Migration and gender dynamics in irrigation governance in Nepal

FMIST Sixth International Seminar_2015

Irrigation and Rural Development

Natural Resources Management in Sri Lanka

FMIS of Nepal: Elements Contributing to Their Sustainability

Community Based Natural Resources Management for Sustainable Development


Ninth FMIST International Seminar

Opportunities and Challenges in Irrigation System Management: Context of Governance Restructuring, Climate change and Migration

Farmer Managed Irrigation Systems Promotion Trust, Kathmandu, Nepal

May 15, 2023 Kathmandu, Nepal

Irrigation systems, which are multi-faced with governance, institutional, socio-economic as well as technical dimensions, do not operate in isolation. The systems are influenced by many internal and external factor including policy of the government, governance structure, socio-economic development dynamism, variable ecological and technological adaptability and the cost of irrigation and agri-products in the domestic and international markets. Specifically, support from the developing national, domestic as well as international partners would help promote interdisciplinary strategic values towards improving institutional frameworks for irrigation management in the changing context of governance restructuring, climate and migration as the irrigation systems are impacted by them.

Objective of the Seminar:

The objectives of the seminar are to

  • provide researchers and practitioners platform to learn, share and disseminate experience and information on the sustainable irrigation systems and their management in the opportunities and challenging conditions brought by the context of Governance Restructuring, Climate Change and Migration;
  • share understanding on the governance, social, institutional, economic, financial and technical dynamism on innovation processes with the participation of the actors formally and informally engaged in the irrigation system management;
  • deliberate on the framework to assess the requirements for enabling policy support and capacity building for right innovative irrigation institution with a dynamic mix of appropriate governance set up for a better performing irrigation system management, and
  • make the multiple participants (policy makers, practitioners, researchers and observers) of irrigation systems to be informed about the opportunities and challenges with alternatives and help orient the irrigation community in order to push forward for increased commercial viability of the irrigated agricultural enterprises with environmental sustainability, dignity of agricultural labor and food security.

Issues relevant to the Seminar, among other, would include:

Both public irrigation bureaucracy and farmers’ irrigation organizations have been making efforts for improvements in agriculture production. Nepal has a long tradition of indigenous farmer managed irrigation systems (FMIS) based on collective self-management of the common natural resources. They believe in the principles that the development and operation of the FMIS depend on devising the mechanism and modalities of inclusiveness and involvement of the stakeholders concerned in the respective fields. FMISs in Nepal, as a form of national cultural heritage, have been providing irrigation services to 70% of total irrigated area contributing significantly to the national food security.

The socio-economic development and changes in the communication infrastructure and technology have influenced on the development and management of both farmer managed and agency managed irrigation systems over the period of time. These processes of changes have contributed in urbanization, commercialization of agriculture products, and in rethinking on labor values and values of education. With the constraints and limitations in advanced agricultural entrepreneurial ship, both the low-educated labor and the university-educated youth prefer to more urbanized income generation opportunities accelerating migration from the rural to the urban area for the domestic and foreign employment. Such changes have created multiple social, , institutional and economic impacts such as competition among the farmer’s products in the open economy has become severe.

Though FMIS have developed mechanisms to cope with the diversification of their activities from general irrigation management to economic and social entrepreneurial type, it is fundamental to correctly understand, appreciate and strengthen their overall self-governance and institutional adaptive capacity and associated resilience. The identified four key components of adaptive capacity for farmer-managed irrigation systems have been identified as social capital, learning on the society-environmental relationship, native governance, and common asset base. Given the multiple drivers of change – especially climate variability, labor migration, and market penetration through transport network in rural areas – it is important to move beyond measurement of individual components of adaptive capacity. By measuring and addressing the inter-relations among multiple capacity dimensions and inherent opportunities offered by indigenous multiple water use system, refined understanding of adaptation and associated resilience permit the strengthening of farmer-managed irrigation systems in the context of governance restructuring, climate change and migration, the major theme of this seminar.

