Collected Papers by Bryan Bruns

Visualizing the Topology of 2X2 Games: From Prisoner’s Dilemma to Win-win

International Conference on Game Theory, Stony Brook, NY, July 11 - 15, 2011

As a tool for institutional analysis and design, this paper presents additional visualizations of Robinson and Goforth’s topology of ordinal 2x2 games linked by swaps in adjoining payoffs, in a modified, more accessible version of their “periodic table” display, including a complete set of game families and common names. The visualizations show the elegant arrangement of game properties in the topology, and locate Prisoner’s Dilemma and other games most studied by game theory research within the full set of strict ordinal 2x2 games, which are mostly asymmetric, mostly with mixed interests, and a fourth of which have win-win equilibria. Additional families of games, categorized by payoffs at Nash Equilibria, illustrate further order in the topology. The topology provides a framework for index numbers and common names to identify similar and related games, which could contribute to cumulative research and understanding of relationships among 2x2 games. For the design of institutional mechanisms, visualization of the topology can help to understand re-alignments of incentive structures that might be reached through negotiation, side payments, or changes in information, technology, preferences, or rules; mapping potential transformations into the adjacent possible.
Symmetric games on the diagonal

Switching Games: Visualizing the Adjacent Possible in the Topology of Two-person Two-strategy Games

2X2 Working Group Session 2, Canadian Economics Association, Ottawa, June 4, 2011

This paper presents and applies an alternative visualization of the Robinson-Goforth topology of two-person two-strategy games, combining order graphs, numeric bimatrices, names, and abbreviations to display game properties and relationships, along with additional displays of structures in the topology. The case of government investment in irrigation aid, and its alternative formulations as a Samaritan's Dilemma, Prisoner's Dilemma, Chicken, or Battle of the Sexes, illustrates the benefits of a more general framework for understanding the relationships between games, and the ways they can be transformed.

144 games

Informing and Enabling Local Ground Water Governance for Yemen

Taha Taher, Bryan Bruns, Omar Bamaga, Adel Al-Weshali, and Frank van Steenbergen. National Conference on Management and Development of Water Resources in Yemen, January 15-17, 2011
Inform and enable paper31122010 final

This paper discusses local groundwater management in Yemen and how stakeholders can work together to improve water governance. In the last few decades the discourse on groundwater management in Yemen has increasingly been cast in terms of crisis – triggered by rapidly declining groundwater tables around cities and in main agricultural areas. However, in many areas in the country farmers have responded to these threats to local water security by implementing at least some local rules and restrictions on the use of groundwater. This paper describes this trend towards development of local groundwater governance, which could make a major contribution in realizing the goals of national water sector policies and strategies. Seven cases from different parts of the country are presented. The paper discusses how the process of local management could be nurtured and how it could contribute to restoring balance in water use in Yemen.

Aquifers, balance of recharge and

Design Patterns for Customizing Irrigation Governance

Sustaining Commons: Sustaining Our Future. International Association for the Study of Commons, Hyderabad, India, January 10-14, 2011

How can experience with good solutions for institutional design be shared in ways that help customize governance for diverse situations? In their pattern language for architecture and regional planning, Christopher Alexander and colleagues identified patterns, primarily based on successful vernacular architectures, which could be selectively combined and customized to fit particular situations. Similarly, institutional design patterns could be helpful in creating and adapting governance for commons. A semantic mediawiki could offer a useful platform for sharing design patterns, and collaborating to identify and develop design patterns, as part of the semantic web. Elinor Ostrom’s design principles for commons, and principles for irrigation governance identified by Trawick illustrate design patterns useful for customizing irrigation governance.

Pattern template

Transmuting Samaritan's Dilemmas in Irrigation Aid: An Application of the Topology of 2X2 Games

International Association for the Study of Commons North American Meeting. Tempe AZ, September 30-October 2, 2010

Aid risks discouraging or 'crowding out' local effort in commons such as irrigation systems, posing problems for international development programs, including attempts to promote participatory irrigation management (PIM) and irrigation management transfer (IMT). James Buchanan used game theory models to analyze structures of payoffs and preferences that create what he named Samaritan’s Dilemmas. The topology of 2x2 ordinal games developed by Robinson and Goforth offers a useful tool for examining the relationship between Samaritan’s Dilemmas and other problems of collective action, and the potential for institutional solutions through changing payoffs. In the case of irrigation aid, switches in payoffs that realign incentives to favor joint investments, and thereby transmute Samaritan's Dilemma into a Win-win Commons game, show the potential for counter-intuitive solutions through increased attention to co-management and joint investment in commons.

