Communal irrigation management, Lari, Colca Valley, Peru

Resource System
Watershed and associated topography
Resource Units
Freshwater for irrigation

This study focuses on water use in irrigation.  The case is characterized by well-defined boundaries: Once water enters an irrigation cluster it comes under the control of the landowners. There is evidence of congruence between appropriation and provision rules and local conditions as water is distributed according to time sequence (p. 57), spatial sequence (p. 58), and crop irrigation sequence (p. 59, 105). The sequence can be adjusted within a irrigation cluster since microclimates, topography and soils may conspire to select for some crops and not others.  Households that possess fields in the area watered by the canal or reservoir must send an adult male to the corvees.  The unspoken social contract rests on reciprocity in the exchange of access to water for participation in communal obligations, the importance of which is contributing labor to the corvees held annually to clean reservoirs and canals.

The original case study authors focused on water scarcity and its influence on institutional performance.  The case study has subsequently been used in comparative analyses regarding Ostrom's Design Principles (see bibliography).