This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Damaan Development organization (DDO) September 2012 (Islamabad)
Executive Summary…………………………………………………………………………….………3 I - Introduction and objectives of the research…………………………………………………….8 Rationale for the baseline study………………………………………………………………....8 The Methodology……………………………………………………………………………………...9 Scope of the study and sampling……………………………………………………………….....9 Indicators to assess the situation……………………………………………………….……….10 Theoretical framework…………………………………………………………………..…………..11 II – Historical context………………………………………………………………………………….13 III - The present state of irrigation and agriculture in Pakistan……………...………………..18 IV – Unpacking the Problems on ground….………….…………………………………………...21 Bureaucratic Lanes and Alleys……………………………………………………….………….21 Distribution, Warabandi and Insufficiency……………………………………………….…….28 Waste and waterlogging…………………………………………………………………………..35 Water theft……………………………………………………………………………………………36 Vows of tenants and tailenders…………………………………………………………………..42 Conflicts around distribution and access……………………………………………...………44 Water Charges, Abyana or Moamla…………………………………………………..…………46 Using the used water……………………………………………………………………..………..48 National Water Policy and irrigation water…………………………………………………….48 Women farmers and entitlement to water…………………………………………….………..50 Water users associations…………………………………………………………….……...……51 V – Much needed reforms in policy and practices…………………………………………..…..53 Bibliography…………………………………………………………………………………………….58 Annexure I………………………………………………………………………………...…………….60 Annexure II………………………………………………………………………………...……………62 Annexure III……………………………………………………………………………………………..64 Annexure IV……………………………………………………………………………………………
Primary research in three districts of South Punjab i.e. Khanewal, Lodhran and Vehari form the basis of water entitlement issues and analysis in this study. Where appropriate, however, secondary literature has also been corroborated to validate data on ground.
By and large, authoritarian state control is evident in the distribution and management of canal water. Like the rest of the province an extensive network of canals, rajbahs and watercourses operates in South Punjab. But irrigation water despite being a vital commodity is transferred as concession or obligation not as users’ or farmers’ right. Availability, access and distribution is highly skewed and inequitable between head-end and tail-end, big and small and rich and poor farmers. Insufficiency and shortfall is compensated by pumping groundwater that is salinizing and water logging huge tracts of land. Pesticides and fertilizers further poison ground water adding to deficit productivity.
Traces of colonial maneuverability and instrumentality still dominate the system and the purpose of food security and poverty reduction is lost somewhere in the mist of bureaucratic oppression and monotony. Any shifts or modifications made through time are also identified and appreciated.
To approach realities on ground, I have employed anthropological approach that ‘water is a total social phenomenon that cuts and connects people’. Its technical handling and engineering 3
solutions fail to promote irrigation and agriculture. Unfortunately, similar attitudes constitute rules of the game the sector. Information, observation, illustrations and my analysis are placed in this framework.
Most conflicts circle around tampering the outlets. Department claims of having standard outlets whit fact flies back straight to its’ face. Tampering, mostly done by powerful landlords, is very common. Farmers situated at the head reaches usually consume three fourth of available water. Add tempering and outright theft, some of the tail-enders simply do not receive water or far less than their allocation. Department officials are usually part to it or at least know. Although the scarcity of the resource cannot be challenged but many a conflicts emerge from official mismanagement.
The very mechanism of time, rotation and who will get what amount of water and when that appears so perfect on paper causes conflicts amongst individual farmers and communities across the region. Legal and bureaucratic measures fail to arbitrate or do justice. Farmers and communities use conflicts as a mechanism to seize power in their own hands especially the big land lords. A range of conflicts between institutions, individuals, communities, clans and brotheris are seen and heard in the field. Either limited or inadequate system of resolving conflicts exists with the department. Being multidimensional and complicated, conflicts are difficult for official system to resolve or arbitrate as the relevant department work virtually in isolation. While drawing an analysis, I have also underscored the relevant clauses of the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Right (ESCR), indicated in its General Comment 15 by the Committee on the Economic, Social and Agriculture Rights. It clearly delineates irrigations water as a right of the farmer and stressed the symbiotic relationship of water, ecological balance, food security and future needs of the rapidly growing population and rural poverty. In case of Pakistan it is far more significant as its’ populations is growing phenomenally. So is the pace of poverty and two thirds of its people lives in farmlands.
Water, like any other commodity, is scarce and getting scarcer. Insufficiency, inequity and uncertainty are strategic issues to deal with. Quantity and quality both are a matter of concern. Productivity is rapidly falling. Environmental and ecological balance is fatally affected. Using less to produce more asks for elaborate planning. Effective management and provision is not 4
possible unless concerned departments work together. Users and rural communities, their attitudes and priorities need to be taken into account while planning and policy formulation.
Meant to introduce sustainable use of all sources, National Water Policy 2002 realizes the problems and challenges of water sector. Under increasing economic and food needs it acknowledges the problems of shortage, depletion, misuse, theft, contamination, salinity and mismanagement. It does realize the changing notions of water, the need for comprehensive planning, institutional framework and the need for strategic action. Despite certain merits, the policy does not cater for the needs of small and the tail-end farmers and has yet not been effectively materialized.
Broad spectrum of water sector needs to be integrated with far reaching institutional reforms. Indigenous varieties of seeds and traditional crops need to be reintroduced that need less water and can survive with a limited amount of water Allocation of water is too technical and straight that needs revision for equitable distribution with socially rationality. Irrigation department needs restructuring – including water cess, rotation, operations and maintenance (O&M) cost and regulatory mechanism to effectively carry out its’ role. To curb down flood irrigation technique, small irrigation schemes like check dams, infiltrations galleries, delay action dams, diversion weirs and others need to be brought into practice.
A cost-effective, people-sensitive, eco-friendly and participatory planning and management are prerequisite for improvement. Part of the O&M and supervisory responsibilities should be transferred to farmers associations. Tying it up with O&M cost and minimizing waste there lie a potential to gradually increase abyana. Entirely a market led solution to reduce waste and enhance efficiency may not work. It may not support the small and medium range farmers. Transforming water into a tradable commodity might under-privilege or sweep-away poor farmers. Unable to bear the taxes, they might sell their lands to big landlords and resort to wage labour. Therefore alternative and multiple way outs are necessary to abstruse.
My immense gratitudes are due to Shoaib Aziz, Programme Manager, Damaan Development Organization for extending every possible support to bring this study to light. Apart from that, I must convey my thanks to Malik Ashtar, Mohammad Tahseen, Sher Khan Khichhi and Farooq Khan (Social Organizers, DDO) to facilitate me in data collection data from select tehsils and villages. All interviews and Focus Group Discussions were conducted with their kind support. Their own knowledge and experience about the subject was also helpful to understand the issue better. Last, but not least I must thank to Wahab Ahmed who drove us through to remote and kachha-pakka areas in the sizzling heat of South Punjab.
Pakistan Irrigation Map
I - Introduction and Objectives of the Research
A limited body of knowledge is readily available on ‘water rights’ and ‘water entitlements’ of the poor and smallholders in South Punjab. Therefore primary and secondary data, including the sketchy and disorganized information available with the irrigation department and respective ministry, has been employed to assess the situation. Information regarding water entitlement, availability, access, provision, monitoring and regulation has been analyzed. The problems of warabandi (fixed rotation and turns for water), anomalies, irregularities and associated conflicts and violence are studied with reference to the observations on ground. Besides farmers’ experiences and perceptions, official perspective has also been given a due space.
Rationale for the Baseline Study:
Accessibility and entitlement to the required amount of water has got a direct bearing on agriculture production, quality and pricing. Assumingly, our poor and small farmers, including women (the very small number of independent women farmers be noted) have skewed and discriminatory access to water, the research keeps them in the spotlight. The problem gets compounded by the land-size, seasonality, varying needs in varying times, erratic pattern of rains and politically driven inequities and distributions. Therefore knowing the exact situation to proceed for an improved policy and practice reforms is essential to minimize poverty.
Looking at user charges, its amount and modalities of collection, and customary allocation also holds sufficient importance in relationship to water-rights determined by the department. Associated conflicts will also feature in. Structural and institutional injustices, along with the living and dead traditions will also be looked into as barriers and enablers to the farmers. An appraisal of disadvantaged groups, like women, poor and powerless smallholders, sharecroppers and tenants, is also significant for adequate policy recommendations and lobbying for improvement.
Exploring some sort of social or customary management of conflicts, identifying newly evolved institutions or associations for management or efficient usability of water will also come into play. The role of civil society networks or coalitions will also be taken into account to improve efficiency and production.
Precisely, the baseline study attempts providing us a threshold to begin with. Where does the main problem lie? Which policy and practice areas to intervene in? What to lobby for and what sort of policy reforms are must? What recommendations be extended to the Irrigation department, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Water Management and legislators in general? What role the user associations and poor farmers themselves can play? These are a few questions that the study attempts to answer.
Right methodology and instruments of assessment lead a researcher to the problems in a trustworthy manner, furthering his way to suitable policy recommendations, improvement in practices and cultivate the outcomes. Multiple means and tools to approach reliable state of the affairs are used here to point out institutional and structural inadequacies.
Scope of the Study and Sampling:
Its’ area of intervention is three districts of South Punjab i.e. Vehari, Khanewal and Lodhran. The said research identified and sampled in the smallholders, poor and tenant farmers. Some of the medium range farmers were brought in fold as the number of very small farmers is quite limited.
Influential farmers having a privileged access or entitlement (legitimate or otherwise) are also considered to have a better picture of inadequacies in mind. Generally open ended questions have been asked to understand the facilities and impediments around. However the questions about water scheduling, timing, frequency, size of the land, abyana, tawan etc were kept the closed ended ones. Oral conversation, generating debate and cross questioning remained key interviewing tool as most of the interviewees were either non- or semi-literate.
Seeking information from local communities, tail-end farmers were selected from three tehsils of each district. Informal and random conversation with farmers was also organized to cross check and finalize the locality and sampling of the small, medium-range and tail-end farmers. A probability sampling method was broadly employed to ascertain that a reliable percentage of farmers groups, as outlined above, are studied for the convenience to generalize. A pretesting of the Questionnaire and Focus Group Discussion (FGD) was held to assure that right people are being spoken to. In depth individual interviews were conducted with more than eight small farmers. Eight Focus Group Discussions and more than 16 individual interviews were conducted in all. Each FGD comprised on 25-30 farmers, roughly representing a population of 5000 to 10,000. However the population count as such was avoided to maintain a qualitative thrust rather than quantitative one.
Indicators to Assess the Situation:
Different indicators were identified to assess the truth and unearth their relations in-between. Some of the variables were already determined and others were located in the field according to the issue under discussion. For instance, size of the land and land tenancy, production amount, seasonal yield and income were already determined to contact the right group of respondents, These variable were co-related with the allocated time, turns, quantity and the source of water. To establish and ensure a logical connection, the suggested one’s and other relevant indicators, were adopted during the course of research. Cast, class, political power and their relation to the access to water were brought in consideration there in field.
To be more specific the schedule of water, seasonal flow of canal, the availability and access of water, to whom, how and how far official response and its relationship with their production and well being were marked out as the key indicators to conclude.
The explorative sojourn begins by looking into the existing body of literature. It helped me, organizing and prioritizing specific areas of concern and related issues. Insight and depth of the problem was sought through expert’s opinion. A sound perusal of official archives as well as independent studies, books, articles and reports - produced by the local and foreign experts are taken into consideration. Historical colonial legacy and its remnants and continuity have been precisely deemed and build upon. Bibliography and references where appropriate are duly quoted. An overall state of affairs for the province of Punjab is examined while maintaining a particular focus on South Punjab. Key facts, figures, rules, maps, schedules and statements are properly inscribed to substantiate a position. Building upon the primary data, already existing analysis was co-related and where suitable validated to draw analyses and suggest reforms for improvement.
Theoretical framework operationalized in this research is off authoritarian state control evident in several other public spheres. Public goods and services are transferred as concession or obligation not as users’ or citizens’ rights. Canals and distributaries were spread around as colonial instrument of political control and maneuverability not to secure food or alleviate poverty as such. Secondly, it also validates the anthropological approach that ‘water is a total social phenomenon’. Technical treatment and engineering solutions fail to promote agriculture. Unfortunately, similar attitudes, rules of the game and bureaucratic style continue in our irrigations sector. Information collected, observations, illustrations and my analysis validate this position. Any shifts or modifications made through time are also signified.