Samaritan's Dilemma transmuted into Pure

Working with Institutional Artisans: 
Co-evolutionary Visions and Multiple Roles for Practitioner Participation in Redesigning Commons

Society for Applied Anthropology. 70th Annual Meeting. Vulnerabilities and Exclusion in Globalization. Mérida, México. March 24-27, 2010

How can or should applied social scientists work with communities seeking to govern shared resources? Concepts of co-evolving discursive communities, helping self-help, and citizen problem-solving offer ways of envisioning work with institutional artisans. Respectful engagement in institutional artisanship may require balancing roles as consultant, teacher, official, or researcher, and thinking through the implications of relationships as peer, partner, advisor, and citizen. Rethinking roles and visions can make social scientists more effective in working with citizens of co-evolving communities in adapting governance of commons.

Roles for working with institutional

Metaphors and Methods for Institutional Synthesis

Panel on Water Resource Governance and Design Principles. Workshop on the Workshop IV, Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Indiana University, Bloomington, June 3-6, 2009.

In the design space between blueprint panaceas and spontaneous order, what scope is there for deliberate institutional artisanship to apply ideas from institutional analysis and design (IAD) and related social science? This paper briefly surveys approaches to improving institutional design, focusing on applications for irrigated waterscapes and other contexts of institutional diversity. Concepts such as building, balancing, aligning, crafting, fitting, adapting, improvising, and navigating institutions identify assumptions and opportunities for influencing changes in collective action. Analysis suggests what may be necessary, favorable, vulnerable, feasible, or ideal, but better strategies are needed to foster the synthesis of diverse institutions that are not just workable, but good. The range of approaches available may include not only offering examples, enforcement, funding, technical diagnosis, and facilitation processes, but also expanding options, switching starting points, challenging assumptions, asking about design principles, and appreciative inquiry. Examples from irrigation in northeast Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia illustrate challenges and opportunities for improving institutional artisanship.

Metaphors and methods

Aiding Adaptive Co-management in Irrigation

Paper read at “Governing Shared Resources: Connecting Local experience to Global Challenges,” International Association for the Study of the Commons. Cheltenham, England, July 14-18, 2008.

Shared governance of water flows and infrastructure poses a critical challenge for institutional design by water users and state agencies. Programs for participatory irrigation management (PIM) and irrigation management transfer (IMT) are often insufficient to achieve equitable water distribution and adequate infrastructure maintenance. If future responses to local and global challenges such as water scarcity and agricultural transformation only repeat past approaches, then they are likely to result in familiar frustrations and disappointments. Insights into potential solutions can be derived from understanding irrigation waterscapes as complex adaptive systems and from analysis of Samaritan's dilemmas and other social dilemmas affecting aid.

Alterning aid

Community Priorities for Water Rights: Some Conjectures on Assumptions, Principles and Programmes

In Community-Based Water Law and Water Resource Management Reform in Developing Countries, edited by B. Van Koppen, M. Giordano, and J. Butterworth, eds. Wallingford, UK: CABI. 2007.

Increasing policy support for community participation in natural resources management has been challenged by questions about the feasibility, risks and results of such approaches. The application of participatory approaches for improving basin-scale water governance should be considered in light of critical analysis of community-based natural resources management and institutional design principles for common-property resources management. Problems of conflicting interests and contextual contingency (politics and history) illustrate the need for revising assumptions and expectations. A community perspective on principles for institutional design leads to distinct priorities for improving basin water allocation. Measures to support community involvement in basin water governance, such as legislative reform, legal empowerment, networking, advocacy, participatory planning, technical advice and facilitation should be formulated to fit community priorities for negotiating rights to water.

Community priorities for water rights

Irrigation Water Rights: Options for Pro-Poor Reform

Irrigation and Drainage: Special Issue: Irrigation and Poverty Alleviation: Pro-poor Intervention Strategies in Irrigated Agriculture. 56 (2-3) (April July) 2007.

