Irrigation and Fisheries: Irreconcilable Conflicts or Potential Synergies? uri icon

abstract

  • In situations of water scarcity, significant conflicts can arise between management of water for irrigation and inland fisheries. This paper considers the principles and lessons that can be drawn from the application of a conflict resolution mechanism-a protocol for participatory impact assessment and management-to a situation of conflict in the dry zone of Sri Lanka. Key features of this protocol are: (i) genuine participation of stakeholders; (ii) integrated assessment and management of impacts of irrigation on fisheries; (iii) management of information and an informed decision-making process; and (iv) adoption of an iterative and learning approach. The two main sources of conflict between fishermen and irrigators in the case investigated arise in the management of reservoir water levels and in the disposal of drainage flows into coastal lagoons. Application of the protocol demonstrated ways to improve information and communication between parties, to reduce conflict and to improve resource management. Consensus for resource management options was found in emphasising the priority needs of the poorest sections of local communities, and in seeking means to improve management of irrigation to the benefit of both farmers and fishermen. Application of the protocol thus identified possible synergies between irrigation and fisheries where previously these activities had been viewed as purely antagonistic. Copyright (C) 2004 John Wiley Sons, Ltd.

publication date

  • 2004
  • 2004
  • 2004