Mary E. Gillingham
Indigenous irrigation, Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, access to water, sustainable, flexible, governance
Using the example of indigenous irrigation on Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, this paper illustrates that operating beneath the formal rules of irrigation organization is a series of “working rules” that people use to actually obtain access to water. It is argued that one of the reasons that indigenous irrigation systems are sustainable and flexible is because the working rules allow water users to adjust their formal water right to an amount and timing of water that matches their needs more closely. If interventions into indigenous irrigation systems are to be effective and sustainable, and not undermine the institutions which govern water use within the irrigation system concerned, then development agencies need to understand, work with, and work through the working rules. This paper considers ways in which this may be achieved.
(1999) 39 Natural Resource Journal 419