Disempowerment and deprivation of access to irrigation water contribute to poverty. Water rights can yield significant benefits for poor farmers, but changes in water rights institutions pose risks if not well designed and developed. This paper describes pro-poor options for improving irrigation water rights. Project interventions can deliberately negotiate water rights, for example through share systems, to reduce inequities in distribution and target improved supplies to poor people. Recourse to outside assistance for resolving water conflicts offers protection against local injustice, if water rights of user communities and individuals are suitably recognized. Measurement of water quantities, including suitable proxies such as proportional division of flows and time-based turns, makes rights meaningful and management more accountable. Legal education and aid can empower poor water users to understand and defend their rights. Reforms in water rights can be sequenced to prioritize secure rights for poor water users. Thus, a range of institutional options is available for designing and implementing pro-poor reforms in irrigation water rights.

Pro-poor water rights

Reconstituting Water Rights: Pathways for Polycentric Praxis

“Survival of the Commons: Mounting Challenges and New Realities,” International Association for the Study of Common Property. Bali, Indonesia, 2006.

Contemporary conflicts about water markets, vulnerability of rural rights to water, river basin organizations, privatization of water utilities, and water as a human right concern not only specific revisions to water policies, laws, and regulations, but disputes about how rules will be made. They raise questions about who takes part, the scope of rulemaking, concepts for framing discourse, decision procedures, and the authority of multiple institutions engaged in revising and enforcing rules regulating water resources. The difficulty of resolving such constitutional-level choices explains some of the polarization, misunderstanding, and frustration apparent in efforts to reform water governance. Increased application of polycentric principles could open more pathways for solving collective action problems and expand options for the survival, creation, and transformation of common property in water.


Water Rights Reform: Lessons for Institutional Design

Edited by Bryan Bruns, Claudia Ringler and Ruth Meinzen-Dick. Washington, D.C.: International Food Policy Research Institute. 2005.

Internationally there is growing understanding that water rights are important and that a lack of effective water rights systems creates major problems for the management of increasingly scarce water supplies. However, discussion of water rights has often failed to recognize the range of available institutional options, the rich diversity of lessons from experience, and the need for appropriate flexibility in adapting institutional design to dynamic local conditions. In response to these concerns, the editors and other colleagues organized an international working conference, held in Hanoi, Vietnam, in February 2003, which brought together practitioners and researchers working on water rights reform. To further share ideas on improving water rights reform, this volume presents revised versions of selected papers from the conference. The focus is on experiences with implementing water rights reform, Cases come from countries in six continents, and many of the authors draw on additional practical experience and research in multiple countries and regions.allocation systems, contributed empirical and conceptual knowledge to the discussion.


The Emergence of Polycentric Water Governance in Northern Thailand

Uraivan Tankimyong, Pakping Chalad Bruns, and Bryan Randolph Bruns. In Asian Irrigation in Transition: Responding to Challenges, edited by Ganesh Shivakoti, Douglas Vermillion, Wai Fung Lam, Elinor Ostrom, Ujjwal Pradhan, and Robert Yoder, New Delhi: Sage. 2005.

Polycentric water governance in northern Thailand is emerging in a complex set of interacting institutional transitions. Conflicts, including upstream-downstream contests over water quantity, water quality, and watershed land-uses, are co-evolving with self-reform processes within local irrigation institutions, diverse communities, government agencies, and civil society organizations. Changes in water governance bridge multiple scales: linking local organizations, convening subbasin forums, and engaging national debates about rights to land and water.
Emergence conclusions

Routes to Water Rights

In Liquid Relations: Contested Water Rights and Legal Complexity, edited by Dik Roth, Rutgerd Boelens, and Margreet Zwarteveen, New Brunswick NJ: Rutgers University Press. 2005.

Increasing competition and conflict over water resources bring pressures to more precisely define rights that are currently implicit and embodied in a complex variety of institutions influencing access to water. This paper explores routes to efficiently developing water rights as a means for improving water resources management. Adaptive strategies that acknowledge and work with legal complexity may be more effective than overambitious policies that ignore or undermine local capacity for self-governance. Examples from Southeast Asia illustrate some of the challenges involved in changing water allocation institutions. Methods for optimizing the transaction costs of reforming water rights are reviewed. Transaction costs tend to increase with expansion in the scope and scale of stakeholders, but may rise or fall along different pathways of institutional change. Development of water rights need not require imposing universal registration and quantification of rights, and could primarily rely on demand-driven processes emphasizing voluntary initiative, local knowledge, self-governance, and negotiation among stakeholders. As an alternative to recommendations that government agencies attempt to administer opportunity-cost water prices, accelerate formation of water markets, or impose uniformly formalized water tenure, adaptive strategies acknowledging and capable of interacting with the legal complexity of existing water allocation institutions may offer more feasible, equitable, and efficient routes to improving water management.

