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This paper is a comparative study of the legal framework for water users' associations (WUAs) in six countries -Colombia, India, Mexico, Nepal, the Philippines, and Turkey. The study postulates that, since water is becoming an increasingly scarce resource and irrigation is the single largest user of water, every effort should be made to achieve efficient use of irrigation water. The paper builds on the theory that if farmers participate through WUAs in managing and operating parts of the irrigation system, including collecting water charges, an optimum use of water will result. The legal instruments needed to establish the WUAs are then described. Chapter 1 deals with the enabling law, the law authorizing WUA establishment. Chapter 2 discusses the bylaws bylaws and describes the main issues that the bylaws usually address, showing in a number of areas the different approaches taken by different countries towards the same issue. Chapter 3 examines the transfer agreement, where the irrigation agency agrees to transfer eresponsibilities to te WUA for managing parts of the irrigation system. The chapter also deals with the relationship between the agency and the WUA, and details the issues that the transfer agreement usually addresses. The final chapter argues that the different approaches taken by the six countries is due mainly to the different environment in which each WUA is operating, and to their different experiences in participatory management.

Publisher: World Bank

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