While drawing an analysis, I shall also underscore the relevant clauses of the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Right (ESCR), In its general comment 15, the Committee on the Economic, Social and Agriculture Rights notes the significance of ensuring reliable access to water for food security in the words, “Attention should be given to ensuring that disadvantaged and marginalized farmers, including women farmers, have equitable access to water and water management systems, including sustainable rain harvesting and irrigation technology. Taking note of the duty in article 1, paragraph 2, of the Covenant, which provides that a people may not “be deprived of its means of subsistence”, States parties should ensure that there is adequate access to water for subsistence farming and for securing the livelihoods of indigenous
peoples1.” Direly opposed to the right to water as advocated by the said covenant, Pakistan appears to use irrigation water as an instrument of state control.
UNHCR (1999) http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/0/a5458d1d1bbd713fc1256cc400389e94/$FILE/G0340229.pdf
II - Historical Context
Indus basin is supposed to be one the oldest agriculture planes that gave birth to ancient civilizations of prominence in the world. The cultivation pattern it followed was driven by ecology and natural bent of geography. Archaeological traces from Harrapa to Moenjodaro stand witness to their ingenuity in water management. Present day southern Punjab was and still is the heartland of Indus river bed. Antique agriculture technology, wells and wheels used to harness and distribute water, was simple but well coordinated with nature and people’s attitudes.
Medieval and pre-colonial state – of whatever rudimentary form it was – did develop agriculture and irrigation channels, canals and embankments for better cultivation without evolving or involving heavy machinery and elaborate hydraulic bureaucracy. Precisely, it was the agrarian communities own initiatives as the state sponsorship was occasional and sporadic. Organized clans, community elders and local artisans adequately assembled and distributed water.
Inundation canals were the distinguished characteristic of pre-colonial irrigation. Shrinking back in winter, the Indus would impregnate in summer to hose near-by and distant tracts of lands. Vast areas of Jhang, Muzzaffargarh, Mianwali, Multan and Derajat, still constituting essential agriculture districts of south Punjab, were irrigated by inundation canals. For instance, more than 140 km long and 40 km wide plains of Muzzaffargarh were irrigated by the inundation canals. Wells and wood-fans (jhallars) were also used to supplement and speed up wavering 13
currents of streams. Once the monsoon waves retreated, wetness and moisture would help growing rabi crops. Despite the state’s imperative to collect and inflate its’ revenue direct intervention was pretty constrained. The system was supervised by the community and tribal heads. Expansion and desiltation was done by the clans and cultivators to keep the currents flow and fulfill their needs for plantation. In other words the entitlement to water was awarded in reciprocation to digging new canals or clearing the old in dry season. Fishing and pastoral communities would migrate to areas where water was sufficient in supply. Exchange labour was instrumentalized for periodical migration and settlements and in harvest. Despite irrigating millions of hectors of land the inundation canals did not cause waterlogging. The same canals functioned as drainages in winter. Rains and river run-off were aligned with natural flows rendering it environment friendly2. By the end of 19th century the British colonial government commenced a new irrigation structure to accumulate revenue and deepen their control. Scores of weirs, roots and branch canals were constructed in a decade or two by diverting river to colonize huge tracts of land. Millions of acres of arid and semi-arid terrains were brought under cultivation besides legal and bureaucratic formulations. Prompting migration from east to west and south west Punjab, hundreds of new villages were set up around newly created canals and distributaries. Warabandi – fixed terms and time to irrigate one’s fields – in place of mutual consent and cooperation, and chackbandi – settlement of immigrant villages in the lands of indigenous population - was brought in place. Warabandi, chackbandi and perennial characteristics of canals fiddled with peasants’ attitudes to orchestrated new tensions and adjustabilities.
New irrigation pattern was maneuvered to settle down and tame migrant bands and predatory tribes in upper Sindh and Punjab. Hundreds of acres of lands were allotted to the local and tribal chiefs faithful to the British raj. Thus a landed aristocracy was created within the local communities in addition to elaborate irrigation bureaucracy. Unlike social arrangement of inundation channels, communities were pushed aside and parallel to civil administration extended bureaucratic structure was installed. High ranking engineers sat on top to govern multiple circles and sections of canals. Arrogant authoritative engineers gradually developed personal interests and rent-seeking tendencies along with serving the colonial thirst for revenue
Mushtaq Gadi (2003) in The politics of managing water, Edited by Kaisar Bangali, SDPI & Oxfaor University Press, Islamabad.
and political power. In other words, complicated irrigation machinery was put up in place of commune-driven environment-friendly irrigation management. Quite naturally, traditional communities resisted warabandi and chackbandi in early 20th century against the strict bureaucratic control, shortfall of supply and loss of their historical rights over water (Ibid).
Contrary to the ‘civilization project’ as the colonial architects would claim about canalization, pre-modern categories of caste and brotheris were not only preserved rather institutionalized and sedimented with extra powers. The irrigation technologies restructured as well as created another layer of ruling class upon the people already living there3. These castes and tribal identities are still important in central and South Punjab. More or less the same idea of this territory being a ‘waste land even a desert without having an expansive and modern irrigation system’ is still projected by the World Bank and post colonial technocrats now. Economic growth, industry, so much so the development of metropolitan towns like Multan, Faisalabad and Lahore are credited to the development of Indus Basin Water System (IBWS).
Meticulously drawing the geo-political and legal analysis of the text of ‘Canal and Drainage Act 1873’, Danish Mustafa (2008) concludes that the purpose of the law was not to facilitate the users but to strengthen political hegemony of the state in the Indus Basin. Clear overlaps are seen between the state instruments and canal legislation. The legal rights, for instance, are heavily tilted towards the governmental control than towards efficient and equitable provision of water to the farmers. Quoting Blomley (1994) and Chouinard (1994), he argues that “the law meant to perpetuate and legitimize exploitative and oppressive geographies of social power. Water law and the state apparatus are inextricably linked in the process of production and reproduction of socio-spatial patterns of access to resources and the empowerment of certain social agents in the process.” Despite some legislative efforts for change the law, more or less, functions in Pakistan with the same tone and tenor.
Clause 8 of the said law was amended in 1952 by the post independence government that dealt with the marginal compensations to the farmers in case of land degradation, stoppage of supply, flooding, damage to the water course or any other harm in this connection. Similar provisions in Clause 9, 10 and 13, setting forth procedures for damage claims, were also repealed by the
Mubashir Rizvi (2012) Joy in the wilderness: Millenial irrigation and colonial infrastructure as gift.
same government in some later amendments. Section 13 even mentioned the time-span for compensations to be paid to the affectees and that too was changed. Only clause 11 is still out there indicating abatement of land rent - If leased from the government – upon stoppage of supply but once again withholding the right to increase back once the supply is reinstated. Section 32 lays down the authority of the Irrigation Department to hold back water without explaining why, when and how long the Divisional Canal Officer can stop the supply of water. It is the prerogative of the state, under the same section, to grant water and hold back not a right of the user. The clause actually truncates the possibility of farmers using water as their rights. The permission needs to be renewed from season to season. Technically, it can be withdrawn too. Of course a complete discontinuation is rarely practiced but the department is authorized to vary amount of supply from season to season (Ibid).
On the other count the same powers compel farmers to bribe the departmental officials to secure better supplies. It also prohibits farmers to sublet or sale water save a part of land is rented out where water supply will naturally go to the tenant but it is excessively the powerful landlords. Sub-section 32 strictly denies farmers to transform the long-term use of water into a permanent right to water reinforcing strict governmental control. Hundreds of thousands of villagers are just water users not the right holders. Discontinuation of supply is rarely to clear silt or manage deficiency but random and usually to seek bribe4.
Outside Punjab Irrigation and Drainage Authority (PIDA) the users cannot challenge its decisions save in a civil court and that too only questions the procedure adopted, not its’ rationality, justification or effect. Almost absolute judicial and executive authority vests with the department. The right to adjudicate conflicts between individual water users also lies at the hands of irrigation bureaucracy.
Danish Mustaf (2008?) Colonial law, contemporary water issues in Pakistan, Department of Geography, University of South Florida, 140 7th Ave South, St Petersburg, USA,
II - The Present State of Irrigation and Agriculture:
To quell the probability of a peasant revolt and subdue the massive demand for land reforms in 1960s, the so called ‘green revolution’ was introduced in the country. The fashion swept all third world countries that time. Once again Punjab including south Punjab, happen to be the hub of the proposed agrarian shift. Hiding the real purpose of integrating local produce to the world market, the transformation favoured new and water intensive seeds and crop varieties subsiding indigenous methods and locally suitable yield. Water-hungry and pests-naive high yield varieties (HYVs) changed the aura of sowing, harvesting and watering the plants. Indigenous seedling and cropping cycle was swiftly replaced by the vicious circle of capital and corporate greed. Agro-industry boomed to devour the ‘bumper harvest’ at the cost of food security and sustained livelihood. The remaining equilibrium with nature and ability of Indus waters was destroyed by the so to speak miraculous moves in agriculture.
Off all the provinces, Punjab’s agriculture heavily depends on main canals and its’ distributaries. Above 80% of its water is employed for irrigation purpose and 20% is allocated for domestic and commercial use. With 60% of its’ population living in rural areas, agriculture in Punjab is said to make sizeable contribution to the country’s GDP. It engages 44% of the rural labour directly or indirectly including the rural urban seasonal commuters for industrial labour. Punjab is assumed
to be the largest cereal and grocery producing province of the country5. At times, it is prided as food basket of the country as well.
Canal irrigation bears the responsibility of providing 90% food need of Pakistan. In total the country’s canals stretch out to 56,000 km, with 12 link canals and 44 command areas or subsystems, 3 reservoirs, 19 barrages and 107,000 watercourses spreading over 1.6 million km. Out of which Punjab comprises on 14 barrages, 23,184 miles of canals commanding over 21 million acres of land, 24 networks of canals with a length of 34,500 km, 2 siphons across rivers, holding a capacity of 100,000 cusecs of water in all. Interlink canals are supposed to divert western rivers to the eastern one’s – diverted to Indians under Indus Basin Treaty (IBT) controlling the barrage supplies. Channelized by barrages and head regulators, main and link canals receive waters from rivers and distribute it to irrigation fields via 58,000 minors flowing through extensive networks of water courses6. About 18000 km drainage in addition, flushes out agriculture effluents into the sea. By and large 60% of the command area falls in Punjab province with 70% of the irrigated fields of the whole country. Roughly south Punjab should comprise almost 40% of that.
Average canal diversion in the country is around 105 MAF (million acre feet) with 42 MAF groundwater extraction and the total irrigation area standing around 36 million acres. Official estimates claim the potential of bringing 22 million acres of additional land under irrigation. The system is known to be the largest contiguous irrigation system in the world. Official experts claim that since 1960s to 2000s the availability of irrigation water has increased from 65 MAF to 135 MAF, almost doubling its capacity in 5 decades. Agriculture growth that our policy makers keep stressing non-stop, needs at least 2-3% percent extra water every year. In Arif Hassan’s (2003) words: “ Before the present plans were made in the last one hundred years irrigation, water supply, and drainage system, however Inadequate or antiquated already existed. The new systems were (and still are) purely engineering solutions subservient to
Unfortunately it is very difficult to find segregated data for south Punjab and in certain cases Punjab as well. Therefore the national and provincial data along with the available information for south Punjab is randomly presented.
Irrigation Department, Punjab (2012) See: http://irrigation.punjab.gov.pk/introduction.aspx
sophisticated theories and standards. As such they have proved to be incompatible with the social and economic conditions of the beneficiaries and also with the economic and managerial constraints of the government institutions that are supposed to maintain and operate them”….Due to the factors mentioned above, water plans have caused, and continue to cause, serious ecological damage, environmental degradation and social fragmentations and alienation even where they bring about economic benefits. They are also not sustainable in purely management terms since they require huge funds for operation and maintenance, which are simply not available.”
Contrary to the pictures of water management painted above, water to Anthropologists needs to be critically examined as an integrated system not as a fragmented sector managed or controlled by a bureaucratic set up. In Marcel Mauss’s (2002?) views, water is total social phenomenon that cuts across all domains of life. It builds and breaks social relation. Traditional communities perceived it as a symbiotic element of their lives – inseparable from any sphere of social, political and economic activity.
Minors and distributaries, created by our irrigations system unify less and divide clans and communities more than ever. Water courses and shares are not awarded on the basis of technical justice, as claims the department, but in line with historical and political support or opposition. Structurally unjust and inequitable, commands and circles have been and still are created with allegiance to power. How cum all the big landlords are located at the head reaches or in the middle while all the poor and smallholders sit on tail ends. They are allocated special outlets and water courses. Some of the landlords receive water not only from minors but gulp up branch canals too.
