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Importance Of Irrigation Laws In Maharashtra, India For Irrigation Systems

Congress: 2015
Author(s): Ramchandra Tatwawadi, Milind Waikar

Jawaharlal Darda Institute of Engineering & Technology1, Shri Guru Gobind Singhji Institute of Engineering & Technology2

Keyword(s): Sub-theme 15: Water law,

Irrigation systems also comprises of the socio-legal feature. After fulfilling the technical requirement it is necessary to consider the socio-legal parameters which are helpful for Irrigation water management. Present study tries to highlight possibilities for improvement in performance of irrigation system by considering the socio-legal issues. Laws related to irrigation are important for deciding rights and duties of water users and irrigation service providers. In India there is a federal Government. Irrigation comes under the control of State Government in India. Therefore in the State of Maharashtra there are laws enacted by Maharashtra Government for Irrigation and its management. The most important of these laws is Maharashtra Irrigation Act, 1976 (MIA).
In Maharashtra the irrigation water is provided by Government Department namely Water Resources Department (previously Irrigation Department). The regulation and control over all irrigation projects is under Water Resources Department of Government of Maharashtra. To have proper functioning, the Maharashtra Irrigation Act 1976 was enacted but unfortunately the rules for its execution are not framed. If Act is the soul, rules are the body, it is impossible to implement an Act without rules.
There are several processes in irrigation systems which are forced by the Irrigation Acts. These procedures are almost mandatory to follow for Irrigation water management. Rules for certain Acts gives the procedures and defines the responsibilities, power, rights and duties of all those who are involved in the irrigation process. There may be dilemma among the concern persons if the rules are not known. The basic aim of the present study is to analyze the relation between the process established in the irrigation system and the inapplicability of the same process due to absence of rules or unawareness of the laws.

The study involves identification of the phases in the irrigation system for which different sections are framed in Maharashtra Irrigation Act, 1976. Phases such as fixation of cropping pattern in the command, volumetric supply, utilization of Irrigation water, losses in water supply due to theft or unauthorized exploitation of water through canals etc. are searched and codified. The identified phases are given weitages according to its importance for successful implementation of any irrigation system. A survey is conducted over a sample of persons involved in the irrigation systems and legal departments to understand the reasons for non performance of any process which are legally binding. The reasons such as absence of rules, unawareness about irrigation laws and interlinking among the Acts for the same process are listed. A quantified loss due to these reasons is estimated and necessity for legal reforms is discussed accordingly.

Results and Discussions
Performance of irrigation system can be improved by proper laws and rules. Awareness about the duties and rights of all concern in irrigation system helps for smooth functioning of irrigation process. Social aspects, education, financial status of farmers, and legal actions are integral parts of any irrigation system. In developing countries such as India Law plays an important role for proper irrigation process because Government is owner of the irrigation infrastructure.
The process in water delivery for irrigation which is having key functions are identified and tabulated. Non performance or partially performance of some phases is categorized on the basis of its legal binding. The tentative deviation of actual performance from the desired is estimated.

It is necessary to have rules for a certain Act. In absence of rules the phases or process in irrigation system seems to be unguided. Unawareness about the process, laws, rules, procedures among the persons involved in irrigation system creates failure in operation of irrigation system. Considering the diversity and dynamic nature regarding the performance of irrigation system, the defined process in irrigation must be strictly followed.
It is a typical combination of socio-legal and techno-legal aspect therefore law can be considered as the link between the society and the technical aspect of the irrigation system design and it's working.
For proper utilization and conservation of water more effort in irrigation is needed with the help of legal system. Unawareness about the duties and rights of Canal Officers and farmers lead to collapse of the entire objective of the irrigation process. Infrastructure for irrigation system can be developed by Government but it cannot become successful without the support of society. 1. Barbara V. K. et al (2007) Community-based water law and water resource management reforms in developing countries: rationale, reforms and key messages, CAB International, 1-11.
2. Government of Maharashtra (1976) The Maharashtra irrigation Act, Maharashtra Act No. XXXVIII of 1976, Maharashtra, India.
3. Pai S. (2012) Maha sits on multiple irrigation acts, doesn't bother to frame rules, DNA Special, 01/09/2012.
4. Nairan, V. (2003) Institutions technology and water control, Orient Longman private limited, Hyderabad, India, First Edition, 80-84.
5. Purandare P. (2013) Wanted rule of law, Down to Earth 31/05/2013.
6. Purandare P. (2012a) Canal Irrigation in Maharashtra, Present Status, Dams, Rivers & People, July – August (12), 17-21.
7. Purandare P. (2012b) White Paper on Irrigation in Maharashtra, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers & People, Dec-12, 1-4.
8. Tatwawadi R. S. (2007) Benchmarking for performance evaluation of irrigation systems. Ph. D. Thesis, Civil Eng., Faculty of Eng. & Tech., Swami Ramanand Teerth Marathwada Univ., Nanded 431606, Maharashtra, India.

2011 IWRA - International Water Resources Association - - Admin