFARM interventions were mainly targeted at i) Educating all levels of WUAs in management of association's affairs, ii) Educating and facilitating WUAs in understanding and performing their roles and responsibilities in the irrigation system management, iii) Facilitating interaction between all levels of WUAs and with competent authority and iv) Performance monitoring of WUAs and its reporting.

AFARM and its 6 field partner NGOs facilitated i) regular meetings of WUA – Management Committees and meetings of General Body, ii) Joint Meetings of WUAs and their competent authorities as per participatory irrigation management in India iii) Timely keeping and updating of administrative and financial records, iv) Preparation of annual WUA calendar, v) Raising of partial contribution in cash and kind towards canal rehabilitation works, vi) Preparation and implementation of irrigation system operation and maintenance plan, vii) Assessment of irrigation revenue and collection of water charges, viii) Financial audit, and ix) Handover of irrigation system management to WUAs.

Key Achievements

  1. 106 WUAs out of 111 are conducting meetings of Management Committees and General Body regularly.
  2. 109 WUAs appointed WUA Secretary for overall management. Timely updating and keeping of administrative and financial records started by 107 WUAs. 45 WUAs are conducting the financial audit regularly and 100 WUAs prepared annual reports for year 2010-11.
  3. Un-opposed elections held in 82 WUAs availing the incentive amount from GoM.
  4. WUA members are participating in preparation of preliminary irrigation programming, irrigation scheduling, and measurement of supplied water and ensuring equitable rural water supply of water amongst the members.
  5. During last irrigation season, WUAs were actively involved in assessment of irrigation revenue, collection of water charges and payment to water resource department. It resulted in receipt of 75% refund of collected water charges towards operation and maintenance to respective WUAs in rural water supply
  6. Performance of 30% of WUAs found good and performance of 55% WUAs was found moderate with respect to overall management as per the participatory irrigation management system in India
  7. WUAs were felicitated with “ Late Ahilayadevi Holkar Water Users Association Management Award
  8. 18 irrigation systems were handed over to respective water users associations for rural water supply and participatory irrigation management system in India.