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NATURAL RESOURCES FORUM. 1997; 21(3):161-7.This article offers a framework for developing viable drinking water services and institutional development in developing countries. The framework evolved from the authors' research and field experience in transition and developing economies. Viability is related to operative technology, appropriate organizations, and adequate cost recovery within the context of water resources, human and economic resources, sociocultural conditions, and other constraints. The ability of institutions to solve the problems of coordination and production depends upon player motivation, the complexity of the environment, and the ability of the players to control the environment. Third party enforcement of agreements are essential to reduce gains from opportunism, cheating, and shirking. Empirical research finds that per capita water production costs are 4 times higher in centralized systems and lowest in decentralized systems with coordination from a central party. Three-tiered systems of governments, regulators, and service providers are recommended. Management options must be consumer driven. The worst case scenario is consumer's reliance on vending and reselling with no alternative source of supply. Policies should have a strong focus on institutional reforms in the water sector, the development of a consumer driven water sector, facilitation of appropriate private-public partnerships, sound management of existing capital assets, a system for building viability into national strategies for the water sector, and financially self-sufficient and consumer responsible water supply organizations.
WORLD WATCH. 1993 Jul-Aug; 6(4):19-26.Usual trends in the world have changed direction in the 1990s. We do not yet fully know the consequences of these altered trends. As population continues to grow, basic agricultural and industrial production falls (e.g., 1%/year decline in grain production and 0.6%/year decline in oil production). Moreover, world economic growth has fallen .8% annually in the early 1990s. It is feared that these shifts are not short term as were the instabilities generated during the 1973 increase in oil prices. The shifts in the 1990s are not limited to several national political leaders (e.g., OPEC), but are a result of the collision between swelling human numbers and their needs and the limitations of the earth's natural systems on the other. These limitations include the capacity of seas to produce seafood, of grasslands to yield mutton and beef, of the hydrological cycle to generate fresh water, of crops to use fertilizer, of the atmosphere to absorb carbon dioxide and chlorofluorocarbons, and of people to inhale polluted air, and of forests to resist acid rain. These constraints are forcing the realization that each nation must reduce consumption of the earth's natural resources and implement a population policy. The challenge is for social institutions to quickly check and stabilize population growth without infringing in human rights.
In: Poverty and rural development: planners, peasants and poverty, edited by K. Puttaswamaiah. London, England, Intermediate Technology Publications, 1990. 144-70.Insufficient regular supplies of water prevents increased agricultural production in the dry zone of Sri Lanka, but the possibilities for reducing water consumption to save water in rice field areas are complicated and only moderately optimistic. Sri Lanka's use of tractors as its technology-based solution to cut down on staggering and foster early cultivation was a mistake. Tractorization actually followed traditional buffalo tillage techniques. In addition, necessary institutional reform did not accompany tractorization. 25 years after introduction of mechanization, Sri Lanka addressed the need to improve the performance of institutions in water management and their relations with farmers. One institution reform of water management has been accomplished, the strategy choice for reducing water consumption hinges on the hydrological characteristics of each area, where water is in adequate supply for full drysowing crops and partial cultivation of intermonsoon crops. Variations are tillage on residual moisture and sowing a proportion of the drysowing crop area under nonpaddy crops and either paddy or nonpaddy crops during the intermonsoon period, depending on water availability. Irrigation administrators must be very familiar with delivery systems and committed to managing water to increase crop production. Further, there must be mutual sympathy between irrigation engineers and farmers. In order for appropriate motivation to occur, however, irrigation professionals must recognize the traditional bias towards construction and design and away from water management. Other past problems which must be overcome include poor living conditions in some remote areas leading to professionals being unwilling to work in these areas and widespread high turnover of senior staff. Politicians and irrigation professionals should visit remote schemes more frequently to gain a deeper commitment to water management.