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Assessing the Resurgent Irrigation Development Program of the Philippines – Communal Irrigation Systems Component

dc.contributor.authorRoger A. Luyun Jr.
dc.contributor.authorDulce D. Elazegui
dc.description.abstractThe project aims to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the government's irrigation program with focus on the technical, physical, and institutional aspects of performance of communal irrigation systems (CIS). Cycle 1 involved the assessment of 66 communal irrigation systems (CIS) from 11 provinces in Luzon, while Cycle 2 covered 12 CIS from 4 provinces in the Visayas, and 12 CIS from 4 provinces in Mindanao. Provinces were selected based on the total FUSA served by CIS, while the selection of sample CIS per province were based on size category of service areas: small (50 ha and below), medium (between 50 and 100 ha), and large (above 100 ha). They were then characterized based on water source, type of extraction/ distribution technology (gravity, pump), FUSA, operational status and cropping intensity. Primary and secondary data were collected. Key informant interviews (KII) of the RIO or IMO Managers, as well as other key actors such as NIA-IDOs and the IA President, were conducted using a structured questionnaire. Focus group discussions with IA officers/ members were likewise carried out. Walkthroughs to gauge the physical conditions of the systems were conducted in 2 of the 6 selected CIS from the 11 provinces in Luzon for a total of 22, and in all the 24 CIS selected in Visayas and Mindanao. Majority of the selected CIS are gravity systems except in some provinces where there are more pump irrigation systems. Water sources of the CIS are lakes, rivers, creeks, springs, runoff and ground water. While some rivers tapped have adequate flows for irrigation even during the dry seasons, unreliable water supply is a major problem for majority of the CIS who tap water from less dependable small rivers and creeks, or rely on springs and runoff. In most of the CIS visited, farmers resort to conjunctive use of STWs with their CIS especially during long dry periods. Many CIS where found to be in slope greater that 3%, and as such, it is recommended to include all areas within 8% slope, minus the built-up and other protected areas as potential irrigable areas. The presence of a dependable surface water source and a good shallow aquifer, as well as the soil type and its suitability to different type of crops, should also be used as major criteria for irrigation development. On the problem of water supply sources, there should be a concerted and united effort on the part of concerned government agencies like NWRB, NIA, BSWM, and the academe to identify potential sites for diversion dams and storage reservoirs. The estimation of dependable (low) water supply and flood (high) discharges for rivers is very important. As such, the shelved proposal for the institution of the National Water Resources Management Office under the Office of the President should be revived and reformulated. The institution of Water Resources Centers in selected state colleges and universities (SCUs), who can continuously gather, analyze and manage water resources data would be significant in building hydrologic database. All accumulated water resources data should be housed in a database center within the proposed super body. There are a host of technical problems that confronts the IAs and the performance of their CIS. Most run-of-the-river type dams are old, and some with sediments almost at the crest level. Damaged sluice and intake gates are usually replaced with wooden flashboards, sand bags or stones, and defective lifting mechanisms are either left open or fitted with chain blocks. Sedimentation due to catchment denudation, mining, lahar, among others, is a major problem decreasing dam storage potential and canal carrying capacity. A positive aspect is that most CIS have concrete-lined main canals and laterals, and their conditions depend on the IA O&M and cleanup mechanisms. At any rate, sediment discharge estimation should be a prerequisite in feasibility studies and provision of silt control devices should be included in the design for sediment laden rivers. Control structures include simple cross regulators, check gates, drop structures, division boxes and farm turnouts most of which uses wooden flashboards for water level control. Most service roads are in bad conditions with some dams accessible only by walking or by motorcycles. As in most irrigation systems, flow measurements