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Keywords: Social sciences
Sociology & anthropology
Rural sociology
Issue Date: 2014
Abstract: The development of agricultural sector in Pakistan largely depends on efficient irrigation system because irrigated lands supply major portion of the agricultural produce. A massive amount of canal water is wasted during the irrigation process from main canals to the actual fields. Inadequate management combined with an increasing demand of irrigation water has resulted in low, inequitable, and unreliable water supplies. This water-scarcity situation has given birth to a hidden economy, where water users illegally tap irrigation system to generate a black market in water. The small farmers especially the farmers at tail are disadvantaged in terms of inequitable distribution of irrigation water in this situation. To overcome the problem of inequitable water distribution, Government of the Punjab introduced Participatory Irrigation Management (PIM) through Punjab Irrigation & Drainage Authority (PIDA). The Farmers’ Organizations (FOs) are the central to the PIM system. The success of any project/plan depends on what a person knows and the network of relationships (social capital) developed by the members of community. Social capital is the trust, reciprocity and mutuality that inhere to social relationships. It generates when members of different social groups meet each others for attaining common goals keeping aside family, caste and political affiliation. The worldwide success of different programmes/projects for welfare of farming and other communities is linked with the social capital. The present study was, therefore, designed to see the role of social capital in facilitating improvement in equitable water distribution under PIM in the central Punjab. The study was carried out at Lower Chenab Canal (East) Circle, Faisalabad command area where PIM was started in 2000 as a pilot project. Overall, 480 respondents were selected through multistage sampling technique for data collection. Results of the study show that due to PIM activities cropped area has increased 5 and 5.4% in Rabi and Kharif seasons, respectively. The satisfaction level of farmers about recalibration of outlets, water turn and repair of “nakkas” (water diversion) was very good. However in case of water theft control, the satisfaction level was not up to the mark. The functioning of Khal Panchayat (KP) and FOs was generally satisfactory and needed more efforts for improvement in the system. The bi-variate and multivariate analysis demonstrated that among socioeconomic factors education, farm size, social status, farm location at watercourse and location of watercourse at distributary were significantly associated with the improvement in equitable water distribution. The different dimensions/aspects of cognitive social capital such as reciprocity, solidarity, conflict and mutual trust and structural social capital (trust on KP, FOs and PIDA officials and participation in PIM activities) emerged as important predicting variables of response variable, the improvement in equitable water distribution in the multivariate analysis. The substantial value of R2 0.643 reflecting that 64% variation in equitable water distribution was due to the social capital variables (cognitive and structural) and only the background variable i.e watercourse location at distributary. It established the suitability of these variables in predicting the improvement in equitable water distribution. Strict enforcement of PIDA laws and inclusion of more strict clauses in PIDA ordinance were suggested for controlling water theft offense. Farmers’ participation in watercourse and distributary maintenance may be enhanced with motivation through KP, FOs and PIDA officials and also through imposing strict fines on those who did not participate in these activities by amending the PIDA ordinance. On the basis of the results of the study, investment in social capital building was recommended for further improvement in the equitable water distribution.
Appears in Collections:PhD Thesis of All Public / Private Sector Universities / DAIs.

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