Distribution of water hinges around the key outlet from minors, locally known as moga – taking water down to farms where tampering gets common and department frequently maneuvers things for or against certain farmers.
Water politics at farm level begins and ends at minor and mogas. Nakkas (field outlets) are a technically fixed holes meant to spread water into the fields farmers.
IV – Unpacking the Problems on Ground
Bureaucratic Lanes and Alleys:
In people’s perception and experiences Irrigation Bureaucracy is far stronger than the provincial government itself. Powerful engineers know that ministers keep coming and going while they are there to stay for several decades. The perception was directly or indirectly shared by several farmers in the Focus Groups Discussions (FGDs) conducted at more than 6 or 7 tehsils of Lodhran, Vehari and Khanewal. “Sometimes, Minister for Food and Agriculture”, said one of the farmers in Vehari, “has to request an appointment to the Secretary Irrigation. He happens to be such a powerful guy”. They know, that ministers are seasonal hardly surviving even for a single term in power.
Reflections of Focus Group Discussions in Vehari and Khanewal
Apart from availability and accessibility of water, approaching the department is no less than a Herculean task. Circles and command areas are spread over hundreds of kilometers. Travelling long distances just to lodge a complaint takes at least one full day on top of the travel and food expenses, it may incur. For instance the Xen dealing with the supply, stoppage, shortage, theft or other relevant issues of Lodhran sits at the Thinggi Head Quarter in Vehari District. Some of the Xens for Vehari are appointed in Pakpattan and others in Multan. People are rarely informed of the frequent transfers happening in the field. I could easily assess that from appointment and transfer boards displayed behind the key officers whom I visited. Average stay time of an Xen, SDO or Divisional Officer rarely exceeds a couple of years. In case of a claim, dispute, damage or request for an outlet, the complainants have to explain the whole story again to the incumbent. At times files start rolling back. With the difference of attitudes and tendencies the same case gets different treatment from different officials. Non literate and poor farmers cannot think of travelling and approaching a high ranking official. It is also difficult for relatively well off farmers too because they have to visit the office several times to get a problem solved.
“Whenever an SDO, or overseer moves to another area, straight on he will survey mogas, minors, and nakkas and will raise number of objections on their size or condition. “This is too big or oversized or its length or measure is more than the approved size”, will be his usual objection. Things settle down in a day or so, after an underhand deal is struck with individual farmers corresponding to the size of land or the strength of the land landlord. “Pilferage and misappropriation is absolutely in the knowledge of the whole department”. These comments were made by several participants of the group discussion in the Khanewal tehsil.
A relatively small farmer of Lodhran, Malik Akhtar, spent two years commuting Qutubpur to follow up his application for the approval of a new nakka in his lands. “I requested patwari (revenue officer) irrigation”, Malik Akhtar told me. After his signature, took the file for verification of an SDO based at Thinggi. “Come again this or that date, they would say each time. I kept visiting accordingly. Finally the file reached to the relevant Xen at least in one and half year. He signed but then asked me to come back and collect it after one and half month. I told him that I am an army officer and cannot come back again and again. My leaves are limited. He said that is the only way out, if you are interested to get your job done”. I said, “Just write it down on my file”. He refused to do so, offered me a cup of tea and approved the request. On my fourth visit, 22
he told me to be silent for 45 days. Finally, I got the additional nakka created. My neighboring lanlord complained in Qurubpur but found that the nakka was approved 45 days earlier and nothing could be done at this point. Actually, I just paid Rs.500 to the reader of SDO and in Qutubpur I gave Rs.2000 to the clerk of an Xen. “The department, Malik Akhtar said, “knows both the problems and their solutions too”. But they do not want to solve problems. In fact, it is the problems that add to their powers. Why would they obliterate them. The story of a relatively prosperous farmer from Malcy speaks volumes about bureaucratic control and games underhand. Chaudhary Nazir, the resident of Chack-169 WB owns 100 acres of land. Sometimes back in 2001, he got a new moga created from Sadhnai-Malcy link canal. By 2006 the moga was closed down. “A moga cannot be carved out of a branch canal; secondly, it is the 2nd moga within 25 acres, while rules only one in within that size of the land. Both acts are a breach of law,” was the reason presented by the department. “Everything was done with department’s approval. Check your record please,” argued the farmer. Respective application and approval was then deliberately misplaced”, alleges Mr. Nazeer. Obviously the moga was, at the first place, created by bribing and/or influencing an official whose name he did not disclose. The same moga was closed in 2002 in response to a complaint but opened again with the support of a PML(Q) MPA in 2005 and closed back next year. Filling in several forms, spending enough amount of money and repeatedly commuting Thinggi he got the moga recreated after five years but in a tricky manner this time. Locals say that he approached Chief Minister for the purpose. A pipe was passed under the branch canal to approach a rajbah across. In a way, departmental procedure was fulfilled and at least one rule was abided by, the other of not allowing 2nd moga within 25 acres was clearly bypassed. But now rajbah’s level is lower than the moga and water flows to the Chaudhary’s land only if the rajbah spills over. The case illustrates several contradictions and this is how things move on in the department.
Case Study7: Shaukat Ali Parwaz’s Struggle for the Approval of Pakka Moga:
Chack No. 360 WB, UC # 34, Tehsil Dunyapur, District Lodhran: “I am Shaukat Ali Parwaz. I live in Chack # 360 WB, Tehsil Dunyapur. I own a small piece of land about 5 acre that I cultivate myself. Despite entitlement, I was unable to receive water from Neeli Bar Canal. Big land lords of the area are Mian Abdul Aziz and Mian Sharif. The latter owns 550 acres of land.
The case study was documented by Malik Ashtar (S.O Damaan) and the author.
Diagonally crossing his land, he got two pakka water courses constructed from his own expenses. For my own square of land (33 – 21/22), I also applied for a pakka moga (outlet) to SDO through respective tehsildar. When Patwari came to see the site, neighboring landlords out-rightly opposed the proposal. “Only one moga per twenty five acres is allowed,” they argued. While the fact is that two mogas are common in 25 acres of land. In case of Mian Sharif there are 4 mogas in each of his 25 acres. Anyway the case went back to the SDO. Along with my father we went to see the respective SDO, while Mian Sharif was also there. Over there, Mian Sharif opposed my application in the presence of SDO. “If it is illegal, how cum you install 4 in a square?,” I questioned. Listening that, the SDO’s face went pale. Obviously they were constructed with his approval. Arguing over, we even exchanged blows. “Not in my office. Go and fight out there. Otherwise, I will not approve your moga,” said the SDO. Coming outside, I repeated the same argument. You have got 4 mogas per square, all are illegal. Your water course is also un-approved. I will bulldoze it in the evening. He went away. In the evening, he sent me a message to reconcile. Anyway, determined, I approach the patwari again and paid Rs.6000 to him and Rs.2000 to the department’s clerk in bribe. Submitted my application in Irrigation Department agai at Bangla Qutubpur. Got the sketch and report of the moga approved from Thinggi (Vehari). It cost me Rs. 17000 to get a legal moga approved. I then waited for 41 days – the duration to appeal against and then created the moga myself placing a wooden log there. Except numberdar, Fazal Elahi every one threatened to beat me up. I disappeared from the site. The people of Mian Sharif, Mian Aziz and some other stakeholders threatened me and my family members. They also approached patwari. “I have got a copy of the approved moga”, replied patwari. It is perfectly legal. “It is over two months that his moga is approved”. They heard in answer in response to the complaint made at Head Office. Finally, everyone went calm and I got my moga operational.
The present case8 of Moza Khanewal, Moga No. 12809 presents another aspect of departmental ineffectiveness and lethargy. Moza Khanewal Kohna is situated 3 Kms away from main Khanewal town.
The Case Study was documented with the support of Tahseen Raza (S.O. Damaan) and the author.
Traditionally the whole area was dominated by agricultural activities. With gradual increase of construction demands, other businesses
propped up where brick-killin factories were one prominent venture. Around 7 years back Zamurud Hussain Landlord and Imdad Hussain Arayen set up brickkilin industry in partnership wiht another man. They began to dig earth from their own 12 acres land nearby. After years of mining, the land turned into a massive ditch, that they leveled and began cultivating. By ploughing out soil, western side of the water course turned weaker. Now, whenever they need water, they just take a brick out and use it either for their land or for clay to make bricks, sometimes out of their turn as well. In response to the complaint conveyed by DDO in favour of those who suffered, the SDO said, “It is their share of water and they are free to utilize whatever manner they wish to. So far as stealing water form others share is concerned, it was never reported. We take actions only if a breach of rule is reported”. The farmers, it was discovered were even not familiar with the complaint registering mechanisms. An influential farmer from Malcy (whose name is kept confidential here) told me about the attempt he made to get his share of water increased from 30 to 50 cusecs about two years ago. “I approached an MPA of PML–N (name kept confidential) known to me in person and put up the request to influence Chief Secretary of the Divisional Circle for to increase his share of water. He urged me to visit his office in Lahore. The farmer, along with a couple of his family elders, visited him in Lahore as advised by the MPA. Over there, he regretted saying that “all changes in the water share are banned for the next 5 years. “My apologies, I would have not caused you inconvenience had I known it earlier”.
Khalla in Khanewal where water is taken for brick mortar
“My misfortune otherwise there are some farmers, whom I personally know of having got their share increased through political influence” the farmer said. Very clear the share of water is changed through political influence other than bribery.
Case Study9: M. Shafique’s Struggle for School’s Water District Lodhran, Chack 358/WB, Tehsil Dunyapur: Neeli Bar, a perennial canal, supplies water to Tehsil Dunyapur,
where the Government Girls School, we are talking about, is situated. Comprising on 22 Kanal with 3 Kanals covered, the school was constructed as a primary school in 1954. It was promoted to the Middle in 1972, to Higher in 1987 and to Higher Secondary School level in 2007. For decades the school purchased tubewell water for its plantation that was expensive and unhelpful for trees and greenery. Anyway, we had few trees and green patches with several empty spaces in it. For sufficient plants and flowers, better environment and to make its’ look better it surely needed canal water. Muhammad Shafique, the School Head Clerk began his struggle to receive canal water in late 2000s. I began requesting neighboring landlords to proportionally contribute from their share of water to the school where their own girls can study in a better environment. But all refused. One of them even said, “there are no paddy fields in school that will die out without water”. Contacting Ziladar, he advised me to fetch several people to him randomly to develop a collective application on their behalf. I kept fetching more than 20 people turn by turn on my own bike. The Ziladar would keep seeking individual signature. At some point, a man named Israr Ahmad, who already disagreed with the idea entered in and while putting his signature on, he picked up the application and tore it up into pieces. Further on he kept persuading others to not to provide water to the school. Now I went to Qutabpur and met an Xen of the area. Convinces, he promised to help me. He said, just provide me an application and give me some time. After a couple of months or so, he gave me a call and disclosed the approval of school water. Keep it a top secret for one year in the area, otherwise you will lose it. I failed to understand it but kept my lips tight. After year I approached him back. He handed me over a ‘schedule’ explaining school’s turns for water. They fixed a nakka (outlet) and School began receiving water. He then explained me that share holders can challenge some one share of water for multiple periods within to court to seek stay
The Case Study was documented by Malik Ashtar (S.O, DDO) and the Author.
order or even declare it illegal. But after a year, the term for petitioning gets over and the act no longer remains challengeable. By keeping it confidential for a year we saved it from being challenged in the court. Now, it is the school’s unquestionable right. We can see how the loopholes are at times disclosed by representatives of the department when they want to help someone. In case they turn against someone, or they are not interested in doing something, numbers of rules are there to serve. No matter how genuine is the case, it is the department’s discretion too as arbitrariness reigns supreme in the presence of customs and legalities. It is the bureaucracy that decides how to deal with an issue. “Was the system ever better?,” I asked from a small group of old and retired farmers in Borewala tehsil. “It used to be much better in 1960s and 1970s but began worsening in 1980s. Water shortage, frequency and amount of theft increased during 1980s and then continued unabated. “The colonial water system, justified an Xen in vehari, was not designed to fulfill the excessive demand rising with the passage of time. It was planned to satisfy limited water allowances say around one third or half the cropping intensity that we have got now. The system also holds limited capacity to be expanded. Uneven land, conveyance losses and antique irrigation practices are making the system further inefficient in provision and supply,” He answered”. In other words, it is the excessive demand not mismanagement that is causing problems in his opinion.
A group of farmers fed from Eastern Neeli Bar claimed of having dug and cleared 12 kilometer of rajbah on their own without any support from the departmental. “We paid Rs.100 per acre to the department and received water from the Link Canal not from the Western Neeli Bar. We desire water to be provided to us from Western Neeli Bar as it is closer by and flows better. But officials of the Western Bar do not provide us a single drop of water,” said the participants. We do not know, why? Department simply says, “you are not entitled to Western Bar’s waters”.