Department of Irrigation in Nepal with the mandate to develop and manage irrigation system in the country has been trying to develop better managed irrigation system since its establishment in 1952. After an objective assessment of the value of FMISs for food and social security in the country, the Department started the upgrading the existing FMISs after 1980s. Donors including the domestic and international development partners, and civil society group like the self-managed FMIS Trust have been collaborating with the Department of Water Resources and Irrigation of Government of Nepal for the reform and improvement of FMIS through projects like irrigation sector program since late 1980s and informed exchanges on sustainable irrigated agricultural development. Continued up-scaled initiative towards self-governing institutional development and management in operation is required for gaining the optimum social, economic, environmental and labor capital irrigated agricultural development.

The sub-themes of the seminar, among others, would include:

  1. National policy, institutions and intervention strategy and pattern of governance;
  2. Design issues, technologies and quality features of irrigation infrastructures in improving local adaptability and resilience of irrigation in the condition of climate variability;
  3. Irrigation governance, community and negotiation on water right and mechanisms of resource management and conflict resolution in competition of water use;
  4. Financing and capability enhancement for local irrigation adaptation activities and associated resilient responses in in the condition of out-migration;
  5. Adaption of multiple services of water for improved livelihood of farmers
  6. Effects of urbanization, labor and social mobility, local gender balance and infrastructure development in communication technology and physical connectivity and local on the irrigations systems;
  7. Information collection methodology and information sharing for improved income from irrigated agriculture; and
  8. Climate change, and innovative irrigated agricultural system management practices

Four types of paper presentation are expected:

  • Keynote speeches
  • Research Papers
  • Invited Papers
  • Individual Papers

Supports to be provided:

FMIS Promotion Trust will not provide any international travel support to the international participants. It will provide food and accommodation of reasonable standard to the international participants and their spouses during the period of the participation in the seminar. In-country participants will pay for their travel and accommodation. The Trust will provide lunch and tea to all participants during the seminar.

Format of the Paper Presentation

Only abstracts will be distributed during deliberations. The paper contributors are requested to submit their papers in the following format (with their name, position, institutional affiliation and address including e-mail):

Top/ Bottom Margin:   2.5 cm

Left/ Right Margin:      2.5 cm

Typing/ Print Area:      15 cm x 22 cm Single Space Column

Font Type: Times Roman Title: 14 Point BOLD CAPITAL

Author’s Name: 12 Point BOLD CAPITAL

Position, Affiliation and Address: 11 Point Upper-Lower

Main Heading (s): 10 Point BOLD CAPITAL

Sub-Heading (s): 10 Point BOLD Upper-Lower

Text: 10 Point

Please type the headings, sub-headings and paragraphs aligned with the left-hand margin. Double space should be left above and below headings/sub-headings. Figures should be placed nearer to the first reference in the text. Photographs may be included, if absolutely necessary.

The papers prepared in conformity with the above format must be sent as an attachment by e-mail to the seminar organizers at the address given below. The attachment should be prepared by using MS WORD (suitable for windows). The total number of pages in A4 or 22 cm x 30 cm size should not exceed 10 pages including charts, figures and analysis.

Full citation for the references should be given at the end of the paper whereas the surname(s) of the author(s) or the name/acronym of the organization and the year of publication should be mentioned in the body of the text as shown in the examples below:

For references in the body of the text (Gill, 1993)

For citation of the books at the end of the text Gill Gerald J., 1993. Indigenous and community forestry management: The policy dimension. Indigenous Management of Natural Resources in Nepal, ed. Devika Tamang and Gerald J. Mill. Ministry of Agriculture/Winrock International, Kathmandu, Nepal.

For citation of the journals at the end of the text Hallowell A. I., 1943. The nature and function of property as a social institution. Journal of Legal and Political Sociology, Vol. 1.

