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Local perception of water tanks. A case study in two villages of Tamil Nadu, South India

2008, Society & Natural Resources - número/volum 0 - ISSN: 0894-1920 - Pàgines 0-0 - DOI null

Autors de l'ICTA:
Joan Martínez Alier, Victoria Reyes-García

Tots els autors:
Reyes-García, V., O. Aubriot, P. Ariza, E. Galán, T. Serrano, J Martinez-Alier

Abstract
Based on the analysis of a free-listing exercise and a survey in two villages of Tamil Nadu, India, the paper discusses local perceptions and uses of water tanks, a traditional irrigation infrastructure. We hypothesize that both farmers and non-farmers perceive and use water tanks for purposes other than irrigation. We found that informants recognize the importance of water tanks for irrigation, but also acknowledge other socio-economic uses and ecological functions. Our data also suggest that marginal sectors (i.e., Scheduled Castes) use tank resources in more diverse ways than other sectors of the population. The impact of such findings can be relevant for development, as interventions aiming to devolve water management to local populations can be problematic if they overlook socio-cultural aspects, such as local perceptions and uses of water management systems. International organizations working on the revival of water tanks aim to transfer water management to farmers for the purpose of irrigation. By recognizing that tanks benefit people other than farmers and in ways other than providing irrigation water, organizations working on tank rejuvenation could achieve a more equitable management of tank resources.

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