Several farmers fail to understand the compulsion of receiving water from a particular minor or moga even if another moga or minor is closer or convenient to irrigate from. Applications over applications are submitted without success. Given the complicated bureaucratic procedures, shifting a source is no less than a daunting task. In case another farmer or a family is opposed to it, then you forget it. 27
Farmers land size, land use, localities, minors, watercourses, cropping needs and patterns are are rapidly changing but the outlets and their locations are set in stone. An orchard usually has double the allocation than grains or grocery fields. Many farmers outstripped orchards and now grow cotton, wheat or sugarcane; their water share is still the same in papers. Others grow fruit plants and secure double the share of water. Once done they remove fruit plants and start growing any other crop in vogue. Ridiculous but such practices are not uncommon. When irrigated lands are converted into residential colonies, they need to reschedule water distribution and divide it to the neighboring lands. “We have no idea what happens to that water,” the farmers say.
“Departmental rules and regulations are all in English language and so runs most of the correspondence. It is difficult for uneducated farmers to understand things in there and proceed accordingly,” said a school teacher in Borewala. “If we translate it in Urdu, it can make some difference. The farmers need to know about the complaint mechanism, the fine over theft, their shares, schedules and applications process for new outlets etc. “Part of the problem will be resolved by understanding the laws better,” he added.
Distribution, Warabandi System and Insufficiency:
Wara or warabandi is the term – universally used all over South Punjab – which one listens excessively while talking to farmers or interacting with representatives of the department. Wara stands for the ‘turn’ while ‘bandi’ means something fixed. Hence warabandi means fixed term cycle of turns or rotations. Warabandi, its’ regulation and associated problems are the best example of design equity and its’ failure as well. Theoretically, seven to ten days rotational cycle with fixed amount of time according to one’s schedule and size of land, supplies water to the farmers. The chain of turns in an area is technically known as schedule.
Katcha system, i.e. internal or flexible arrangement of turns is also observed in some of the villages in the target area. It stands for a chain of rotation agreed but not formally recognized by the department. Small farmers and tenants also talk about having some informal exchange of water in between but not that frequently. With changing water needs, collusion and system flaws it is neither foolproof nor efficient. Where its’ inflexibility tries to impose mechanical justice in distribution, it also poses a barrier too. In case a crop needs water every third day, as I was told, a farmer is rarely entitled to have it every third day. No surprise that sometimes it is available when it is not required for a crop. The gap is fulfilled by using or purchasing tubewell water. When it is, short a farmer cannot supplement it, save through groundwater, and when abundant he is unable to sell the surplus supply. During my interaction, many farmers in south Punjab complained of not receiving water when they need it or having it amply available when not required. Designed for fair distribution, warabandi fails to deliver justice with the poor and small farmers. Water ends, before reaching out to the poor tail-enders. The cycle turned people so egoistic and self possessive that farmers essentially use it on their own turn even if they don’t need it.
Moga – the water outlet from a minor or rajbah
Schedule, rotation and design equity is readily compromised when structures are amended in collusion with an influential or a politically powerful landlord. Shrewd farmers also tinker and violate fixed term rotations. Time and again during all my individual interviews and collective discussions, I kept hearing complaints of mogas or nakkas being tampered. Speeding up one’s supply or trespassing one’s scheduled time is also common. Even the distance of one’s land from the minor or the branch canal makes a huge difference in supply time and quantity. Variable flows also make the quantities variable. To sum up, even minor changes in design or time make a big difference in the quantity of water one receives.
Case Study on the Problems of Warabandi: Muhammad Nawaz, a small farmer of Tehsil
Borewala told that, Days are specified for different farmers or families. Let us say my turn falls 29
on the first Monday of each month and the same rajbah/canal is closed on that particular day. I will then have to wait for that day for the whole month. In case I complain to the department, they say it is out of our control as it is done province wise and we cannot affect changes. Absence of water when we need it poses serious challenges to a farmer. In that case either we wait for the rain or purchase ground water. Its price is exorbitantly high. However, we are not facing any problem of water theft. An Xen in Vehari said. “Three of our rivers i.e. Ravi, Satluj and Bias have been diverted to India. Sources of Sindh and Chanab are being dammed by our hostile neighbor i.e. India. Mangla and Tarbela are heavily silted depleting the supplies. In Birtish period, not only the amount of water was regulated rather, how much water will a farmer use and for which crop, was also dictated by the government. Now people are growing crops consuming water more than average. People demand more than their share to bring maximum of their land under cultivation. This much water was never available in the system. It is not the result of mismanagement rather the system is burdened beyond its capacity”. He and a couple of other officials in Lodhran and Khanewal categorically refused the unequal distribution, stealth, favouritism or bribery to choke or release less or more water to one or another landlord or a family. However, the line losses and wastage in flow was accepted across board.
A Draftsman from Lodhran argued that actually availability, not provision, is the main constrain. Say, Dunyapur tehsil has got an area of 650,000 acres. The department can hardly provide water to 400,000 acres in general. There are 60 rajbahs or small canals in the area but cannot fulfill the demands of hundreds of thousands of farmers in the area. The Malacy canal flows through Head Trimmun that is supposed to run from mid April to mid October but it hardly flows for a couple of months or so. Those whose wara is supposed to be every week, what can he do if water flows with fits and starts skipping a week, sometimes two. Actually canals suffer from severe shortage of supply. Alternatively the farmers have to purchase water at the rate of Rs.1200/hour. Let us say Talib Husain and Haji Yasin made a complaint of poor supply in my presence, what the department can do to quash their thirst for water. In another case, the Khanewal Canal has a capacity of 3000 cusecs while it hardly receives1000 to 1400 cusecs of water, less than half of its allocation. The Malcy Canal has a capacity of 11000 cusecs and it receives 7000 – 8000 cusecs max. Unequal distribution, theft and pilferage aside, how to deal with the shortage? 30
Most farmers say, “more than half of their requirement is fulfilled by groundwater which is brackish and expensive.” Let us say the farmers of Dera Ahmad Din, Tehsil Malcy, Chack 171, told: There were 19 mogas to feed their lands from the Canal 1L-10-L that receives water from Thinggi Canal. Its’ officially allocated share of water is 35 cusecs but it hardly flows close to 30 Cusecs. People also claim of having paid Rs.100, 000 per Moga to receive their due share of water but the amount has yet not been increased.
Rana Muhammad Iqbal10 - Issues of Inequity in warabandi: Mogas and localities are
specified under the influence of big landlords, despite the fact that per acre production of small farmers is more than the big one. If the small farmers would request the department to survey their land and assess the need for water, land superintendent would not come without charging at least Rs.10,000. Mogas locations are also determined by the powerful landlords. They not only take ample water rather waste it too. Last year, we agitated against this injustice, even the police visited to arrest him but the landlord (who is sitting MNA as well) did not give a single drop of water until he satiated his lands in full. Changing warabandi is next to impossible although it can solve part of the problem. Size of the land and moga work in a sort of an equation. Say, water will be given for X amount of time to the Y size of land – owned by various land lords. In the said time, whether the small farmers receive water or not, this is his own problem. Water is stopped after the allocated time. Although the departments attempt enforcing a schedule but the powerful land lords do not respect that. Say I purchased a land there and my neighbouring landlord visited me and said he is entitled for one hours of water but he could not get it for the last 20 years despite making several complaints to the department. I gave him, his right and he will tell you that Foji. Iqbal has given me water after 20 years but the department could not manage that. Department officials rather advise the complainants to compromise with the landlord and not to create fuss. The big landlords will break moga at someone else’s’ location and time and blame him for the crime.
“With the diversion of Satluj to India, Pakpatttan Canal, 3 Km in the north of Vehari got closed and a canal called Malcy-Karampur Canal, 14 Km from Vehari in the west also stopped flowing. Likewise, there was a canal close to Kaccha Khoo shrank. However Sadhnai Malcy link canal
The story was told by Rana Muhammad Iqbal, a retired soldier and farmer in Lodhran tehsil.
was carved out to irrigate lands that were earlier irrigated by Satluj”, told a retired irrigation officer named Ghulam Hussain. The same Malcy link canal was bricklined for around 300 kms and new minors were created to supply water to those that earlier received water from river Satluj. Now lands on western-end inhale enough water while the eastern part is dying out of hunger. Sadhnai-Malcy link canal provides water to Vehari and Bahawalpur and that too far less than its allocated share.
The same person categorically stated, “Where there are settlers’ Chacks in Vehari district, canals are perennial while the locals get access to seasonal canals only. The situation is not created recently. Most of the Chacks in Vehari were settled in 1931 or 1932 under the British Raj and the injustice continues since then. It is the making of the colonial raj, perhaps certain plans operated behind”. But in my opinion there is a way out. Another canal should be
constructed between Malcy and Mian Chanoon to irrigate around 50 km area in between that is presently deprived of water, He argued.”
Muhammad Afzal, a farmer from Dunyapur said, “Shortage of supply is serious. Usually when the farmers need water, it is not available and available when it is needed less or not needed at all. Underground water in Dunyapur is saline and if watered in case of unavailability, it harms the crops. Let us say this year the canal was closed for two months. The farmers – large and small launched a protested on the main road. They burned tires and blocked traffic. Finally, the department representatives visited the area.
A reflection of unmanaged water courses
Water was released in the canals for a day or two and closed back. Farmers did the same again and response was again the same. The Department representatives, even some MPAs and Secretary too visited the venue. People thought, where did the water come from after the
protest. How did they manage it now firming their belief that it is deliberately held back to provide to influentials” To some of the farmers, no baildar (the lowest ranking officer who supervises watercourses) or canal officer manages water rotations. Baildar and overseer simply supervise water courses with their scheduled visits. It is the farmers themselves who remember their turns and time and run the system. Each farmer will close his neighbour’s nakka when his time is over and will open his own. The next one will close the former one’s and will unchoke his own and so on and so forth. A farmer needs to be alert even his turn happens to be in the middle of the night. Reportedly, the day and night schedule changes over alternatively. But several other farmers say that Baildars also open and close mogas according to the sanctified time to maintain schedule. They keep roaming in their area on bikes or motorbikes and do the job.
Case Study11 - Corruption De-sheduling Warabandi: Qadirabad canal’s (of Kharadar
branch) water flows from Pakpattan to Malcy. It is seasonal canal and runs from mid April to Mid September. Neeli Bar region is dominated by feudal lords. For instance, Mian Luddon, Tahmeena Daultana and Mumtaz Daultana come from the same belt. Ghulamabad Canal is linked to Khadar branch. Big land lords like Mangwana, Sanjera, Tajwanas and others provide 400-500 mounds of wheat to various department officials every year and keep cutting canal – known as chhap in local terminology – through their fields. I possess only 2 acres of land and cannot afford to brine officials. Yet they insist me to send something at Bangla Joya in return to my wara. Warabandi’s cycle corresponds with the amount and efficiency in bribe. Revenue department is party to it. This ‘system’ keeps going on and on – no justice. Let us say when I introduced the ‘Water Entitlement Project12’ to the respective SDO, he said, “Please do not implement in my area.” Simply he is afraid that his corruptions might be exposed. Even PMIU has failed to stop corruption involved in warabandi. In the existing system, it is the small farmers like me, who suffer the most. There is a serious need to check this corrupt business.
The Case study was documented by Sher Khan Khichhi (S.O. Damaan) and the Author.
Damaan Development Organization’s Citizens’ Voice Project Introduced meant to improve the provision of water to the small farmers.
If not a total breakdown of the system of warabandi itself has become an instrument of violating the rule. Alternatively it does empower local elites and landlords to arbitrate and seek further power to exploit the poor.
Very few canals are bricklined or pakka. A couple of attempts have been made in mid 1990s and early 2000s however their number and length is too small. The pakka work was done with 20 percent cash or kind contribution of the land owners. Bricklining surely saves water but it reduces the rechargability of subsurface water resulting in greater need of surface irrigation. “Let us say the whole area from Thinggi to Borewals now needs more water as the Malcy Link Canal was bricklined,” believes Ghulam Hussain of Vehari.
More than 90% of the watercourses (khalla in local words) are katcha. Some of the pakka water courses are either done by the big landlords themselves or by the Water
Management Department (WMD) back in 2000s. A few of the water course were turned pakka early 2000s with the support of Citizens Community Board (CCB) funds.