The Trust has set the rule that there should not be more than three contributors of a paper. The editorial board reserves the ultimate right for the acceptance or rejection of a seminar paper. After the seminar, the papers will be selected to include in the seminar proceedings, which will be published in the book form. The paper contributors are urged to comply with the format above as it will greatly help the Trust to publish the seminar proceedings expeditiously.

The paper contributors are requested to send their abstracts on the seminar theme and relevant sub-themes at the address given below. The last date of submission of abstract is March 28, 2023. The authors will be informed about the paper selection by April 15, 2023. The full paper should be sent by April 25, 2023.

For any inquiry about the seminar, and submission of abstract, please contact at the following addresses:

Mr. Chetman Budthapa, Seminar Coordinator/Secretary, Farmer Managed Irrigation Systems Promotion Trust

Mr. Naveen Mangal Joshi, Chairman, Farmer Managed Irrigation Systems Promotion Trust GPO Box: 1207

Tel: +977-1-4434952,

Fax: +977-1-4434431

For further information, request is made to see website: http//

Migration and Gender Dynamics of Irrigation Governance in Nepal

Migration and Gender Dynamics of Irrigation Governance in Nepal

Authors:Ruth Meinzen-Dick , Prachanda Pradhan, Wei Zhang

Nepal has a long history of irrigation, including government and farmer-managed irrigation systems that are labor- and skill-intensive. Widespread male migration has important effects on Nepalese society. How institutions such as Water Users’ Associations (WUAs) respond and adapt, is therefore critical to the understanding of rural transformation and the likely impact on gender equality, food production, and rural livelihoods. This paper examines the effects of male migration on institutional change in WUAs, women’s roles, technological change, and outcomes affecting effectiveness of irrigation systems based on a mixed methods study, combining a phone survey of 336 WUA leaders from all provinces in Nepal with qualitative data from case studies in 10 irrigation systems. Results indicate WUAs have adapted rules to increase women’s participation, and to monetize the contributions for maintenance. Women exercise agency in whether and how to interact with WUAs. Mechanization has reduced the need for some male labor, though the ability to mechanize is limited by hilly terrain and small plot sizes. Overall, systems are adapting to male migration, with relatively low idling of land or labor shortages causing deterioration of the systems, though there are concerns with the high levels of women’s labor burdens.

Keywords: Irrigation, Migration, Feminization of agriculture, Water Users’ Associations, Nepal

NENCID Talk Program Irrigation & Drainage Talk Series (Episode#07)_Edited 

NENCID Friday Talk Program Irrigation & Drainage Talk Series (Episode#07)_Edited 

MUS in decentralized water development — March 22, 2021

In this seminar for World Water Day 2021, Nepal MUS Network members presented their recent work virtually to an international audience. This webinar shares and consolidates national and international lessons learned from implementing MUS at decentralized levels. The advantages of bridging the sectoral divides at the higher levels will guide further action of policy makers, senior program managers, and implementers, researchers, and educators.

In rural communities, both women and men value water for resilience, health, nutrition, food security, and income. Accordingly, they use water infrastructure to meet these multiple needs. Since the early 2000s, government, NGOs and researchers in Nepal have been global forerunners in mobilizing communities’ holistic water management by supporting MUS and developing capacities to derive more benefits from water use, for example from high-value homestead (bari) irrigation. Decentralization in Nepal and elsewhere has opened up new opportunities for holistic community-led water development. Climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic further underscore the urgent need for reliable access to sufficient water.


Addressing the nexus of women, work and water – Mansi Shah (SEWA)

What factors determine the productive use of rural water systems in the middle hills of Nepal? – Raj Kumar GC (Virginia Tech)

Multiple use of water services in far western Nepal – RVWRMP experience working with local governments – Sanna-Leena Rautanen & Pallab Nepal (RVWRMP/FCG Finnish Consulting Group)

Institutionalization process of MUS: Results of recent review of its implementation – Prachanda Pradhan (FMIST), Alok Rajauria (IWMI) and Vishnu Pandey (TU)

Rural water supply systems in Nepal: Factors affecting equitable water access – Manita Raut (IWMI)

