This paper is based on the findings of an action research project into irrigation on 3 schemes in Nepal: one modern jointly managed scheme (Sunsari Morang - SMIP), one older but smaller agency-managed scheme
(Bijaypur Irrigation Project - BIP) and one traditional farmer managed scheme (Kamala Uttarbahini - KUIS). In accordance with the irrigation policy, water users' associations (WUAs) have been set up on these projects, but these new institutions have not yet performed as well as had been hoped. There are a number of reasons for this, which were analysed in an earlier phase of this project (Mott MacDonald 2002).
In this phase of our study we have worked in a participatory way in each project to develop a plan for improvement (\"diagnostic learning and action planning\") and then implemented this action plan through the medium of \"water users' schools\". These proved to be very popular and successful in developing awareness amongst the farmers and in making the WUAs more active and responsive to the needs of the users. These were effective in building a commitment to participation in irrigation management, an understanding of the issues and ways to solve problems, and ensured that the process of institutional development is embedded in the community rather than being externally driven.
Through this process we are developing a framework, comprising 6 fundamental elements, for promoting WUAs.
In this paper we present our overall findings regarding promotion of sustainable, well-governed WUA's.
Howarth, S.E.; Parajuli, U.N.; Baral, J.R.; Nott, G.A.; Adhikari, B.R.; Gautam, D.R.; Menuka, K.C. Promoting Good Governance of Water Users’ Associations in Nepal. (2004)