Reflection of a kachha Khalla irrigating fields
Even the pakka khllas are mostly pakka only from the headends, tails remain the same. Once again, there is a little coordination between WMD and the Irrigation Department, even in case of bricklining the water courses. “Cultivation without a break and the variety of cotton, sugarcane, paddy, wheat and vegetables demand water more than the traditional varieties,” farmers themselves accepted in more than one groups. Conventional yield is quite low though superb in quality. It does not fetch enough profit, therefore no incentive to revert to the traditional varieties”, Acknowledge most of the farmers. Say Bt cotton which is largely grown in the areas needs excessive watering.
Despite all the anomalies, the Department’s Programme Monitoring and Implementation Unit (PMIU) still claims on its website that, “the experts and other professionals for this Cell have 34
been appointed on contract basis. The Unit has been strengthened with 12 Mobile Teams (two for each Irrigation Zone) and will be equipped with double cabin pickup and discharge observation devices and 58 Gauge Readers (one for each Operation Division) equipped with motorcycle. One and half months training for Assistant Director Mobiles and Monitoring Assistants started on April 3, 2006. The Mobile Teams frequently move in the zone to observe the actual discharge of channels/outlets and Gauge Readers regularly observe the gauges especially of the tail of channels of a Division. This will facilitate the Monitoring Unit to ascertain the correctness of data loaded by the Canal Divisions and exercising proper check for feeding of tails and ensuring equitable distribution of water in the channels/out-lets according to the authorized shares and approved plans”.
Waste and Water Logging:
As indicated above an extensive network of canals, rajbahs and watercourses operates in South Punjab as they do in the rest of the province. Yet the delivery of water is highly skewed and inefficient due to waste, mismanagement, excessive demand, weird engineering structure and poor maintenance. Delivery efficiency is approximated to be little over 35% from branches and distributaries down to the tertiary lanes. Most loss is recorded at the watercourses, communally known as khallas. Non local and water intensive cropping consumes another 15% of the flows. In certain parts of and passages the loss rises as high has 65 to 70% touching 30 MAF per annum. Such a big trounce causes not only shortage rather water logging and salinity as well. Reuse and exploiting return flows is almost absent. The shortfall of water is projected around 40% or 108 MAF.
According to Water and Power Development Authority’s (WAPDA) estimate, 30% of the land in Punjab suffers from surface and 45% by profile salinity – recurring through plant roots. Around 5000 tubewells are installed every year salinizing the soil further. Water table is falling in 15 out of 45 command areas. Salinity and water logging, already on the rise, is one the major threats to irrigation and agriculture system.
Almost all the farmers, poor or little prosper, face it seriously. They also realize that groundwater is increasing infertility, lowering down water table and decreasing grain production but the deplore they have no way out. 35
However some of the farmers think, “it is the electrified water i.e. water generated by tubewell that harms earth. Canal water is natural hence safe for earth and harvest”. Others say, “it is back to back cropping but we cannot afford to spare our soil for a season or two to breathe”. To fulfill their rising hunger for water farmers who can afford are haphazardly
Tubewell irrigation, a key source of water logging
installing tubewells here and there. Officially approved or un-approved, there seems no specification or regulation of distance or number within a certain size of the land. Overpumping and wastage of groundwater like the fresh one is common that is increasing charges and waterlogging and decreasing productivity. Skimming wells, cause relatively lower salinity, but are rarely observed in the area. Waterlogging ratio of commercial tubewells is multiple times higher, yet they are popular. Marketing agents persuade them in several ways. However, in our case most of the smallholders do not own tubewells. They purchase water paying Rs. 800 to 1200 for an hour or so.
At much higher a cost, public tubewells, that we saw a few, are being installed to treat water logging. Devouring more money and more energy with limited capacity for desalination and desodification, these themselves prove problematic. Once again a technical solution to solve technically created problem proves expensive, ineffective and interim only. Once again waterlogging is being perceived exclusively a technical problem asking for technical solutions. In In department’s technical thinking, farmer communities feature in, if at all, just in the passing. One can feel whatever additional amount of water is brought under cultivations through by creating new and new canals perhaps more is being lost through waterlogging, salinity and sodification.
Popular and perceptual meanings of the word ‘theft’ rarely convey the problems and typology of stealing quantities and turns of irrigation water. Multiple tricks and traits of grabbing water, at times, make it difficult to identify an act as outright violation or larceny. However amongst all the 36
farmers, who I spoke to, enumerable stories of water stealth circle around. I could hardly recall any discussion without recurrent references to stealing water.
“Stealing water is the main issue and there are multiple means and methods to of stealing it. Farmers install pumps and machines to pull huge amount of water in a limited time. Influentials such as Sahu, Gardezis, Maliks all steal water from rajbahs. Small farmers are simply helpless. As they are powerful, therefore no one can lodge a complaint against or stop them. Stealing water is almost a day to day activity. Small farmers or the tialenders, do get water but untimely and far less than their actual need. Why? The reason is very simple. Department employees are appointed with their sifarish (recommendation). How can they stop the big land lords from stealing water?” The views were expressed by a Local NGO worker, Muhammad Zulfiqar at a collective meeting in Khanewal.
In Tehsil Vehari we saw motor operated big fans of wood (jhallaras) installed on water courses, just across the minor, meant to transport water to some landlord’s lands. Installed on the landlords own water lines, however it speeds up and pulls down more water for the owner. “This is illegal, complain all small farmers, as it draws down an amount of water more than one’s due share”. In common perception, closeness to the minor helps propelling more water within the allocated time to a farmer. To the department, it is pretty legal because the machine sits on one’s own course of water. Neither on the minor nor on someone else’s flow. When we raised this issue with an SDO at Thinggi, he was initially reluctant to accept any such thing operating on any one’s land. When we insisted, he said, “Oh! Yes! that is perfectly legal for it functions on such and such landlord’s piece of land.
Jhallar or wood-fan flank to speed up water
If some of the farmers do have reservations on it, they should report to the department. We never received any application against it. In case we do, we might visit and assess, if it is affecting smallholders or tail-enders or not”. 37
An old man of Chack 51-KB, Tehsil Borewala, who did not reveal his name, showed us an act of stealing water. Locally known daaf, it is a method of stealing water by cutting across a canal through to one’s land. It is done almost every rabi season. I fail to believe how it is possible without departmental collusion or bribing to a concerned official. Another man of the same village, whose name I keep anonymous, disclosed that “big landlords of the area obstruct minor with sacks of clay or bundles of reeds to make the water flow back to their lands. Last time we made a complaint to the concerned Xen. He held an open meeting (Khulli Kachehri) at Joya Bangla and publically committed to stop that practice. Reported to the police, once it raided on the spot. Workers and servants of the land lord ran away. No arrests were made. With the gap of a year or two, its’ all the same.
Case Study13 - Irrigation Department Tortures a Poor Farmer in Union Council 22, Chack Tehsil Lodhran: Water theft, tinkering with the size of moga, big landlords’ and
departmental oppression is common in the area. Small farmers are particularly oppressed and wronged by the wealthy and powerful farmers in collusions with the departmental staff. I hereby quote a representative case as told by the victim himself. “I am Muhammas Hussain (55) and live in the said Village. Three to four weeks ago I was standing outside my house close to Bahashti Canal around 8.00pm. Mushtaq Ahmad, popular with the name of Pappu was also standing with me, who just came out to purchase his child’s milk and cigarette for himself. In the mean time irrigation staff, SDO Ahsan Bukhari, Overseer Rana Riaz and a couple of other guys, approached to us in a Double Cabin and a Jeep. Some of them were even carrying weapons. They were raiding the people who used to steal water through tube. Actually the Jhanderi family commonly stole water with this method. Their homes and land is situated close to the canal and they are quite influential. Catching an eye of the department, all of them ran away. The staff occupied all the tubes fixed with the canal to steal water. When they noticed, the two of us were standing there as it is, they pounced upon me and asked. Who are you and how much land do you posses. Nothing, I told them save a couple of acres and that too is leased in. Grabbing, they roughly dragged me on ground. I said, I am not a thieve and neither it was my turn. Had I been culprit, I would have ran away. Turning a deaf ear
The Case Study was documented by Malik Ashtar (S.O. Damaan) and the author.
to my requests, they pushed me in water and jumped in and kept sinking me up and down. Brought out, they came to down to blows. Mushtaq, standing by protested and said, he is innocent. Angered, they gave a similar treatment to him too. My mouth and nose bled profusely. I lost two of my teeth. Yet they did not stop me here. Throwing me inside the Jeep, they forced me to the irrigation office, Lodhran. Over there they got my thumb prints. Knowing the story 30 to 40 villagers followed the office to save me. Scared me, they kicked me out of office. It will be mid night that my fellow villagers brought me back home. After the whole episode, overseer Rana Riaz kept intimidating me over one of my relative’s cell. If you took up the case to police, we shall treat you even worse and will make a police case against you of stealing water. I and my family being poor are helpless and scared. Did not move even after such a terrible torture and injustice. Ahmad khan, our MPA, intervened later and tried arbitrating the matter. He too suggested us to be quite and forget it. No way out, we turned silent. Such injustice and oppression on part of department is heard every now and then. A few days ago the same SDO visited the village and said, sorry. We actually took you for another person. Under the pressure of the MPA, villagers also suggested to forget the whole story. Perhaps they are right. How can I afford thanakachehri and lose my living too? I am oppressed and tortured, yet silent as if nothing happened. How could I forget such a big injustice?
Department is also reported of taking action against complaints of theft or breach of rules and regulations. Ransom or a system of twaan, with respect to the nature of crime, its’ time and amount of water stolen is specifically described and the offense and punishments are also elaborated in the department’s regulatory system. The system of punishing the whole community for the crime of one person also survives in some of the situations. Farmers do know it from heart to heart and there are several cases of tawaan heard and told by several farmers in every district. But the way it functions is totally disappointing and unjust according to the farmers we discussed the issue with. Like the system of crime and punishment in the civil sector, much of the arm-twisting happens under the pressure of big landlords, politicians and superior bureaucrats. One of the farmers at Jahanyan disclosed, “We had to pay 20 times fine (tawaan) for breaking our neighbor’s water. All of us had to pay fine collectively, each with a different amount ranging 39
from Rs.10,000 to 25000. Even a couple of farmers had to pay tawaan just for sitting in the Chair in front of an Xen. It was perhaps disrespecting him that got furious at. If tawaan is not payed, one can face 6 months imprisonment. An amount 20 times of one’s abyana is the maximum fine to be placed. If an FIR registered the case will go to civil court, in case of not paying off the twaan”.
Case Study14: Community’s Action to Stop Water Theft: District Vehari, Chack 51 KB, UC # 78, Tehsil Borewala: River branches and minors from Satluj irrigate Borewala
Tehsil of Vehari. Tail-enders of Chack 51-KB fail to receive water from Kharadar Branch, the six monthly canal an offshoot of River Satluj. Joya Sladeer, Chishti, Daultana, Khakwani and Mangwaney and Khichi, Arayaen and Langryal are the big landlords of the area. Big landlords, Saldera in this case, cut water from the minor in the night by chocking it with the earth filled sacks and diverting water back to their lands. Alternatively they have to irrigate their lands with the tubewell water which is 100 times expensive and poor in quality. For expensive water, inputs and unfair pricing the small, poor and tail end farmers are getting poorer. Eventually, they registered complaint to the respective SDO and DPO of the districts but in no vain. Finally the affectees organized a committee and began watching the minor. One night they identified the right persons who stole water. With repeated complaints and openly naming and shaming the landlords who stole water, they succeeded to stop this criminal practice after several years.
The farmers of Khanewal, Lower Bari Canal 3R-10R, 4R-10R etc, confessed that “beyond their size of land or power, all farmers steal water, less or more according to the chance they get or the capacity they have. Whosoever can do it of whatever level, he will do it”. From Head Blocki to Lower Bari Canal all the farmers, save the massively big ones, suffer from the stealth and insufficiency of water. Water schedule available with the department or the irrigation patwari usually remains intact but in practice discrepancies are rampant. An irrigation overseer present in this meeting stated, “actually there is a deficit of water in dams. The tail-enders suffer because the moment it reaches out to them, water gets over. Where to bring more water is the Question. More dams, is one of the answers”.
The Case Study was documented by Sher Khan Khichhin (S.O. Damaan) and the author.
