HOW TO MEASURE PEOPLES ATTITUDES CONCERNING WATER?
AYSE KUDATSOCIAL ASSESSMENT2002
WATER IS LIFE Shortages of water, inadequate and irregular supply causes people to resort to a broad range of quality and quantity enhancement strategies; When coping mechanisms are ineffective, latent or manifest conflict arises among key stakeholders; Potable water shortages are more severe than irrigation water; There is limited trust that water resources will be managed to the satisfaction of all stakeholders; trust for local authorities, fellow farmers and for people of different ethnic origin is high; Farmers want to have more independence in managing water resources;There is limited involvement of women in farming decisions. Women are said to be more skilful in conflict resolution; The evaluation of farming as a profession is mixed; some feel that it promises much while others are pessimistic; There is strong support for the proposed project; Support for longer term project objectives is even stronger.
1. People do not share irrigation water; 2. Many downstream communities have disagreement with the upstream one for water;3. There is a lot of conflict between neighbors for water; 4. Not even neighbors trust one another when it comes to irrigation water;5. Shirkat farmers have a much easier time than dehkan or private farmers; 6. Cultivators are favored over cattle and sheep breeders; 7. Being of different ethnic origin aggravates water conflicts; 8. Some ethnic groups do not get their fair share of resourcesCOMMUNITIESNEIGHBORSDIFFERENT CATAGORIES OF FARMERSETHNICTHERE IS HIGH POTENTIAL FOR CONFLICT AMONG COMMUNITIES
Farmers and ethnic groups have little conflict Conflict Over Water Resources Occurs among Many Stakeholders* The area inside the red line points to scope of potential conflictSource: Karshi SA, 2001There is substantial conflict over water
Farmers and ethnic groups have little conflict
There is little trust in the system
Reasons for Conflict
In old times, the conflicts over water were caused by the traditional arid conditions of the area. Today, conflict arises from the nature of the system of agriculture, put in place since the 1960s, which has increased the production of more water intensive crops through a network of pumped irrigation. The operations of the system installed, for many reasons, result in insufficient water in a timely fashion for all those who wish to use the system. The impact of water shortages can be dramatic for irrigated agriculture that depends on water supplied in sufficient quantity and quality at the times in the agricultural season when it is needed technically. As one farmer put it, If the irrigation system does not deliver water for cotton even once or twice, then yields are reduced 25-30% and cotton becomes unprofitable. If the system fails three times, not even expenses are covered. And if one farmer in an area has enough water and a good crop while another farmer has insufficient water and no crop, there will be a scandal.
Reasons for Conflict (contd)
According to focus groups, the main reasons for specific incidents of conflict are:
Lack of precision as well as flexibility in contracts between land owners and leasers over water. The leaser often contends that any payment owed the land owner is void if the state does not provide irrigated water, a condition the land owner is not often prepared to accept;Both leasers and owners have imprecise information concerning who is responsible for the distribution of water, the terms and conditions of the distribution, and whether it actually takes place as contracted. Determining who is responsible for water is difficult, and thus anyone and everyone can become responsible for a problem;Those at the end of the irrigation system are under-serviced by the irrigation system,, particularly in recent times during which lack of water has been exacerbated by drought. Since the shirkat head is usually responsible for allocating land, those who receive land away from the irrigation canals are apt to be unhappy.The shirkat head appears to have the authority and the power to cut off irrigated water for private and dehkan farms and allocate this water to shirkat fields; water engineers (the mirabs) report administratively to the shirkat head.There is little transparency in water distribution. As one private farmer in the Nishan district put it, Every farmer has a right for a certain quantity of water, but I dont know how much water my neighbor actually took. In addition, because there is no metering, there is no objective basis on which to judge water distribution.
Conflict within stakeholder groups at the same level of water resource management tends to be between two participants and on the basis of issues directly related to the two participants involved. The nature of conflict among stakeholder groups is as follows:
Among dehkan farmers who use irrigated water for their small plots conflict is usually due to a dehkan (i) close to the intra-farm irrigation canal closing off water to one further away; and (ii) not respecting irrigation scheduling accepted by neighboring farmers;Among private farmers conflict arises from: (i) one farmer using more water than permitted by the irrigation schedule or by an amended schedule when the shirkat has taken more than its agreed share; and in a few cases by (ii) one farmer unsatisfactorily maintaining irrigation and drainage systems;Between private farmers and family brigades within a shirkat especially since the private farmers may be allocated land downstream of the family brigades. As one official in the Nishan District observed, Farmers were given land two or three years ago when there enough water for everyone, but now with scarcity, family brigades get the priority allocation and private farmers get what is left.;Among heads of family brigades within a shirkat, conflicts arise because: (i) one brigades cuts off the water of another brigade; (ii) incorrect water allocation by the shirkat water engineer results in insufficient/untimely water for a brigade; and (iii) some brigades may not maintain the irrigation/drainage system in ways that impact other brigades;Among shirkat heads, disputes may arise over overall allocations and scheduling, especially at the Khokimiyat levels, and during the agricultural season when one shirkat is taking water and another feels it is being penalized.
Conflict between different levels of society over water arise among the stakeholders:
Between private farmers and shirkat heads over: (i) more water being allocated to shirkat brigades at the expenses of private farms; (ii) insufficient attention to irrigation and drainage maintenance that may impact one group at the expense of another; (iii) inadequate attention to private farmers in scheduling water release; and (iv) failure of the shirkat to take action with regard to over-utilization of water by some farmers;Between dehkan farmers and shirkat heads over: (i) unauthorized use of water by dehkan farmers especially when shirkat lands are being irrigated; (ii) prohibition for dehkans to water plots at certain times; (iii) unauthorized use of water by dehkans, especially in ways that hurt the irrigation systems; (iv) use of potable water by dehkans for irrigation; (v) permission for relatives of shirkat heads to water their backyard land plots at the expense of dehkan farmers;Between family brigade heads and shirkat heads over: (i) lack of maintenance on brigade land for which brigades are responsible; (ii) water supply limitations; and (iii) not respecting irrigation schedules;Between family brigade heads/private farmers and shirkat water engineers over: (i) mistakes by engineers on water distribution that are then blamed on farmers; (ii) unauthorized use of water by farmers; and (iii) the lack of precise information on the quantity of irrigation water to be supplied.Between shirkat heads and Rayselvodkhoz officials over the initial calculation of water volumes and irrigation scheduling which is usually solved quickly except when water scarcity forces the Rayselvodkhoz officials to introduce changes to the agreements, including rationing.
The concept and ramifications of stealing water, the unauthorized use of water designed for another individual or farm, was the subject of much discussion in focus groups. The nature of stealing is ambiguous since most people do not have a clear idea that water belongs to anyone and therefore it is not difficult to find an excuse for taking water. On the other hand it is also clear that stealing war causes loss and suffering for others. Stealing occurs both vertically and horizontally and conflicts can become acute, often involving the use of force, especially when crops are dry or backyard gardens nee