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Water 2017, 9(5), 319; doi:10.3390/w9050319

The Relationship between Effective and Equitable Water Allocation, Local Rice Farmer Participation and Economic Well-Being: Insights from Thailand’s Chiang Mai Province

Agribusiness Management, Agricultural Systems and Engineering, School of Environment, Resources and Development Asian Institute of Technology, Klong Luang, Pathumthani 12120, Thailand
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Academic Editor: Davide Viaggi
Received: 25 January 2017 / Revised: 24 April 2017 / Accepted: 25 April 2017 / Published: 2 May 2017
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Abstract

This research investigates the relationship between equitable water allocation, participation in the local irrigation operation, and improved economic well-being. The study area consisted of the rice-growing districts of Doi Saket and Mae On in Thailand’s northern province Chiang Mai, where locals have adopted a participatory farmer-managed irrigation system. The samples were 150 small-scale rice farmers who were divided into four groups by their membership: community irrigation (CI); community irrigation and enterprise (CIE); and farmland location (head-end or tail-end of the irrigation canal). The findings revealed a strong relationship between the three variables. Specifically, despite less advantageous farmland locations, the tail-end CI farmers outperformed in the dry-season and annual paddy yields per household. The higher paddy yields translated into higher household earnings. The improved economic well-being of the tail-end CI farmers could be attributed to their active participation in the local irrigation operation. Another contributing factor was equitable water allocation, which is the product of the farmers’ active participation as their irrigation demands and concerns are constantly acknowledged and addressed. Importantly, the findings verified the effectiveness and usability of the participatory irrigation system in tackling the problem of inequitable water allocation between the head-end and tail-end farmers. Moreover, the participatory irrigation scheme was readily implementable since it required no additional investment, only active local participation. View Full-Text
Keywords: community irrigation; community enterprise; equity; paddy; Thailand community irrigation; community enterprise; equity; paddy; Thailand
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Kosanlawit, S.; Soni, P.; Shivakoti, G.P. The Relationship between Effective and Equitable Water Allocation, Local Rice Farmer Participation and Economic Well-Being: Insights from Thailand’s Chiang Mai Province. Water 2017, 9, 319.

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