“Earlier we had a fight with an SDO, said Farooq Khan, a tailend farmer from Malcy. Offended by our frequent complaints, he said, “I shall provide you water, the way I did last year.” It was a clear threat. We also removed daaf from Malcy Canal placed by a powerful landlord. Around 17 people were booked in the case by police. “Actually, tailend farmers are unified. They even exchange water if someone has got sufficient supply or does not need water on his turn. However, water deficit and low production make several hundred cultivators seasonally work in ginning or other factories. For example a farmer has to spend Rs. 40,000 on one acre to grow rice. Much of the cost is incurred on purchasing water. We receive less than one tenth, if irrigation water has a poor speed. Tubewell owner charges us Rs.750 per hour. One acre of land takes at least 40 hours of tubewell in a season. What can he earn or save. In case, it does not rain, he is ruined by debt”.
Case Study15: Village 171 WB, UC - 47, Tehsil Malcy, District Vehari: The Issue of Stealing Water through Bed Bars: The tail-end farmers of 1L/10L are deprived from their
share of water for 6 years. The poor farmers individually owned land between a size of 0.5 acre to 1 acre. A population of 10,000 possessed 1400 acres of land in total who suffered from a severe shortage of supply as the powerful and politically influential landlords stole water at the head reaches. The village is situated just 10 km west of the Thinggi Headquarters of Canal Department. The rajbah 1L-10 is an offshoot of Malcy-Sidhnai canal and it is allocated 32 cusecs of water on turn? In total 19 further water courses flow down from the said minor and the farmers have a right to receive 19 to 31minutes of water per acre each turn. Numberdars of the area and a local committee constituted by the poor farmers themselves submitted more than one application to the Xen, Chief Engineer, Executive Engineer, Divisional and Sub-divisional Officers of Western Bar against their water share being stolen. Coming from Moza Shitabgarh, the brother of a former MPA of Zilla Vehari who is also the close relative of former Nazim Vehari had placed daaf (bed-bars) in the 1L-10L for the last several years. Distressed, the poor farmers were migrating to urban areas in search of menial jobs and labour. Repeated applications to several officials at various levels resulted in visiting the site by some of the officials who confirmed the act of stealing and said it appears to be pretty old. According to
The Case Study was described by Farooq Khan Numberdar and documented by this author.
the locals, the daaf was there from at least 2005 and had not been removed after several complaints. Finally, more than 500 poor farmers of respective villages organized a protest demonstration infront of Thinggi Headquarters and blocked traffic for several hours. Aftab Khan Khichhi, the influential landlord lodged an FIR against the 17 farmers leading the protest. But the farmers did not back off and continued protesting and approaching the department officials. After struggling for at least five years, the bed-bars were removed and tail-end farmers began receiving their share of water. This is just one case, several bed-bars are operating unauthorized at various points of Neeli bar off shoots. (Please see the copies of applications and official response in the Annexure IV).
Woes of Tenants and Tailenders:
Roughly two thirds of water is used, abused and stolen by the head-end users and those at the tail end get almost nothing. Say in Bailewaal village of Dunypur, the whole 50 acres of land is totally deprived of water. Tail-enders’ lands are drying up. The big land lord can pull water by peter pump or by tractors motor. However, small landlord’s time and quantity of water is strictly scheduled and controlled. Small farmers have no means to secure water. Feudal lords, sometimes threaten the whole family, if small farmers complain or try asserting their water rights. Tenants are entitled to the share of water whatever is prescribed in the name of their landlord. But most of them have got very limited connection with the Department. As the schedule fall on the landlord’s name, they usually avoid visiting the department, in case of a problem. Some of them have never visited the department even in case of short supply. Others did but only once or twice in several years. The landlords themselves, poor or moderate as we observed in Vehari, are far more active and assertive than mustajirs, the tenants. “Mustajirs have limited conflicts in between. They mutually agree better because the water is quite low so what to fight over”, the group members said in Jahanyan tehsil of Khanewal. Dera Ahmad Din, Tehsil Malcy, Chack 171 is entitled to receive water from 1L-10L/10L Canal which is an offshoot of Thinggi. It has got 19 Mogas and is officially allocated 35 cusecs while 42
the water usually flows down less than 30 Cusecs. Similarly small farmers of Malcy, Chak 17110-L has got a population of 10,000 and farmers own land from 1 Acre to 12 acres. They receive little water at the tail-end to live on. For over 5 years i.e. from 2005-2010, they could not receive even one tenth of their officially allocated share. Farmers situated at the head reaches usually consume water more than their allocated share. Add tempering, some of the tail-enders either do not receive water or far less than their usual share. In the peak rabbi season they rarely receive any water and when supply is abundant, downstream lands are flooded. Users in the middle or upper reaches sometimes, one case is delineated to exemplify, cut down minors even distributaries to accumulate water. Baildars and overseers, if not a direct party to the steal, usually know it but their powers to stop that are too limited.
Case Study16 - Community’s Successful Effort to Secure their Share of Water: A
Poor tail-end Chack of Vehari comprises on 1400 acres land in total. It is fed by 40 tubewells in the absence of canal water. Around 600 acres of land remains completely deprived of canal water and survives on tubewells. What they received only after a prolonged efforts with individual and collective bribe too hardly fulfills the need of one third of their lands. Bashir Ahmed owning 11 acre of land told that “Khicchi MNAs and MPAs place daaf to cut water. The department remains silent”. Daaf does not allow water to flow down and proceed to the tailenders – pandis in local word. Poor and powerless farmers cannot obstruct or object the influentials to not to steal their share. Finally, continued Bashir Ahmed, I happened to meet a nice Chief Engineer. We facilitated him to visit the area and see the act with his won eyes. He ordered an enquiry that happened to work out. He finally got the daaf removed. Villagers cooperated with the baildars to get our share flow down. It is just two years now that we receive some amount of water though direly insufficient. Adding to our wows the Buffalows of Khicchi landlord keeps bathing in the rajbah that has almost turned into a lake, which obviously obstructs the flow, said the same person. The only solution, what now seems us reasonable is brick-lining our rajbah to speed up flow and reduce waste. A department official rarely visits to see the situation. full with agony now, whosoever asks our story, tears roll down instead. I have turned old man of mid 70s running after the canal water.
The story was told by an old farmer Basheer Ahmed and documented by the author.
Conflicts around Distribution and Access:
The very mechanism of time, rotation and who will get what amount of water and when, appearing so perfect on paper causes number of conflicts amongst individual farmers and communities across the whole region. Where legal and systematic measures fail to arbitrate or do justice, farmers and communities tend to use conflict as a mechanism to shift power in their own favour. A range of conflicts between public institutions, individual farmers, communities, clans and families are seen and heard in the field. Either inadequate or no system of resolving conflicts exists with the Department. Conflicts being multidimensional are difficult for an official system to resolve or arbitrate as the relevant department holds very limited or no coordination in between17. Although the scarcity assumption cannot be challenged but many a conflict emerge from official mismanagement or sheer act of injustice. Elite capture of the resource is common. Like big and small landlords or the landed and landless people head-end and tail-end itself has created a divide between the powerful or prosperous and the underprivileged farmers. This divide is sharper in Khanewal and Vehari, where new Chacks were also settled with new canals. In Lodhran the injustice is vivid. Tailend farmers are far more discriminated than settled villages in the Khanewal and Vehari than Lodhran. Most conflicts circle around tampering the size of a moga. An inch here and there can increase or decrease several cusecs of water each turn. Department claims of having a standard size of the mogas while in reality tampering, mostly done by powerful landlords, is very common. Let us say the size of Hyatullah Tareen’s mogas and Khallas in Lodhran are much bigger than the ordinary mogas and kahllas of small farmers.
Tailenders, small farmers and tenants usually try hiding their internal conflicts. Most of them said, “The amount of water they receive is so low that rarely a situation occures to fright over”. However, I could clearly judge from their meaningful smiles and satirical comments that emergence of conflicts is more or less same at every level. In certain cases, it could be less in frequency but never absent.
Altaf Abro and Nafisa Shah (2003) Water and conflict: The case of upper Sindh
At several points the farmers showed me mogas where their size was tampered either by removing its bed-bar – an iron made shaft approved by the department – or by widening the outlet a bit by one or another tactics. Some of the farmers even pump water directly down to their lands in night with a peter pump. Simply, cross a tube or pipe over the pavement and pull water down to your lands. Persuasion and defiance both run side by side in people’s efforts to secure water. In certain cases when department does not take an action to provide water to someone who believes his share is being exploited by someone else. Farmers themselves are tempted to take a retaliatory measures. Contrary to the departmental perceptions of scheduling and control, it is the community arbitration that proves effective in case of distributional conflicts or conflicts emerging from steal. Police comes at the end, in case a conflict turns violent.
Case Study of a Conflict Over Water Theft: Muhammad Farooq a former police officer
and mid-range landlord said, “in my area one of the big landlord (name kept anonymous) put daaf in the minor. I decided to seek my share of water and formed a small committee and requested everyone to cooperate. First of all I got schedule from department with a great difficulty. Pursuing the head draftsman, I succeeded to secure. It was important to know, how much water I am entitled to. My schedule was 8 Cusecs and the landlord was stealing my water too. I questioned the steal and the department had no answer save the excuse of some influence, possible bribe. There was a police case against same person for over the water theft. I got the copy of that too. Actually two rajbahs pass through my area. Now the Senior Engineer is Sheikh Murtaza Khurshid, in his place earlier there was I Iftikhar Bhutta. He was a very nice guy. The SDO Vehari agreed and gave us an appointment. I told him that some people are stealing my water with lift pump and other methods. We are Arayeen, poor and week but once we know that we are deprived of our rights we get it at any case. I removed the trolley from tractor and placed it on road. Traffic was blocked. We planned to set it on fire as a token of protest. Knowing it, SDO and SE got embarrassed. I mobilized around 1500 people in Thinggi, all up in protest. There from we went to the Mumtaz Khan Khicchi’s dera. Two of our nazimeen were there who fled away. “We have our voting interests with your opponents and we cannot fight against them. Deal your case yourself. People grabbed an MPA’s vehicle and even smashed off its windows. I said, in your government the MPA breaks our Moga and steals water. Getting the news, PIDA authorities called secretary irrigation and told him the story. They changed the schedule immediately and agreed to not to give my share back to anyone. I am 45
actually a migrant from Sheilkhpura. Event then I got the local department to remove daafs. Normally the department does not do anything without a bribe. Just in your presence, I can call on the cellphone to an SDO and ask how much will you charge for a Moga. How much? You will know it straight on.
Water Charges, Abyana or Moamla:
Punjab has got the largest irrigation network as well as revenue system and the proportion of recovery. Even then annual revenue falls far short of its’ management expenses. The total recovery hardly approaches one fourth of the maintenance expenses. Department takes responsibility only to repair main canals while outlets and water courses are left to users following the colonial tradition. The loss at the watercourse level is roughly estimated to be no less than half the amount and more than one fourth is lost by the flood irrigation system, uneven fields and poorly designed farms. In all three districts water tax, what local people prefer to call moamla, ranges from less or more Rs.85 to below Rs.135 per acre for six monthly and perennial canals. Per acre tax also varies marginally for rabi or kharif crops. Minor variations are also mentioned by farmers with respect to the amount of commission paid to the numberdar (sirpunch) fluctuating between 15-20%. It is always the numberdar who collects tax for the Department but never considered a formal employee of the department. Farmers almost unanimously agree that water tax is quite low and easily affordable even for poor or small farmers. The issue is of faulty provision, shortage or unavailability. Evading tax what I can readily infer is never a reason for stealing water.
In the opinion of a small farmer Rana Iqbal, “Big landlord’s rarely pay abyana (water tax). Patwaris and Tehsildar only pressurize small farmers, possessing 2, 3 or maximum 10 acres of land including the lessee. Water tax is quite small i.e. Rs. 95 per acre every 6 months both for rabi and khrif season. Yet it is not paid by the rich landlords. I own 75 acres and am moderate comparing others. Those who pay abyana more than 70% of them are small of medium farmers. May be 10 or 20% of the big land lords who own land close to 2000 or more acres of land, might be paying abyana”.
Wherever or whosoever I spoke to, all of the farmers – medium, small or poor – said that moamla was conveniently affordable. Interestingly enough that more or less all the farmers agreed that comparing the benefit they gain from canal water, the charges were either pretty moderate or even low. Some of the farmers said, “We are willing to pay more only if the department provides sufficient water and improves water courses”. This is what they would repeatedly stress. If there is any reluctance, it is because they clearly see a disconnect between O & M expenses and abyana. The revenue, as few of the farmers appear to know, adds up to the provincial revenues and diverted back a little, if at all. Farmers do have an idea that whatever users charges they pay go into bearing the burden of bureaucratic management O & M activities are almost invisible in the area.
Nevertheless they did have some reservations about how or by whom it was collected but none about its amount or affordability. However, they did believe that moamla is never spared. One can be arrested for not paying it. Some of them even expressed sympathy with the collector that he spends perhaps more on his bike’s petrol than he would get the commission from. At times, he has to visit a farmer more than once for the purpose.
