Balinese Subak irrigation system

Resource System
Watershed and associated topography
Resource Units

The rice paddies and irrigation system of this case are near Tihingan village, in the Klungkung district of Bali, Indonesia ‐ 45 km northeast of Denpasar. The original case spans from 1957 to 1959, and it catalogues an action situation involving 455 rice farmers who are members of an organization that regulates irrigation and planting cycles (a subak). The subak system in Bali represents a longstanding tradition for irrigation, dating back to at least the 12th century (some estimates suggest as far back as the 9th century). The data was extracted from a chapter by Geertz (1967) in a book about irrigation systems in South Asia (ed. Coward, 1980), and additional information can be found in Lansing (2007).

The key resources (natural infrastructure) in the system are the watershed and its associated ecology, which includes both land (private) and water (shared). The key resource relevant to the commons dilemma faced by the community is water for irrigation (common-pool). It should be noted that water dictates crop cycles, which are managed to mitigate pests and require coordination of crop fallowing techniques. This case study is part of the original Common-Pool Resource (CPR) database. A summary of the original CPR coding conducted in the 1980s by Edella Schlager and Shui Yan Tang at Indiana University may be found under the CPR tab in the Institutional Analysis section below.