Piloting revolving finance for MUS development – Corey O’Hara (iDE Nepal)

Scaling groundwater MUS – Luke Colavito (iDE Global)

Closing Remarks – Barbara van Koppen (IWMI)

WEBINAR: MIGRATION AND GENDER DYNAMICS IN IRRIGATION GOVERNANCE IN NEPAL, November 25, 2020, 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm Nepal time / 9:15 am US EST / 15:15 CET

Nepali Farmers and FMIST Officials Visit to Thailand to Learn Improved Agriculture Practices


Nepali Farmers and Officials at PSDS

During 20-30 August 2018, the ten member farmers and officials from FMIST, Nepal visited Thailand to learn improved agriculture practices and to exchange experiences and ideas towards rural development. The objectives were:

  1. Exchange experiences between two countries in the field of rural development and social activities.
  2. Expose Nepal participants to socio cultural activities and rural development in Thailand
  3. Expose future possibilities for establishing joint programs between two countries

Day-1 (August 21, 2018)
Meeting with staff members and dean of PSDS, Rangsit Campus, Thammasat University. The program started with self introduction and orientation about study exchange program in Thailand for Nepal participants.

PSDS Dean Dr. Jitti Mongkolnachaiarunya presented in detail on “Socio, Economic, and Political situations in Thailand”. He also explained about Dr. Puey Ungphakorn and his contribution to Rural Development. The Puey Ungphakorn School of Development Studies (PSDS) was named in memory of Dr. Puey.

Senior Advisor of NGO and CSO movement of Thailand and board of trustee PSDS, Mr. Dej Poomkacha explained about the Rural Reconstruction in Thailand. The role of NGOs (Non Government Organization) for rural development in Thailand.

Nepal Delegate Team Leader, Mr. Rajendra Bir Joshi presented about FMIST, team members and objective of visit in Thailand. He handed over 7 set of books published by FMIST/Nepal to Dean Dr. Jitti for Thammasat University Library.

Nepal participants and staff members of PSDS visited “The Golden Jubilee Museum of Agriculture Office”. This is a Public Organization. The Museum has demonstration of life and livelihood of rural people in Thailand. The highlights of Museum are organic vegetable farming, livestock keeping and rice seedlings transplanting by throwing to field.

Day-2 (August 22, 2018)
We started from hotel early in the morning and visited “Learning Center for Farmers” at Baan Phan Klong, Dontoom District, Nakhon Pathom Province. The community leader Ms. Champee explained about organic farming system. She took us around the agriculture field and collection center. Before cultivation, the farmers and entrepreneurs (e.g. department store) fix the price of agriculture product. The products from farm are processed and classified in three different grades. The Grade-A farm product sell it to Departmental Store for high price, Grade-B to Local Restaurant and Grade-C for local consumption for least price. We stayed overnight in Bang Maemay Homestay, Bang Plama District.


Processing and Packaging of Vegetables in Collection Center

Day-3 (August 23, 2018)
In the morning we travelled to Haad Tanong Municipality, Utai Thani Province. The total agriculture land of 6200 Acre is located in between two rivers Sekaikraun and Javai. They have two crops 1st Paddy (May to Aug.) and 2nd Paddy (4th week of Sept. to Nov.) in flooding area of 2000 Acre. The farmers make decision of 1st Paddy plantation before flooding in September. The paddy variety is gorkor-41 and selling seeds for Bhat 12000 per ton. Mr. Muan Kiewubon is the community leader of 60 farmers in group. The government of Thailand provides agriculture Machineries for the group and agriculture service center provides technical supports.

In the afternoon we visited Agriculture College, Integrated Farm Thai Knowledge of Animal Science Department. The highlights of the college farm were Buffalo Farm, Cow Farm and Goat Farm. We stayed overnight in Topland Hotel, Pitsanuloke Province.