The government of Pakistan raised water charges by 25% in all the four provinces back in mid 1990s. Even then it is too low and seldom works as a motivating factor for farmers to use water efficiently. The water revenue that the department collects is utterly insufficient to bear the operation and maintenance (O&M) charges of the system. Marked by inefficiency and waste, agriculture still consumes three-fourth of the fresh water available in the country. Farmers do realize that much of the water is wasted in conveyance. However, they are not seen proactively engaged in its parsimonious use. In Arif Hassan’s views, “infrastructure that costs one rupee in terms of labour and material is delivered by the government in 8 to 10 rupees. Where international consultants and loans are involved costs can go up by additional 40 percent, and where international tenders are involved they may go up by additional 300 percent18.”
Arif Hassan (2003) National water plans and socio-economic realities, Oxford University Press and SDPI, Islamabad.
It is a fact that establishment charges are more than 150 percent of the revenue collected. Less than 35%, if at all is spent on the maintenance services. Whenever budget cut is made, it is made in the area of O & M expense not on huge bureaucracy retained by the system. Irrigation department’s is estimated to be at least more than 50% overstaffed in Punjab while doing less than 50% of the drainage and O & M work19. Therefore, tertiary level infrastructure tiers down rapidly to multiply waste. Ignoring the need for O&M improvement at the farm level, the Government of Punjab is ironically keen on building or rehabilitating mega water infrastructures with billions of dollars loans from International Financial Institutions (IFIs) where Asian Development Bank (ADB) and World Bank (WB) are on the lead. After an objectionable Jinnah Barrage rehabilitation the reconstructions of Jinnah Barrage is in process once again putting the people of Punjab under heavy debt.
Grand schemes and plans, as our technical experts and engineers learn from their universities are borrow from the western world are encouraged by technicians, engineers, contractors and bureaucrats for to serve their lucrative objectives. Community driven, small and environmental friendly techniques are opposed by the powerful bureaucrats, engineers and technicians. Big projects, big corruption, the reason is very simple to understand.
Using the Used Water:
None of the farmers are observed using the used water by industries. Although I could not observe a case but I came to know that very few farmers use it in Khanewal and parts of Vehari but unprocessed. In that case both surface and ground water, already poisoned by pesticides and fertilizers are further poisoned in the area. The issue asks for further investigation.
National Water Policy and Irrigation Water:
Meant to introduce sustainable use of all sources, the proposed National Water Policy 2002, an autonomous corporate body covered by law, realizes the problems and challenges of water sector. Under increasing economic and food needs it acknowledges the problems of shortage,
Mahmood Ahmed (2003): Issues in water policy reform, Oxford University Press and SDPI, Islamabad.
depletion, misuse, theft, contamination, salinity and mismanagement. It does realize the changing notions of water, the need for comprehensive planning, institutional framework and the need for strategic action. Despite certain merits, the policy does not cater the needs for small and the tail-end farmers. The policy does consider integrating drainage with irrigation system.
The policy assumes that within a decade our water need will touch 40 MAF at the farmgate level. Close to 2025 annual yield will rise to 25% hardly catching up the population burst to 220 million. The policy addresses the issues of irrigated agriculture, rural water supply, routine maintenance, water rights, per unit allocation and several other dimensions of distribution and management of water. It also comments on economic and financial management, groundwater, stakeholders’ participation, drainage and reclamation, ecology, quality of water and a couple of other aspects too. It also hints upon changing certain technico-legal promulgations done from 1973 to 1997, if and where needed to make provisions and regulations clearer and comprehensive. It commits to constitute a National Water Council (NWC), National and Provincial Water regulatory Commissions, Area Water Boards (AWBs) and improve PIDA’s competency relegating WAPDA to inter-provincial management alone20.
Despite tall claims NWP vision never took a step ahead of political statements. Irrigation and agriculture virtually work in isolation. The whole thrust of agriculture is laid on how to increase the yield or what to grow and how much to grow in a year at most.
Water intensive crops like Bt are rigorously being encouraged by the Agriculture Department without giving a thought to the provision and availability of water in the system. Communication and integrated planning is almost missing. Irrigation Department, on the other hand, manages water supply as a huge but sophisticated engineering mechanism. To farmers, as it is vivid in the sector, irrigation and agriculture are one and the same. Simply put sustaining agriculture is impossible without a proper irrigation or integrated management and supply of water. Institutional forums to discuss the gaps and fragmentation between multiple water sectors do
Khaleeq Kiani (2004) Permanent water body to settle vital issues: province to have similar management forum, See: http://archives.dawn.com/2004/11/05/top9.htm; South Asia Partnership – Pakistan (2008) Aabi haqooq: Nizam-e-aabpahi mein ghareen dost islahat ki zaroorat (Urdu) and Khaleeq Kiani (2005) Draft water policy placed before cabinet, See: http://archives.dawn.com/2005/05/20/top5.htm
not exist. Multiple stakeholders need to sit, talk and agree over the differences meant to enhance utility and productivity of irrigation water.
Revenue department turns up to be a facilitator for the two - helping both to collect only the revenue – not a partner in O & M planning and implementation. Developing coordination between Irrigation, Agriculture, Water Management, Drainage and Flood Authorities, Livestock Department and National Agricultural Research Council (PARC) is no more than empty claims. Strengthening linkages with International Water Management Institute (IWMI), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and International Food and Agriculture and Development (IFAD) is confined to some funds driven activities.
Along with the existing problems of agriculture and other water sectors the said policy also envisaged needs and options for future in the area of agriculture. Unfortunately, the said road map is yet not materialized. Farmers in the target districts, save in Khanewal tehsil, have even not heard of Water Boards. Similarly Water Users Associations are almost missing. Rudimentary, but farmers Associations are present in Vehari and Khanewal, not in Lodhran. These too are less coordinated, situationally active and not effective in managing supply or resolving conflicts for not being recognized by the Irrigation Department.
Women Farmers and Entitlement to Water:
While interviewing officials, individuals and groups in the field, women’s role in water management, conflicts, contests, claims or complaints is entirely missing. Nevertheless farmers, officials and people associated did acknowledge, and I myself could spot it too, there are few cases where women are entitled to water. Water schedules or warabandis could be identified on a woman’s name if she is the rightful heir or owner of a piece of land. In practice, their role tends to be negligible. Proxy representation comes through a male relative to secure the share of water in her name.
A stereotype argument comes forth on questioning their conspicuous absence. “It is dishonoring for men that a woman should deal with the affairs of water in public. The system is replete with conflicts and complications that a woman cannot handle. Frequenting offices is difficult and 50
shameful for a woman. Right from departmental personnel to neighboring landlords and farmers all are men and women ought not to interact with na-mahrameen (strangers). Islam ordains women to observe parda and stay inside etc”. In nutshell, it is women’s morality that men are custodians to defend”, farmers argue to justify their position. “It is no injustice if women are not active or not acknowledged as water users. They too will face the same injustice as are the men farmers. Does it make any difference to the department, who is entitled to water and who is not? The system will keep operating in a similar manner, even if more women are entitled to water”, reasoned several farmers in response to my question.
Ironically, I observed hundreds of women seedling, weeding, thinning, winnowing and picking onions and cotton in the fields. Groceries and paddies are nursed by women more often than not. Herding and milking is a responsibility almost entirely performed by women, in addition to the household chores wherefrom there is no let up.
“Nevertheless Tehmina Daultana, Natasha Daultana – the sitting MPAs and other powerful women do interact with the department and neighboring landlords, if it is inevitable to secure their interests in terms of canal water,” people of the area explained. Very simple, it is more the operative agency of ‘power’ not of ‘gender’ that set the norms. Women are key stakeholders in the use of water whatever area of operation it is. Their strategic role in agriculture and water sector must be acknowledged. Their participation in policy and practice fora must be enhanced to make the situations gender sensitive.
Water Users Associations (WUAs):
PIDA prides itself of being ‘on the threshold of change. Its Urdu subtitle on its official website invites farmers to ‘step in and efficiently manage the irrigation system. The vision purported by the department says: “Punjab, the largest of the four provinces of Pakistan, is implementing wide ranging reforms under its economic visions and water strategy through improving governance and reforminmg all sectors to improve delivery of public services in association with
private sector. “To provide adequate, equitable and reliable irrigation supplies to the culturable lands of Punjab, aiming of enhanced agricultural productivity”21.
No successful example of Water Users Associations was found in the area. However there are a few examples in the province. WUAs began to be formed in mid 1990s. I hereby quote a case studied by South Asia Partnership Pakistan (SAP-PK) in its book on pro-poor irrigation reforms (2008).
Case Study22: Water Board and Participatory Water Management: Development of
Water Boards (WBs), devolving management and encouraging farmers participation were its’ key purposes. The responsibility of irrigating around 40,000 acres of land was vested with Area Water Board (AWB). Farmers Associations, Provincial Drainage Authority and Agriculture Department constitute the Board. The Board attempts to provide equal representation to the head-end and the tail-end users. Farmers Associations are also responsible to manage a distributary canal too. One moga per associations was assigned. Collecting water taxes, of which 60% is to be paid to the Department is also the Associations responsibility. Farmers can use the rest for the maintenances of water courses. At least 9 members constitute an Association. At least 3 of them should represent the poorest farmers. According to some of the reports the said system worried most of the departmental employees. Some of the department employees are even reported of seeking work from with associations. Big landlords are also told to be opposing the proposed system. In one of the studies that assessed the performance of 75 farmer groups. It was told that in the canal area of Lower Chenab East several groups had almost controlled water theft and raised water tax from 52% to 75%. The big and powerful land lords stopped given abyana as the steal was controlled. But with this system, the farmer groups fined those found guilty of stealing water or not paying abyana which would amount to the 20 times charges of the stolen water. However the system could not spread and was obstructed by the politically influential land lord. The bureaucracy too was not totally supportive of the system.
Punjab Irrigation and Drainage Authority (PIDA) See: http://pida.punjab.gov.pk/
The Case Study has been quoted in South Asia Partnership – Pakistan’s study, Water Rights: The need for pro-poor reforms (2008)
V - Much Needed Reforms in Policy and Practices Arena
Punjab Irrigation Department claims, “A specially designed system is being developed for each channel whereby data about authorized discharge, indented supply, gauge reading, actual releases of every channel will be entered in it on daily basis by each Canal Division. All other related data such as L- Section, number of reaches of each channel, and location, discharges and CCA of off takes/out-lets of each channel, would be linked up with the System in the form of data base. Under this arrangement decision makers/monitoring units, without waiting for the information from field, will have access to essential data through computers, which would enable them to make appropriate decision without delay. This digitized data would be used as a tool for achieving proper management of the canal system, equitable distribution of water to shareholders/Farmers Organizations23”. But on the ground the situations is still the same as we have studied.
Abundance assumption has created number of problems with the use of water, policy formulation and management of water. Supply orientation and recurrent demands from the users as well as departmental reasoning all stress on the shortage of supply not on effective planning or management. Managing demand, saving line losses, minimizing waste and less water intensive cropping is rarely spoken about. The whole orientation needs to be shifted around as no resource is ever abundant to be abused. Mindful of the scarcity and associated problems radical reforms are needed at the branch canals and distributaries in Punjab and
South Punjab in particular. Institutional and policy failure is evident from the above drawn analysis. Low rechargability, inequity and flawed delivery riddled with maneuvering and power play present a disappointing state of irrigation water management on ground.
Water, like any other commodity, is scarce and getting scarcer. Insufficiency, inequity and uncertainty are the strategic issues to be dealt with. The problem of quantity and quality both are a matter of concern. Productivity is rapidly falling. Environmental and ecological balance is fatally affected. Using less to produce more asks for elaborate strategy. Comprehensive planning, management and provision of water is not possible unless concerned departments stop working in isolation. Management and supply of water, as we have seen, is pertained as technical and engineering phenomenon which stands contrary to social and economic reality. Users and rural communities, their attitudes and priorities need to be taken into account while planning and policy formulation.
With changing cropping pattern, from subsistence to profitable business, sprawling populations and food need, feeding the agro-industry compound the problem. Management and sustenance of water, irrigation water in particular, call for a holistic vision for reforms. Broad spectrum of water sector needs to be integrated with far reaching institutional reforms:
Along with the seasonal adjustment, allocation of water is at present is too technical and straight that needs to be revisited and made equitable and socially rational. Irrigation department needs restructuring – including water cess, warabandi, O & M cost and regulatory mechanism to carry out its role in effective manner. A cost-effective, peoplesensitive, eco-friendly and participatory planning and management is a must for optimum utilization of water. Part of the O&M and supervisory responsibilities should be transferred to the farmers associations to shed off burden from public sector. To curb down flood irrigation pattern, small irrigation schemes like check dams, infiltrations galleries, delay action dams, diversion weirs and other frugal methods need to be widely brought into practice.
