Diagnosing multiple disturbances to irrigation systems in Nepal

Jagadish Parajuli, Netra Chhetri

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Farmer-managed irrigation systems (FMIS) are community managed and operated irrigation systems. They have successfully governed the use of water resources for irrigation in several parts of the world. In the past, agriculture was the primary means of livelihood for over 90% of Nepal’s population, which generated a strong need for collective action to ensure stable water supplies. Today, migration, urbanization, and opening up of new markets have moved the population’s focus away from farming to nonfarm activities, resulting in a decline of collective action in the FMIS. Based on the data collected through field observations, key informant interviews, and focus group discussions from 15 FMIS representing 3 ecological regions of Nepal, this article identifies emerging disturbances to irrigation systems and discusses how they differ by geographical regions. Using the socioecological system framework, this article further assesses robustness of Nepal’s FMIS. The article reveals uncertainty in water supply due to variable and changing climate, degradation of collective action due to the erosion of social capital, and scarcity of on-farm labor as major disturbances. Addressing these disturbances will foster resiliency of the FMIS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNatural Resource Governance in Asia
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Collective Action to Resilience Thinking
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780323857291
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • Collective action
  • Common-pool resources
  • Farmer-managed irrigation systems
  • Multiple disturbances
  • Socioecological system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science


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