Facilitating rights-based management

From Voice to Empowerment: Rerouting Irrigation Reform in Indonesia

Indonesia’s 1987 Irrigation Operation and Maintenance Policy introduced a series of efforts to improve irrigation management through increased farmer participation. Small schemes were to be transferred to water user associations, while in larger schemes irrigation service fees were to be introduced through participatory institutions and operation and maintenance made more efficient. In 1999, amidst dissatisfaction with the results of earlier efforts, the Indonesian government proclaimed a new irrigation reform policy aimed at farmer empowerment. This paper analyzes the dynamics of reform over the twelve years between these policies.


Strengthening Collective Action

Bryan Bruns and Pakping Chalad Bruns. In Collective Action and Property Rights for Sustainable Development, IFPRI 2020 Focus 11, edited by Ruth S. Meinzen-Dick and Monica Di Gregorio. Washington, D.C.: International Food Policy Research Institute. 2004.

What can be done when people seem unable or unwilling to act together to pursue their interests? Insights on factors crucial to stimulating and sustaining collective action have come from abstract game theory, laboratory experiments, historical research, case studies, and practical experience.This brief draws on this research to review how citizens, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), government agencies, and others can strengthen collective action.

strengthening collective action

Water Tenure Reform: Developing an Extended Ladder of Participation

Politics of the Commons: Articulating Development and Strengthening Local Practices, International Association for the Study of Common Property Regional Conference, Chiang Mai, Thailand, July 11-14, 2003.

Analysis of participation raises issues not only about how much citizens are engaged in government decisions, but also how much government is engaged in decisions made by citizens and their organizations. Many current policies seek to increase participation in water resources governance, but face questions about the extent to which institutional reforms actually shift power and influence in decisionmaking. Building on Arnstein’s “ ladder of citizen participation” and subsequent literature on ladders, spectrums and other typologies of participatory governance and co-management, this paper synthesizes an extended scale of participation covering engagement in government decisions, joint decisions, and empowerment to support decentralized decisionmaking.
Extended ladder of participation

Participation in Nanotechnology: Methods and Challenges

Paper read at Information to Empowerment: A Global Perspective. International Association for Public Participation. Ottawa Canada, May 19-22, 2003.

There are increasing calls for better public participation in responding to the social and ethical issues expected to arise with nanotechnology research and development. Using a framework of different levels of participation, this paper discusses relevant methods for improving participation. Key challenges concern risk communication, dealing with disruptive technologies, and the possibilities for participatory governance in research and development communities.

Levels of participation in nanotech

Negotiating Transitions in Water Rights

Ruth Meinzen-Dick and Bryan Bruns. Water Resources Impact. March 2003.

The social institutions that shape how claims to water are recognized and enforced will continue to change. The challenge, as water grows increasingly scarce around the world, is how to best navigate the process of change, identifying opportunities to shift to- wards more equitable, productive, and sustainable use of water – resolving conflicts over water peacefully and fairly. Water rights flow from customary laws, local practices, and religious values, as well as government statutes, reg- ulations, and bureaucratic procedures. A clearer recogni- tion of the multiple sources of water rights offers both a better, more realistic understanding of how people estab- lish and defend their access to water, and insight into the scope for and importance of negotiation of water allocation.


Water Rights: A Synthesis Paper on Institutional Options for Improving Water Allocation

Synthesis paper prepared after the  International Working Conference on Water Rights: Institutional Options for Improving Water Allocation, February 12-15, 2003, at Baoson International Hotel, Hanoi, Vietnam. 2003.

