• Institutional Strategies for Adaptation to Water Stress in Farmer-Managed Irrigation Systems of Nepal

      Thapa, Bhuwan; Scott, Christopher A.; Univ Arizona (UBIQUITY PRESS, 2019-10-30)
      Institutions governing common-pool resources have survived decades of global change with mixed performance. However, we have limited knowledge on how local institutions cope with and adapt to combined environmental and socio-economic changes. Using the case of 12 farmer-managed irrigation systems (FMIS) in Central and Western Nepal, this paper explores the institutional coping and adaptation mechanisms to water stress. We find that local irrigation institutions manage water stress using diverse and integrated approaches broadly categorized as structural and operational measures. Structural measures include water-source expansion and infrastructure rehabilitation works whereas water re-allocation and drought continency rules are examples of operational measures. We find that integration of structural and operational measures is more prevalent in highly water-stressed irrigation systems than in less stressed ones. The choice of adaptation strategies has direct implications for agricultural productivity. FMIS that implemented structural measures harvested more crops per year than those systems that adopted only operational strategies or no adaptation strategies. However, the marginal benefit of adopting adaptation measures is particularly pronounced in water-stressed systems. Climate variability and change act as a threat multiplier because they compound the existing threats the FMIS face from social and economic changes. The key to effective integration of structural and operational measures that help FMIS to maintain their productivity during water stress are collective action and governance to overcome biophysical limitations.
    • Suspicious Collaborators: How Governments in Polycentric Systems Monitor Behavior and Enforce Public Good Provision Rules Against One Another

      Hanlon, Jeffrey; Olivier, Tomás; Schlager, Edella; Univ Arizona (UBIQUITY PRESS, 2019-10-30)
      Monitoring and enforcement have been recognized as keys for sustainable common pool resource governance. With a couple of notable exceptions, however, scholars have not examined how they are deployed when governments are the primary actors devising such agreements and where multiple public goods are provided for – an important level of governance to understand. We explore the design of monitoring and enforcement safeguards that governments adopt to limit opportunism and support compliance in a complex governing arrangement, the New York City Watersheds Memorandum of Agreement. The agreement defines how New York City and a group of watershed jurisdictions jointly manage a shared natural resource. Furthermore, we test how the design of such safeguards vary depending on the type of public good they cover, illuminating how “federal” safeguards may work at the sub-state level, and, ultimately, the particular form of polycentric governance being used. The results indicate that concerns for water quality as well as potential for opportunistic behavior drive institutional design considerations. Monitoring and sanctioning authority for water quality is dominated by state and federal actors, which hold New York City to account, while watershed jurisdictions are held responsible by regional actors for administration of economic development goods.