Day-4 (August 24, 2018)
In the morning we had a city tour including Budha temple and Thawee Museum. We visited Banana Cultivation Farm and Dried Banana Selling Group, Jirapor Food Corporation. Maliont variety Banana of 110days was popular. The Jirapor food Company is producing organic banana and dry banana in packets. The drying of green banana in Solar Green House was a success story in Thailand. Overnight in Seeharaj Hotel, Uttaradit Province.

Day-5 (August 25, 2018)
In the morning we travelled to Baan Sapae, JaeHom District, Lampane Province. In this area, we visited hill irrigation system. We had interaction with local farmers about water management. Mr. Kong Bun Chote is the community leader who explained more about the system. The Monks and Community leader were the key persons helping farmers for agriculture development. The farmers have built series of Dams across the river to store water for agriculture. The area is now famous for Bitter Guard Seed. They are selling it for $50.0 per kg to India. The collect Bhat 100 per Acre as a Irrigation Service Fee for maintaining their system. They have supports from non government agency like SVG (Cement Manufacturing Company) business enterprise helping local farmers in technology and development works.


Discussing about the CSR and Bitter Guard Seed Production

The CSR (Community Social Responsibility) has great role in Thailand for Rural Development. Overnight in Huandalha Resort in Lampoon Province.

Day-6 (August 26, 2018)
We travelled to Chian Mai Province. In the afternoon, we visited Nong Tao Village, Mae Win sub-district, MaeWang District. The traditional hill irrigation system in Thailand. Maetian Irrigation system was initiated 400 years ago by local farmers. There are 4 check Dams across the river for 1000 Acre land for Rice cultivation. The system covers 3000 Acre land. The main crops are Rice, Vegetables, Flower and maize.


Interview with Local Farmer

Day-7 (August 27, 2018)
A whole day city tour in Chiang Mai. We stayed overnight in B2 Airport Hotel in Chiang Mai.

Day-8 (August 28, 2018)
Morning we travelled back to Bangkok by flight. In the afternoon we visited different places in Bangkok including Beach walk in Pataya.

Day-9 (August 29, 2018)
Program at Thammasat University, Ta Prachan Campus

Morning Session – Sharing information on Nepali Farming System


Participants in Sharing Information

The program started with self introduction of Nepal participants, Students and Faculty Members of Thammasat University, Ta Prachan Campus. There were about 50 participants. The highlights of program are:

  1. Introduction to Nepal and FMIST By Rajendra Bir Joshi
  2. Bagkhor I.S., surkhet, Video clip about Hill Irrigation in Nepal
  3. Dan B Rayamajhi & Bhola Acharya about their Irrigation System and Agriculture
  4. Damaodar Khadka – present and past about RJK I. S.
  5. Shambu Dulal – about NFWUAN and its role for WUAs in Nepal
  6. Video Clip, Raju Maharjan – sprouted fodder for cattle
  7. T P Devkota & Ms R Pariyar – Ag. Cooperative and MUS for smallholder farmers
  8. Mr. R B Karki – about Kalleritar I.S. and agriculture

Question and Answer: followed by students and answered by R.B.Joshi
Afternoon Session – Wrap-up


Dr. Jitti, Faculty Members and Nepal Participants in Wrap-up and closing

Dr. Jitti Mongkolnchaiarunyu, Dean PSDS had discussion as to how further collaborative programs can be organized in future. It is agreed that in the early part of 2019, faculty members and farmers from Thailand will visit to Nepal.

