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Promise, Trust and EvolutionManaging the Commons of South Asia$
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Rucha Ghate, Narpat Jodha, and Pranab Mukhopadhyay

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199213832

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199213832.001.0001

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Community Tanks vs Private Wells: Coping Strategies and Sustainability Issues in South India

Community Tanks vs Private Wells: Coping Strategies and Sustainability Issues in South India

Chapter:
(p.283) 12 Community Tanks vs Private Wells: Coping Strategies and Sustainability Issues in South India
Source:
Promise, Trust and Evolution
Author(s):

R. Balasubramanian

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199213832.003.0013

This chapter analyses the main causes of degradation of common pool tank irrigation systems and the interrelationships among poverty, private coping mechanisms, and collective action towards tank management in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Decline of traditional irrigation institutions, population pressure, and the development of private wells have exacerbated the process of tank degradation. Econometric analysis of collective action towards tank management indicates that the increase in private wells has a strong negative effect on collective efforts for tank management. Poor people are more dependent on tanks, and hence, they contribute more towards tank management compared to non-poor households. Group size has a negative impact on cooperation, while the traditional governance structures promote collective action. Wealth inequality is found to have a U-shaped relationship with collective action. The chapter proposes several policy measures to revive and sustain the tanks so as to provide livelihood security to the poor.

Keywords:   irrigation tanks, collective action, coping mechanisms, poverty, common pool resources, South India

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