Resilience, Community Deliberation and Management of Irrigation Canals in Kara Kulja District, Kyrgyz Republic

Date: 14 August 2012
Location: UCA Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic
Other languages: Русский язык |

Speaker: Mike Igoe
Date: 14 August 2012, 4 pm
Venue: University of Central Asia, 138 Toktogul Street, Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, Conference Room.

This presentation examines the upkeep and restoration of irrigation canals, which present a difficult challenge to communities in rural Kyrgyzstan. Responsibility for management of small, on-farm canals has been divested to local authorities who generally lack the funding and management experience to provide responsive, equitable and sufficient water resource solutions to their constituents. In Southern Kyrgyzstan, a variety of actors have stepped in to fill the management vacuum that Soviet central planning no longer occupies. The result is a collection of interacting visions of good irrigation management and a water resource system that is much more complicated than large-scale governance plans would have us believe.

This lecture presents findings of a research project which sought to better understand how decisions about irrigation canal maintenance and restoration are made, and whose interests those decisions tend to reflect or exclude. Through institutional analysis and qualitative research conducted in three administratively-linked villages, the project has attempted to question the notion that natural resource management institutions can be “designed.” Instead, the system of community irrigation management as practiced reflects a variety of politically-negotiated roles and rules that determine resource access and rights. The intent of this project has been to approach some pragmatic suggestions, regarding the role that nongovernmental organizations,  specifically the Mountain Societies Development Support Programme (MSDSP), might play in supporting resilient and equitable local management decisions within the inherently political process of natural resource governance.

Please RSVP to with your name and affiliation. Please indicate if you require Russian translation.

Mike Igoe is a graduate student in the College of Forestry and Conservation at the University of Montana in the United States. Mike is pursuing a Masters degree in International Conservation and Development, and his research focuses on ethics, community irrigation water management, and climate change adaptation and deliberation. In Kyrgyzstan, Mike has been working as a visiting researcher with the Mountain Societies Development Support Programme (MSDSP KG), supporting climate change adaptation programming and conducting independent research in Kara Kulja District of Osh Oblast. He is currently working as a consultant for the Aga Khan Foundation, on the project “Increasing Community Resilience to Climate Change Impacts in Mountain Areas of Kyrgyzstan.” Mike also works as a freelance journalist and photographer with, specializing in environmental issues.

The presentation will be conducted in English. Russian translation provided upon prior request.