List of Participants from Nepal

  1. Mr. Rajendra Bir Joshi, Senior Divisional Engineer in Department of Irrigation. He is member of FMIST. He is team leader
  2. Mr. Samundra Sigdel, Field Research Support and Treasurer of FMIST.
  3. Mr. Ram Bahadur Karki, Chairman of Water Users Association of Kalleritar Irrigation Systems, they grow paddy and vegetables. Hill irrigation system. He is also teacher in local school. Worked hard to rehabilitate canal after2015 Nepal Earthquake. They grow hybrid paddy in the command area of the irrigation system.
  4. Mrs. Raj Kumari Pariyar, Multiple Water Use System (MUS). Drinking water system is also used for vegetable cultivation. She is social mobilizer in the village.
  5. Mr. Sambhu Dulal, farmer. Member Secretary of Nepal Federation of Irrigation Water Users Association having membership of over 3000WUAs, Semi-politician
  6. Mr. Damodar Khadka, Farmer and member of WUA from one of the largest farmer Managed irrigation systems commanding 15000 ha. Speak English, vegetarian,
  7. Mr. Bhola Acharya, member of WUA of one of the large FMIS in Kapilbastu district, Vegetarian(diabetics patience)
  8. Mr.Dan Bahadur Rayamajhi, Chairman of Julfetar Irrigation System, Nawalparasi. Active and very reasonable person. Villagers listen to him.
  9. Mr. Devkota, from Lumle Vegetable marketing cooperatives. They have cooperative Bank as well. He belongs to a village where they have vegetable cultivation from MUS (multiple water use system,)
  10. Mr. Maharjan, he is engaged in Cow Farming in Kathmandu valley.

Asia Region Biennial IASC Meeting on “Redefining Diversity and Dynamics of Natural Resource Management in Asia”


Asian Regional Biennial IASC meeting at Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), was inaugurated by President of AIT at AIT Conference Center, Bangkok, Thailand. There were over 50 participants from Asian Region having experiences of research and practical implementation of the common resources management. The participant countries include Indonesia, Nepal, India, Thailand, The Philippines, China, Singapore, Pakistan, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Netherland, and USA.

Prof. Ganesh Shivakoti, Director of Ocean, introduced the themes of the conference that have focus on the natural resources management for resources conservation as well as equitable distribution among the people of all levels. The Conference Themes include;

  1. Understanding diversity in Governing the natural resources
  2. Community forestry and social ecological system
  3. Community irrigation and robustness challenges
  4. Climate Change, Natural Resources Dynamics and Land use challenges

Among these sessions of themes, several speakers and panel discussions were integrated to reinforce the themes on dynamics of natural resources management. The themes discussed in the conference were quite relevant in the context of growing population and depleting natural resources in Asian Region.

The inaugural speech of President of AIT, Prof. Worsak Kanok-Nukulchai is included herewith along with the agenda of the Conference. Those interested for further information on the conference, please contact to:

Ostrom Center for Advanced Natural Resources Management, AIT

Prachanda’s Knowledge Share

The website link contains at present 160 publication items on irrigation, community development and public administration.

8th Asian Regional Conference: Irrigation in Support of Evergreen Revolution

Symposium on Nexus Challenges

The 8th Asian Regional Conference of International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID) selected 6 Sub-themes. One of them is on Enabling Water Users Institutions (WUIs) for sustainability of irrigation Systems.

The thrust of the sub-theme is to enable Water Users Institutions (WUIs) for sustainability of irrigation systems which includes performance assessment, enterprising, and sustainability of WUIs; institutional and policy landscape of irrigation / drainage sectors; process and procedure of participatory irrigation development / operation / maintenance in various countries; role of irrigation/ farmers / water users’ organization in improved irrigation system performance; etc. In this sub-theme, many papers were received and presented in the conference. Along with paper presentation, a symposium of eminent luminaries of irrigation development and management was organized focusing on “Nexuses Challenges in Irrigation Institutions”. There were two parts of symposium; one started with key note speeches by Dr. Asit Biswas (video presentation) followed by Dr. Doug Merrey and case study presentation by Engineer Devesh Belbase. The second session was the panel discussion by the event personalities from Nepal, India, China, Japan and Indonesia.

The responsibility of the organization of this symposium was assigned to Farmer Managed Irrigation Systems Promotion Trust (FMIST) and Dr. Prachanda Pradhan, Patron of FMIST took the responsibility of organizing and conducting the symposium in this theme.

Seventh International Seminar’s Proceedings