Tying it up with O&M cost and minimizing waste there lies a potential to gradually increase abyana or water cess. In theory, two approaches are suggested in relation to pricing with efficiency i.e. market efficiency which favours raising revenue as per O&M 54
cost and public authority to be authorized to collect revenue to recover maintenance cost. I will advocate the latter. The first one supports stringent entitlement of using water, even the trading rights given to users. State authority is preserved here but legal or usufructory rights are allotted to users including the right to trade. None of the above arrangement exists in Punjab or any other province. Subject to economic, technical and social test more cost effective and efficient system could be adopted.
On the other count, entirely a market led solution to reduce waste and enhance efficiency may not work. It will not support the small and medium range farmers. Transforming water into a tradable commodity might sweep away poor farmers. Unable to bear the cess, they might sell their lands to the big landlords at throwaway prices and turn into wage labourer. Therefore, alternative and multiple way outs are necessary to mull over.
Salinity Control and Reclamation Projects (SCARP), already practiced successfully in parts of Punjab, need to be extended in southern Punjab, including the districts in hand. To minimize salinity, public tunbewells that are not in fashion have got a discharge rate more than double of the private tubewells. If at all necessary, fractional or more than one cusec tubewells should be installed whose discharge rate is as low as 6lps. Indigenous varieties of seeds and traditional crops need to be reintroduced that need less water and can even survive with a very limited amount of water.
National Drainage Programme (NDP) and Accelerated Water Management (AWM) need to be implemented effectively and efficiently.
Broadly, the technical and engineering solutions are not successful in fulfilling the need and equitable distribution of water. Fulfilling water needs through designs and techniques subservient to engineering standards rarely resolve the problem. Social, economic and ecological preferences must be kept in mind. Conservation, frugal use, and reuse is more important than creating more and more canals or employing new technologies for short term gains.
Large dams, given the massive silt they collect in a couple of decades and serious environmental damages they cause, must stop being considered as a solution to the problem. Therefore alternative, small-scale, sustainable, environment friendly means should be employed to collect, store, use and reuse water for longer periods of time.
Interacting with the people to understand their social and economic preferences is also important. Local knowledge and experience must be incorporated in the irrigation water management and conflict resolution.
There is a need for creating a separate conflict resolution body and policy institution at South Punjab level. Desegregated data for irrigation canals, water-courses, shares and allocations, shortage and supply need to be provided for the area to resolve problems at relatively smaller administrative units to appropriately and timely resolve conflicts and other issues.
Civil society and farmers’ participation in irrigation water supply and management needs to be enhanced. Farmers need to be trained for efficient water use, less water intensive cropping and most importantly efficient and innovative water use methods. Water Users associations need to be empowered. Bio-saline farming be introduced to cultivate salinity affected lands. NGOs intervention, where found, in case of irrigation water supply, is sporadic and unsustainable. An integrated system of managing ground, canal and used water be developed and regulated.
High efficiency irrigation systems such as such as drip, bubbler, sprinkler and community irrigation system need to be widely introduced and encouraged. Along with that agriculture sector needs to be diversified to make best of the available water. Furrow closed and ridge and bed irrigation is also recommended to save water and adjust the supply of water according to needs of a crop. Last but not least media needs to play important role in introducing and encouraging farmers to use water efficient methods and technologies to minimize waste and enhance efficiency. Proper scheduling, if adopted, is likely to reduce water logging and manage soil structure and salinity problems. Farmers conserve moisture and estimate what crop 56
in which type of soil and temperature needs to be grown with what amount of water. Water courses should regularly be cleaned from mud, weeds and herbs to keep the flow of water smooth and efficient.
Arif Hassan (2003) National water plans and socio-economic realities in Kaiser Bangali (2003) The politics of managing water, Ed. Oxfaor University Press and SDPI, Islamabad. Danish Mustafa (2008?) Colonial law, contemporary water issues in Pakistan, Department of Geography, University of South Florida, 140 7th Ave South, St Petersburg, USA, Danish Mustafa (2010) Hydropolitics in Pakistan, USIP, Washington DC, http://www.usip.org/files/resources/SR261%20-%20Hydropolitics_in_Pakistan's%20_Indus_Basin.pdf Irrigation System in Pakistan (2012): http://cms.waterinfo.net.pk/pdf/isp.pdf Mahmood Ahmed (2003): Issues in water policy reforms in Kaiser Bangali (2003) The politics of managing water, Ed. Oxford University Press and SDPI, Islamabad. Punjab Irrigation and Drainage Authority (PIDA) See: http://pida.punjab.gov.pk/ Punjab irrigation and Drainage Aurthority http://pida.punjab.gov.pk/reforms_initiatives.htm (PIDA) On the threshold of change, See: See:
Shahrukh Rafi Khan and Haroon Ayube Khan (2003) Water vision Pakistan, Oxford University Press, Islamabad. Ben Orlove and Steven C. Caton (2010) Water sustainability: Anthropological approaches and prospects, Annual Review of Anthropology 39: Pge. 401–15, New York, U.S.A. Canal System in Pakistan (2012): http://agripoint.blogspot.com/p/canal-system-of-pakistan.html Land Use in Pakistan (2012): http://www.google.com.pk/imgres?imgurl=http://www.tbl.com.pk Mubashir Rizvi (2012) Joy in the Wilderness: Millenial irrigations as gift of colonial infrastructure, Reported in Published In The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2012, See: http://tribune.com.pk/story/400143/re-thinking-canalcolonisation-caste-was-integral-to-canal-colonisation/ UNHC (1999) Substantive issues arising in the implementation of the International covenant on economic, social and cultural rights, See: http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/0/a5458d1d1bbd713fc1256cc400389e94/$FILE/G0340229.pdf
Waqar A. Jehangir and Nazim Ali (2003), Salinity and sustainability of agricultural productivity in irrigated areas, Oxford University Press and SDPI, Islamabad. Khaleeq Kinani (2004) Permanent water body to settle vital issues: province to have similar management forum, See: http://archives.dawn.com/2004/11/05/top9.htm
Khaleeq Kiani (2005) Draft water http://archives.dawn.com/2005/05/20/top5.htm
South Asia Partnership – Pakistan (2008) Aabi haqooq: Nizam-e-aabpahi mein ghareen dost islahat ki zaroorat (Urdu) World Wide Fund for Nature (2006) Better Management Practices for Cotton and Sugarcane, Crop management review: Helping farmers mange their crops in the most appropriate and better way, WWF and Fereoze Sons Pakistan, Lahore.
Annexure - I
Data Collection Plan Before Conducting Research
Focus Group Discussions (FGDs):
The researcher will conduct at least “8” Focus Group Discussions (FGDs), in total, “3” in each of the target areas i.e. Lodhran, Khanewal and Vehari and “1” with the Civil Society Group active or engaged in the water entitlement and agriculture issues and practices. In each focus groups discussion at least 15 to 20 persons will be managed to participate for enriched discussion and better assessment. At least one FGD will be organized exclusively with women in each district. Please see FGD Questionnaire in Annexure – I. Notes of the Questionnaires and where possible or agreed by the correspondent, an audio recording shall also be made of this one and all types and categories of the interviews here-below shall be made.
The Researcher plans to conduct at least “8” individual interviews, government and independent experts inclusive. Interviewing public sector authorities, i.e. SDO and XEN of irrigations department, “1” each at district level, “1” with SE at the divisional level (Multan) and “1” with Secretary Irrigation at provincial level, and “1” each with Assistant Agriculture Engineer, Deputy District Officer, District Officer, Executive District Officer and the last one with Director General if available seem to be important. The interviews will be documented, thrashed and referenced to approach to the issues and proposed solutions. Please see Individual Interview Questionnaire in Annexure- III
Meeting and Discussion with Civil Society Networks:
The researcher will hold open ended interviews (maximum 3) with the select representatives of SAAG, PKI and any other if relevant. These will help him to understand their approach, problem analysis and policy position they have been advocating or recommending for X number of years. This will prove instrumental to get to the adequate policy positions recommended in the
course of action taken during the project implementation as well. Please see Civil Society and Agriculture Network Questionnaire in Annexure .
Quantitative and Qualitative Analyses & Documentation:
To serve the key purpose, the whole data shall be sequenced, assessed and understood to generate a policy discourse around the entitlement issue of water. With an Executive Study and Conclusion, the study will comprise on various parts classifying and correlating the issue and its main findings. Depending on findings, adequate advocacy, lobbying, campaigning strategies and policy recommendations shall be put forth. The said research, will not only set the course the project in the right direction, it will rather orchestrate progress measurement and end-line studies, as incorporated in the project. However, the raison-de-tre and the most strategic use of the project will be to seek improvement in the policies, provision, practices and regulations in the entitlement of irrigation water, favouring the poor, medium and smallholders in particular and improving their livelihood and reducing poverty in general. Institutionalizing, water rights and water entitlements and accountability in this regards shall be the ideal outcome of the whole exercise.
Annexure - II
Focus Group Discussion Questionnaire (Both for Men and Women Farmers)
Note: All the questions will be asked in the local languages i.e. Saraiki and Punjabi or Urdu as it goes convenient to the correspondent 1. What is the water distributions system in your area? 2. Who gets how much share, how and why? 3. What is the range of the land size of the participants of the FGD – a general assessment? 4. What are the key problems of the water distribution ‘system’ in the area? 5. Do you know the law of water distribution and if you do what is the source? Customary knowledge, employees of the Irrigation Department or what? 6. Do you think that the law is perfect and there is a problem with the practice or the law itself is discriminatory? 7. What is the water tax system in the area? Is it fair and if not what is wrong with it? 8. Who gets the larger share of water in the area, more than (he, she or the family) deserves, why and how? 9. What is the role and entitlement of women with respect to distribution, getting and/giving a share of water and water taxation? 10. How can we increase the role of women in the above said areas of water distribution? 11. How can we change the situation? What can be done and how can you succeed?
12. Do you foresee any threats or dangers in case you try to set things right? Anything you would like to share on your own?
Annexure - III
In-depth Individual interview Questionnaire
From the Departmental Representatives: 1. What is your designations and role in the water distribution system in Lodhran, Khanewal or Vehari (Whatever district representative he is)? 2. What official and unofficial (carefully asked) authorities you have in providing, blocking, increasing or decreasing the water share of an individual, village and or a family? 3. Do you have any complaint mechanism of water availability, unavailability, accessibility or inaccessibility and how do you register and address it? 4. Do you think the distributions of water in the said area or to the said groups of people or individual is fair or there is a need for change? If yes what, if not why? 5. Who is who and what is what in the department? (carefully asked while taking the official) in confidence. 6. Eventually who owns water and who is the custodian of water? (artfully asked question) 7. Do women have or need to have an entitlement of water as users, and if not why? 8. Who (which group, family or class of farmers) suffers the most and how can we improve the situation. 9. What is the distribution of authorities between the district, division and the Province? 10. How do you and or the department resolves the conflict between water users, individuals, families or villages? 11. Do you believe that the water is distributed according to the ‘schedule’ written in books or there are certain violations and if it is in the departmental knowledge why an action is not taken (carefully asked question)? 64
12. Would you like to share the water distributions ‘schedules,’ timing, quantity and the period as described by the law? 13. Anything you would like to share on your own?
Annexure – IV
Individual Interviews from Users or any-one else in relation to the Issue
Most of the Questions will remain the same as described in the FGD and the above mentioned individual questionnaire. However some of the questions shall be added according to the role, position or interests of the interviewees. Civil Society and Agriculture Network Questionnaire Note: Part of the Questions shall remain the same as described above with somewhat tilting. However rest of the specific questions are asked here under. 1. What are the key objectives of the network or the association and what connection it has got in or with the improvement of the irrigation water distribution system? 2. What role have you played so far? 3. In your eyes what is the major flaw in the present water distribution system in Punjab? 4. What are the successes and the failures so far? What are the causes and the factors behind? 5. What is your take on the water distribution system in the province and particularly in the target areas? 6. What lobbying tactics do you or have you been using? Could you please count any successes or failures and the reasons behind? 7. Would you like to intervene in the unfair distribution system of water in the target districts and how? 8. Are there any chances of making the water distribution more user and particularly smallholders and small-farmers friendly and how cum?
9. What could be the best lobbying method, who to lobby with and how to make a difference in favour of the rural poor? ***