Water rights are an emerging issue in many countries, as increasing competition over water and other changes bring demands to reform institutions for water governance, revise rules about water rights and improve implementation. Conference sessions examined institutional frameworks for water rights; the political economy of water rights reforms, particularly equity considerations; implementation issues; priority knowledge gaps; and stakeholder outreach and consultation. Facilitated discussion groups and plenary sessions formulated recommendations on reforming water rights as a means for improving water allocation.

parallel arrows

Frameworks for Water Rights: An Overview of Institutional Options

Bryan Bruns and Ruth Meinzen-Dick. Chapter 1 in Water Rights Reform: Lessons for Institutional Design. International Food Policy Research Institute. 2005. 

This chapter offers an overview of institutional options for water rights. It introduces reasons why water rights are important and are receiving increasing attention, and then presents general principles related to property rights. Various institutional arrangements may regulate socially accepted claims to water, including self-governance, agency administration, and water markets. Methods for improving water rights and water allocation institutions include forming forums, clarifying water rights, planning and modeling techniques, and capacity building for specialized management agencies. Institutional options for improving water rights can be combined into a framework that draws optimally on the strengths of various water allocation institutions.

Overlapping government, market and
                        use-based allocation institions

Reforming Water Rights: Governance, Tenure, and Transfers

Bryan Randolph Bruns, Claudia Ringler, and Ruth Meinzen-Dick. Chapter 12 in Water Rights Reform: Lessons for Institutional Design. International Food Policy Research Institute. 2005.

Water rights can be useful tools for protecting availability of water for basic needs, securing irrigation deliveries, increasing urban water supplies, and enhancing environmental flows. The water rights reforms reviewed in this book show some common patterns in performance problems that induce institutional change, initiative by government, increases in stake- holder consultation, concern with transferability of water rights, and con- tinuing challenges in implementing new policies and responding to environ- mental needs. As a whole, reform experience suggests that institutional design should pay much more attention to the time dimension of water rights reforms. A phased approach offers a practical pathway to making reforms more effective in (1) redesigning water governance, (2) resolving water tenure, and (3) regulating transfers of water rights. To help guide future reform efforts, research priorities include improving understanding of existing forms of rights to water, analyzing critical factors for institutional design, advance testing of alternative rules, and empirical assessment of institutional alternatives.
Table: redesigning governance,
                            resolving tenure and regulating transfers

Water Rights and Legal Pluralism: Four Contexts for Negotiation

Bryan Bruns and Ruth Meinzen-Dick. Natural Resources Forum 25 (1): 1-10. 2002.

Increasing water scarcity is increasing pressure on water management institutions, particularly water rights.  A common response is to formalize water tenure, but that is only one of several options for securing access and resolving conflicts concerning water allocation.  This article looks at four contexts where negotiation, self-governance and concepts of legal pluralism may help improve water resource management. Existing users and potential new users need to negotiate before water resources are developed. Users can participate in forums enabled to solve basin management problems through self-governance. Negotiated water transfers offer an alternative to water acquisition by expropriation.

Renegotiating rights, water tenure, basin
                      governance, intersectoral transfers

Open Sourcing Nanotechnology Research and Development: Issues and Opportunities

 Nanotechnology: Science and Technology of Nanostructures 12(3): 198-210. 2001.

The prominent role of software in nanotechnology research and development suggests that open source development methods might offer advantages in improving reliability, performance and accessibility. Open source approaches have shown new opportunities for voluntary cooperation to create and improve complex software. Suitable software licences could be used to promote access, compatibility and sharing of improvements. Many companies currently associated with nanotechnology produce materials, equipment and research and development services, all of which could support open source business models; however, no company yet emphasizes an open source strategy. Some molecular modelling software is already open source or public domain. Software for molecular engineering constitutes an important opportunity for open sourcing, especially if systems architectures encouraging collaboration can be further developed. Analysis suggests that the net impact of open sourcing would be to enhance safety. Initiatives for open sourcing of molecular nanotechnology could be strengthened by coalition building, and appropriate strategies for open source licensing of copyrights and patents.

comparison of licenses

Exchange Visits as a Learning and Networking Tool

Exchange visits can be a useful tool, but deserve careful preparation in order to make them effective and avoid wasting the time of visitors and hosts. Part One of this paper explores practical issues in planning and conducting exchange visits, while Part Two looks at the values, principles and paradigms of peer-to-peer learning and sharing that can be enhanced through exchange visits,

Negotiating Water Rights

Edited by Bryan Bruns and Ruth Meinzen-Dick. London: Intermediate Technology Publications. New Delhi: Vistaar Division of Sage Publications, India. 2000.

