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Wageningen Universiteit (2000)

Farmers’ laws and irrigation : water rights and dispute management in the hills of Nepal

Poudel, R.

Titre : Farmers’ laws and irrigation : water rights and dispute management in the hills of Nepal

Auteur : Poudel, R.

Université de soutenance : Wageningen Universiteit

Grade : Doctor Thesis 2000

Résumé partiel
The title of my Thesis is "Farmers’ Laws and Irrigation : Water Rights and Dispute Management in the Hills of Nepal". This is based on a research I conducted in the Thulotar Kulo irrigation system in Nepal, during 1997 and 1998. Thulotar Kulo is a farmer-managed irrigation system.

Although this is a case study of a small system, attention has also been given to the wider context of Nepal in terms of the conflicts and the relationships between customary laws, state laws, and local laws that pertain to water management. The types of water rights granted to the users of an irrigation system determine user rights and obligations in water distribution, resource mobilization and participation in decision-making activities.

Water rights, however, are the products of customary laws as well as the state laws which simultaneously exist. These different normative frameworks co-exist and are alternately consulted when people defend their claim to the use of a water resources. Such complex and plural forms of laws affect the property rights regimes of natural resources including water.

Among the various options, negotiation and mediation are the common tools of dispute settlement in the villages. The success of these practices mainly depends on the characteristics of the negotiating and mediating parties, the types of disputes, and other social context of the existing society where the disputes have been originated and managed. These processes can be very risky for the weaker sectors of society, however. If the disputants have a simplex relationship, or the dispute is over scarce resources and negotiation or mediation is unsuccessful, disputants will usually rely on adjudication that leads to win-or-lose situation. However, not necessarily all disputes settled by whatever means are resolved for ever in practice.

The current complexity of property rights definitions have been affected by various historical and contemporary governing institutions. Nepal is a small Himalayan Hindu Kingdom which has historically been ruled by many small Principalities, Shah Kings, Rana Prime Ministers, and constitutional monarchy. The first Nepalese national legal code was promulgated in 1853. This recognized a few customary practices relating to land and water management, but it was only in the 1980s that the government of Nepal adopted the policy of having people participate in all types of irrigation system development and management. Other water resource acts and regulations were promulgated in the 1990s.


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Page publiée le 17 mars 2006, mise à jour le 3 juin 2022