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WOMEN-LED WATER GOVERNANCE FORSUSTAINABLE IRRIGATION IN WEST BENGAL, INDIAPresented bySubrata HalderExecutive Engineer (Agri-Irrigation)Department of Water Resources Investigation & DevelopmentGovernment of West Bengal
Water Resources-Irrigation- Women’s Role… Water- a finite and vulnerable resource…essential to sustain life, development and environment. 10% Irrigation Others 90% Rural women all over the world- playing an active role in irrigation…thus contributing to food security. Key Concerns: to establish women’s productive roles in managing irrigation water resources vis-à-vis a women-led water governance planning for sustainable irrigation in West Bengal. to empower of women through participatory process of irrigation water management. 211:46 AM
Design & Operation of Irrigation Infrastructures and Management of Water Resources- Women Leadership & Empowerment Design & operations: System engineering and design: design process should incorporate consultations with male and female users, so as to include both of their wishes, needs and requirements. Legal, administrative and organizational arrangements: Explicit consultations should be held with women users…women’s ideas and concerns should be included in WUA. Operation: water delivery schedules should be devised in such a way as to accommodate both male & female needs with respect to quantity, timeliness, timing, equity and quality of water. Empowerment with the following major social process of irrigation: water acquisition- women take part in this process with men actively. water allocation- If there are a good numbers of women in WUA then they can play substantial role in deciding how much irrigation water to allocate and to whom. water distribution- women are more active in distributing water at field channel. system maintenance- both men and women involve in repairing and cleaning of irrigation water conveyances. resource mobilization- sometimes women provide labour for more days than men in irrigation works and cash acts as an incentive for their participation. conflict management- women in WUA can play an important role as they have comparatively more ability to convince the disputants among water users and11:46 AM distributors. 3
Women-led Water Governance in Minor Irrigation of West Bengal Women-led water governance i.e. use, development and management of water for minor irrigation is still in preliminary stage in West Bengal. Women-led irrigation in West Bengal is generally limited to indigenous techniques. As these irrigation technologies are simple, easy to maintain, and less labour-oriented, women are increasingly found to take part in it. The traditional human powered irrigation techniques are still predominant in Indian irrigated agricultural practices. Women join hands with men irrigators using these traditional technologies in small fragmented agricultural lands of West Bengal. It has been expanding into other less labour oriented irrigation technologies since few decades. 411:46 AM
Swinging Basket- max. lifting depth- 1.2m; Flow Rate (at depth 0.75m)- 60-80 lt/min Swinging Basket Shadouf- max. lifting depth- 4.0m; Flow Rate (at depth 2-3m)~ 60 lt/min Both the irrigation techniques- popular in central alluvial part of West Bengal Shadouf 511:46 AM
Treadle Pump- treadle suction pump designed to lift water from a depth of ≤7 m. The treadle pump fitted with bamboo shallow tube well- very popular among women irrigator in Terai region of Jalpaiguri & Coochbehar district in W.B. Flow Rate (at depth 4m)~ Treadle Pump 100 lt/min 611:46 AM
Farm Pond- rainwater is harvested in farm ponds during monsoon. Women participate in digging farm ponds…help men irrigators in the supply of irrigation water in the nearby agricultural field…widely Farm Pond practiced in hard-rock, laterite & coastal areas in W.B. Water Harvesting Tank- spring water is filled in WHT for irrigation in hilly terraced agricultural lands. Women in the hilly areas of Darjeeling district Water Harvesting Tank involved themselves in supply of irrigation water. 711:46 AM
Drip Irrigation- ideal with limited irrigation in drought prone and coastal saline areas .…easily managed by Drip Irrigation rural women community. Sprinkler irrigation- effectively managed by rural women community in hilly/bhabar and coastal saline areas. Sprinkler Irrigation 811:46 AM
Major Challenges in Women-led Irrigation and Recommendations… Major Challenges: Few women participate in community meetings and of water user groups. Lack of empirical data on women irrigators’ performance denies them the chance to present arguments in the decision-making processes. Women frequently lack the confidence and the experience to deal with irrigation matter in public. Since women’s specific concerns remain outside formalized decision-making processes…they are not recognised as ‘real’ concerns and remain marginal. The inclusion of women’s perspective, their ideas, opinions, needs and interests will thus require an active and conscious effort. Recommendations: Women’s participation is still limited to Minor Irrigation sector in West Bengal. Strong governance must be imposed so that irrigation WUA get registered and a quota for women is to be established therein. Male irrigators should support women and provide opportunities for woman irrigators to share irrigation management benefits equally. There must be efforts to create, provide, and share empirical data on women’s performance in the irrigation sector to scale up women-involved and women-led 911:46 AM irrigation schemes.