A collection of case studies examining how water users can act to protect local water rights and cooperate to improve institutions for water allocation. Edited by and with introductory and concluding chapters by Bryan Bruns and Ruth Meinzen-Dick. Published by
Intermediate Technology Publications, London for international distribution, and for South and Southeast Asia by Vistaar Publications, a Division of Sage Publications, India. U.S. distribution by Stylus Publications. Further information available from the International Food Policy Research Institute. An extract from the concluding chapter is available on this site.

Nanotechnology and the Commons: Implications of Open Source Abundance in Millenial Quasi-Commons

Constituting the Commons: Crafting Sustainable Commons in the New Millennium Eighth Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property Bloomington, Indiana, USA, May 31-June 4, 2000

Considering the implications of nanotechnology helps explore the prospects for common property institutions. Open source approaches to developing computer software create new com- mons in shared intellectual property. Applying open source principles to the development of nanotechnology and biotechnology might accelerate the growth of freely available knowledge. In- creasing resource reuse and abundance may shift the balance between private benefits and broader interests in ways that favor the creation of commons. Users of shared spaces that are formally public or private property already assert increasing roles in governance, constituting quasi-commons. Longer lifetimes may encourage the crafting of new commons on a millennial time scale. Nanotechnology opens interesting opportunities for constituting new commons.
                      nano strategies

Making Irrigators' Organizations Creditworthy

In Irrigators’ Organisations: Government Actions Towards Effective Irrigators’ Organisations with special reference to Lao PDR and Vietnam.

Edited by Charles L. Abernethy and Franz Heim. Feldafing: DSE-German Foundation for International Development.
Lack of credit limits the effectiveness of irrigators' organizations. Microfinance programs have proved that the poor are creditworthy. This paper outlines how principles of successful microfinance programs might be used to make irrigators' organizations creditworthy.
                      WUAs creditworthy

Water Rights Questions

Tenth Afro-Asian Regional Conference on Irrigation and Drainage, Bali, Indonesia, July 19-25, 1998.

This essay outlines a series of questions for understanding current water rights and the prospects for improving water allocation institutions to cope with increasing competition and demands for intersectoral reallocation. It concludes by contrasting assumptions about water rights formalization, rights holders, enforcement, allocation principles, efficiency, duration, flexibility and transferability. The default assumption for understanding existing rights and for considering reforms in water rights might best be conceived as assuming that rights concern water for which there are already existing uses and claims, formalization should be the exception rather than the rule, rights should be proportional to flows, held by irrigators’ associations or other collective entities, and mainly regulated according to local custom and practice through user self-governance, with courts and state agencies having only a secondary role. Rights should secure the access to all water currently diverted, with consumptive use and return flows only considered if usage is to be changed or transferred.
water rights characteristics and

Renegotiating Water Rights: Directions for Improving Public Participation in South and Southeast Asia

Bryan Bruns and Ruth Meinzen-Dick. Participation in Turbulent Times 1997 Conference of the International Association for Public Participation Toronto, September 8, 1997

As competition for water resources increases, how can we draw on the body of available experience with participatory approaches to develop better institutions for water resource allocation? This paper tries to identify relevant directions for improving water resources management, focusing particularly on the experience of rapidly growing countries in South and Southeast Asia and lessons from earlier efforts to improve participation in irrigation.

conclusion points

Participatory Management for Agricultural Water Control in Vietnam: Challenges and Opportunities

Background paper presented at the National Seminar on Participatory Irrigation Management in Vietnam. April 7-11, 1997. Vinh City, Nghe An, Vietnam.  

Vietnam already has participatory institutions which can provide a good framework for improving operation and maintenance of irrigation, drainage and flood control, if these institutions are suitably developed. However, there are still serious weaknesses, and a risk that if irrigation development is not wisely managed it could undermine existing institutional strengths. Efforts to improve participation can draw on a variety of experience, within Vietnam and in many other countries. As a basis for stimulating discussion this paper outlines several key sets of opportunities.

Participatory Irrigation Management in Indonesia: Lessons from Experience and Issues for the Future

by Bryan Bruns and Helmi.  Background paper presented at the National Seminar on Participatory Irrigation Management in Indonesia. November 4-8, 1996. Jakarta, Indonesia.

