Community Participation and Irrigation Development: a Case Study from Indonesia
The High Performance Sederhana Irrigation Systems (HPSIS) Project, which is a farmer-oriented pilot project involving 14 sites in Indonesia, was funded jointly by USAID/Jakarta and the Ford Foundation. In this case study, background information is presented on irrigation development in Indonesia, with special attention to the problems faced by government and farmers in conventional small scale irrigation assistance programs; the HPSIS project was designed to address many of these problems. The study provides a detailed description of one of the HPSIS project sites and chronologically presents the project experience - the arrival of community organizers in the village, the preparation of the water user association to participate in discussions regarding system design, and finally the design and implementation process. The difficulties experienced and results achieved are assessed. The study highlights the complex interrelationship between social and technical factors in small scale irrigation development and the barriers to successful implementation of a participatory approach within a conventional government program.