are not conducted and there are no specific drainage canals at the CIS leading to flooding problems in some systems during the rainy season. Water distribution is usually from paddy to paddy, with few farm ditches contributing to large application losses. Rehabilitation works have been performed through NIA’s technical assistance and mostly done to correct damaged dams and headworks, lining of canals, and dredging of sediments. With the recent availability of low-cost HDPE pipes, the feasibility of using these materials for subsurface conveyance of irrigation to the fields, should be looked into. Most IAs believe that they receive adequate water at the right time though frequent delays and inequitable flow distribution still abound. The IAs also generally rate their systems high in terms of water delivery, flexibility, reliability and equitability, and themselves in terms of water distribution and canal maintenance, indicating the high relative impact of NIA to the farmers. There is no distinct pattern based on size of FUSA on the performance of CIS and functionality of IAs. Crucial is the capacity of each IA to harness its organizational capacity to build human, financial, social capital, thus, the need for continuous capacity building. CIS development remains dependent on government (i.e., NIA) assistance and the planned management transfer to LGUs based on AFMA is rarely implemented, if at all. Problems of sustainability of irrigation infrastructure loom due to persistent environmental problems (watershed degradation, siltation, extreme climate-related events). IAs apparently have none or limited role in watershed management but these can serve as partners in watershed management programs. The role of IDOs is very crucial but even with a heavy workload they are not getting adequate incentives (e.g. security of tenure and other benefits. Most often, IDOs are hired on job order basis with salaries drawn from CIS project budget. All of the IAs interviewed were grateful for the FISA since they are relieved from paying the cost of their CIS. The IAs continued to collect fees from their members for their O&M, referring to them as irrigation management fee (IMF) or association service charge (ASC). However, some IA members are reluctant to pay any fee citing the implementation of FISA. IA’s concerns in O&M and inadequate funds are persistent. FISA declared that O&M cost shall be provided by the national government. Therefore, there should be clear guidelines or provisions on this. FISA maintains the significant role of NIA in providing technical support to IAs and in building IAs’ capacity to sustain their functionality. Thus, linkage between NIA and IAs should be sustained.
dc.publisherPhilippine Institute for Development Studies
dc.titleAssessing the Resurgent Irrigation Development Program of the Philippines – Communal Irrigation Systems Component
dc.typeDiscussion Paper
dc.subject.expertAccess To Water
dc.subject.expertAvailable Water
dc.subject.expertDemand For Water
dc.subject.expertDrinking Water
dc.subject.expertDrinking Water And Sanitation
dc.subject.expertGroundwater Quality
dc.subject.expertManaging Water Resources
dc.subject.expertPublic Sector
dc.subject.expertPublic Sector Projects
dc.subject.expertIrrigation Water
dc.subject.expertIrrigation Water Management
dc.subject.expertPublic Water
dc.subject.expertSurface Water
dc.subject.adbSewage management
dc.subject.adbWaste Disposal
dc.subject.adbSanitation services wastes
dc.subject.adbWater pollutants
dc.subject.adbWater storage
dc.subject.adbInfrastructure projects
dc.subject.adbPublic finance
dc.subject.adbIrrigation development
dc.subject.adbIrrigation systems
dc.subject.adbShared natural resources
dc.subject.adbCatchment areas
dc.subject.naturalDelegation of powers
dc.subject.naturalFederal aid
dc.subject.naturalGovernment aid
dc.subject.naturalIrrigation efficiency
dc.subject.naturalIntegrated water development
dc.subject.naturalFresh water
dc.subject.naturalUnderground water
dc.subject.naturalWater quality management
dc.subject.naturalDrinking water protection
dc.subject.naturalSource water protection
dc.subject.naturalWater harvesting
dc.subject.naturalWater in agriculture
dc.subject.naturalIntegrated water development
dc.subject.naturalResidential water consumption
dc.title.seriesPIDS: Discussion Paper Series
dc.title.volumeNo. 2020-02
dc.contributor.imprintPhilippine Institute for Development Studies
oar.themePublic Sector
oar.adminregionSoutheast Asia Region
oar.authorJr., Roger A. Luyun
oar.authorElazegui, Dulce D.

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