Impact evaluation of community-managed irrigation schemes

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This study was prompted by the observation made on how public infrastructure quickly falls into a state of disrepair in Ghana. The premature deterioration of these capital assets results in further drain on the already scarce resources of the country. This infrastructure, particularly irrigation facilities are left to deteriorate long before their useful life span is completed. To understand the complex issues of water and land resources management, the study sought to focus on socio-economic benefits and problems affecting the sustainability of these schemes. In addition, attempts were made determine how the quality of operation and maintenance services influence the sustainability of these projects and also identify options to improve irrigation performance. For the purpose of the study, two community-managed schemes, Nasia and Dorongo were selected from Northern Ghana based on their accessibility, experience and type of scheme. Both primary and secondary data were gathered for the study. Secondary data such as baseline information was obtained from government and development agencies (for example Irrigation Development Authority and Meteorological Service Agency). Literatures related to the theme of study were also gathered from different sources including the Internet. Primary data was gathered using formal/informal interviews and household interview survey. The household survey was conducted using questionnaires which covered socio-economic factors, management of scheme and maintenance of scheme, external supporting services (Credit accessibility, Extension services and Co-operative market promotion) and technical know-how of users. In addition, physical environmental effects of irrigation like impact of flood, siltation, and erosion were directly observed. Data was analysed using SPSS. Further statistical analysis were conducted to support the analysis on certain identified variables, (average farm input cost per ha, average land preparation/labour cost per ha and field water supply cost per ha), which were considered as principal components of sustainability of the schemes by using Multiple Linear Regression method. From the study of the two irrigation schemes, there are indications that farmers and their communities have benefited a lot from the projects. Such benefits include increase in household incomes, employment creation, food security and performance of some social responsibilities (for example payment of school fees). The major findings associated with the sustainability of the two schemes are related to operation and maintenance, water allocation, water distribution, decision-making and conflict management, land rights, inadequate supporting services, problems in produce market and local institutions. The study indicated that eventhough an irrigation scheme may be well designed, other issues such as operation and maintenance, water allocation, water distribution, decision-making, conflict management, land allocation, access to credit, input supply, high cost of maintenance and repairs, market situation, health situation and the problem of location and accessibility of the scheme to traders can affect the sustainability of such community managed irrigation schemes. Based on the Multiple Linear Regression analyses, it was concluded that the Nasia scheme is sustainable while Dorongo scheme is unsustainable. In conclusion therefore, for farmers to realise the potential socio-economic benefits and enhance the sustainability of these schemes, beneficiaries should not be taken as passive recipients of external intervention, as to simply follow pre-planned and laid-down rules, and that irrigation technologies socially constructed, have social requirements for use and social implications.
A thesis submitted to the Department of agricultural engineering, Kwame Nkrumah university of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science.