Kheri irrigation system, Sonjo village, Ngorongoro district, Tanzania

Resource System
Watershed and associated topography
Resource Units

The case of Kheri Irrigation takes place in Sonjo village of Kheri and its adjacent farmlands within the Ngorongoro district of the Arusah region in Tanzania. The resource appropriated is water flowing from a stream, three springs, furrows, and sluices that supply water for irrigation and domestic uses. The boundaries of the location are defined by the village settlement and the land owned by the village people. There are a total of 101-200 formally organized appropriator teams.

After Gray's (1963) ethnography of the Sonjo, Potkanski and Adams (1998) conducted a study in same villages. They found that the population growth have led to more intensely contested boundaries and satellite villages attempt to gain access to irrigation water. Water is also less scarce due to government programs (related to structural adjustments programs) attempting to increase the production of water intensive cash crops. Given these disturbances, the local water managers attempted to allocate water use based on a pay-per-use system. This was deemed as unfair by central government, and a Village Chairman was appointed to ensure equitable allocation of water. This decreased the legitimacy of the local water managers, and increased crop failures as scarce water was spread over a larger area of land. Water managers were less able to stop water theft during this time. At the end of the study, the authors state that the traditional system was reinstated to restore a sense of order in the governance system. 

This case 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.