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Supporting the Shift from State Water to Community Water: Lessons from a Social Learning Approach to Designing Joint Irrigation Projects in Morocco

Marcel Kuper, Centre de cooperation internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD); Unité mixte de recherche gestion de l'eau, acteurs, usages (UMR G-EAU)
Mathieu Dionnet, Lisode
Ali Hammani, Institut agronomique et vétérinaire Hassan II
Younes Bekkar, Centre de cooperation internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD); Unité mixte de recherche gestion de l'eau, acteurs, usages (UMR G-EAU)
Patrice Garin, Institut de recherche pour l'ingénierie de l'agriculture et de l' environnement (Cemagref); Unité mixte de recherche gestion de l'eau, acteurs, usages (UMR G-EAU)
Bettina Bluemling, Wageningen University

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Abstract

This paper focuses on the evaluation of a participatory approach aimed at supporting groups of small-scale farmers in the design of joint drip irrigation projects. Our idea was to create a sustainable social learning environment in which they could acquire adaptive knowledge about new irrigation technology and about designing and managing a joint irrigation project while at the same time improving their negotiation capacities. We developed a framework to evaluate the process as well as the outputs and outcomes of the use of our approach with four groups of smallholder farmers in the Tadla irrigation scheme in Morocco. Our findings showed that the learning environment made it possible to compensate for the knowledge differential among stakeholders and to co-produce knowledge that can be mobilized by small-scale farmers to help them make better informed decisions when choosing whether or not to engage in a joint irrigation project and when developing and implementing such a project. We expect that this will ultimately contribute to supporting the shift from state water to community water through a shared understanding of the technical, economic, and social issues and options related to the management of irrigation water.

Key words

social learning, drip irrigation, irrigation projects; project management, Morocco; farmers; water supply
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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087