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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:When water is from God: formation of property rights governing communal irrigation furrows in Meru, Tanzania, c. 1890-2011
Author:Hillbom, EllenISNI
Periodical:Journal of Eastern African Studies (ISSN 1753-1063)
Geographic term:Tanzania
property rights
water management
agricultural intensification
agricultural history
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17531055.2012.696891
Abstract:In Meru, Tanzania, local initiatives were instrumental in establishing a gravity irrigation system in the 1890s. The original property rights institutions governing furrows were characterized by de facto communal ownership and management combined with private temporary user rights. Over the last 12 decades farming systems in Meru have experienced changing land/labour ratios, overall technological and institutional change as well as increased demand for irrigation water. The furrow system has been extended and due to general agricultural intensification access to water has become an important precondition for production in the current local system of agricultural production. However, it is argued that in the midst of drastic overall change in the area, irrigation furrows have experienced no significant change in either technology or property rights institutions. It is found that institutional continuity is explained by the natural characteristics of water, property rights embeddedness in socioeconomic structures, and challenges of managing it as a common-pool resource. Bibliogr., ref., sum. [Journal abstract]