Beginning in the 1980s there was an increased emphasis on improving participation and irrigation operation and maintenance in Indonesia. This paper looks at what has been learned about participatory irrigation management, focusing particularly on lessons from: 1) turnover of irrigation systems smaller than 500 hectares to water user associations, 2) establishment of irrigation service fees with WUA participation in fee collection and identification of operation and maintenance needs and 3) development of irrigated agriculture by farmers in the On-Farm Water Management Development Project.


Village Telephones: Socioeconomic Impacts and Implications for Rural Futures

Bryan Bruns, G. Lamar Robert and Chongchit Sripun Tiam-Tong. Presented at the 1996 Conference of the Association for Thai Studies. October 14-17, 1996. Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Telephones are a tool rural people can use in coping with the forces transforming their lives. This paper draws on a recent study to look at the socioeconomic impact of rural telecommunications in Thailand. Realizing the potentials created by telecommunications to enable people to cope with changes in better informed ways depends crucially on the availability of services to provide equitable, affordable access.


Promoting Participation in Irrigation: Reflections on Experience in Southeast Asia

Comparative analysis of efforts to improve local participation in irrigation in Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines offers a basis for examining achievements, problems and opportunities for the future. While many alternatives seem to exist for who can carry out the role of organizer more attention should be directed to the problems of training and supervising organizers. Farmers demonstrably can improve the siting of structures but design innovation is still scarce. Requirements for local contributions are more feasible if built into projects from the beginning. Government assistance for maintenance and repair faces problems of moral hazard. Linking research and action is a fragile process. Further progress in participation requires going beyond reforming centralized agencies to create additional means for enabling greater democracy, diversity and self-reliance.
                      measures available

Just Enough Organization: Water Users Associations and Episodic Mobilization

Visi: Irigasi Indonesia  6 (February 1992): 33-41

Much effort has been invested in forming water users associations (WUA), unfortunately often with little result. On their own farmers tend to take a minimalist approach to irrigation organization, relying where possible on informal, episodic mobilization to accomplish specific tasks. WUA development will be more successful if it is focused in the same way. Flexible, responsive intervention and an enabling institutional framework can provide resources - legal, technical and financial - to assist WUA in developing just enough organization to manage irrigation systems well.


... An
                      active, successful WUA is one which efficiently
                      and fairly distributes water and maintains and
                      improves the physical structures of the irrigation
                      system. ...

Distributed Information Systems for Farmer-Managed Irrigation

in Information Support Systems for Farmer Managed Irrigation, edited by Fay Lauraya, C.M. Wijayaratna and Douglas Vermillion. Colombo, Sri Lanka: IIMI: 1994.

Management information systems should enable managers to make better decisions. If farmers operate and maintain irrigation systems, then inventories and other information systems should serve them, as well as irrigation agency staff and others who provide services for farmer managed irrigation. This paper explores some conceptual principles for developing efficient information systems to support farmer management of irrigation.

                      information system

Design for Participation: Elephant Ears, Crocodile Teeth and Variable Crest Weirs in Northeast Thailand

In Design Issues in Farmer-Managed Irrigation Systems, edited by R. Yoder and J. Thurston. 1990. Colombo, Sri Lanka, IIMI.

How can design facilitate local participation? This paper examines an innovative weir design developed by a project based at Khonkaen University in northeast Thailand. The design includes a variable weir crest and other features which help to enhance existing people's irrigation systems with a high level of local participation in planning, construction and operation.
KKU-NZ weir

Invisible Irrigation: Water Management in Northeast Thailand

Farmer Managed Irrigation Systems Newsletter, International Irrigation Management Institute, Sri Lanka 1987 (2): 13-15.

Irrigation systems developed by farmers are far less conspicuous than the dams and concrete canals of large government constructed projects. Indigenous irrigation systems are extensions of existing systems of water management, rather than being constructed according to an outside blueprint. The resulting system of of pipes, field to field flows and roadside ditches may be almost invisible to anyone who is not specifically looking for it. In this essay I would like to point out some of the physical elements of indigenous water management technology in northeast Thailand, in order to help make it more visible, and raise some questions about its implications for irrigation development.

invisible irrigation