Monday, September 22, 2008

Water Users Associations - Andhra Pradesh

1. Introduction

The Andhra Pradesh State Irrigation Strategy, since over a decade, has established user empowerment in irrigation management as its central theme, with all aspects of the strategy revolving around it. The need for the reform became essential owing to the following five key factors:
  • The irrigation sector's low performance despite massive investments: Traditionally, the irrigation and drainage sector has been the largest user of development plan funds. In the Eighth Plan (1992/93 to 1996/97), irrigation sector expenditures amounted to Rs 25,000 million, or 24% of the plan expenditure;
  • Infrastructure was in disrepair and irrigated area was declining: From 1991/92 to 1993/94, the gross irrigated area dropped from 4.3 million ha to 3.9 million ha. In 1998, out of 4.8 million ha of net irrigated area created, only 2.8 million ha was actually irrigated.
  • Low agricultural productivity: Growth in productivity has declined in recent years to less than 2% per annum. A major factor has been weak performance of irrigated agriculture. During the 1990s, rice yields averaged only 2.6 t/ha. (see Annex Table A3).
  • Cumulative impact of inadequate maintenance of infrastructure: Expenditure on O&M in 1995/96 was only Rs 99/ha, as against the tenth Finance Commission (1997) recommendation of Rs 300/ha for major and medium irrigation projects. Because of inflation of wages, over 75% of O&M expenditure was spent on wages of personnel, leaving a negligible amount for actual maintenance works. Low maintenance has been compounded by a purely government approach to the sector despite the limited capacity for the government to intervene, especially at the lower levels of the systems, and by an extremely low cost recovery rate. With the three-fold increase in water charges made effective from the 1996/97, for the first time in many years, revenues exceeded O&M expenditures. As O&M expenditures have remained well below requirements, revenues remain inadequate to cover their entire needs. Further, to make up for the cumulative neglect, significant additional expenditure is required to rehabilitate systems.
  • Rehabilitating and sustaining irrigation and enhancing agricultural productivity are of paramount importance: About 40% of the state's gross cropped area is irrigated. The contribution of irrigation to the state’s agricultural production is about 60%.
The new initiatives in irrigation reforms began with a diagnosis of the situation by planners and subsequent issuance of a White Paper on irrigation that outlined the performance of the irrigation sector over the years. This was debated in the Legislative Assembly of the State and the following major actions were taken:
  • Three-fold increase in water charges starting in the 1996/97 rabi season
  • Passing of the Andhra Pradesh Farmers’ Managed Irrigation Systems Act (APFMIS) in 1997
  • Creation of WUAs across the state
  • Commencement of a massive campaign of capacity-building for WUAs
  • Constitution of the Water Charges Review Committee in December 1997
The key objectives of the irrigation reform programme were to improve the sustainability and productivity of irrigation through transfer of irrigation management responsibility and authority to Water Users Associations. The major increase in water charges (traditionally a politically sensitive aspect) required extensive public consultation and agreement by all parties. These steps were acknowledged as only a start of a difficult process that would follow. The state government saw the irrigation reforms programme as only part of a long-term vision for the water resources sector within which irrigation, though important, was only a part. The core elements of the long-term vision are:
  • Democratic Decentralization, Farmer Management, and Financial Autonomy
  • To build local organizations from the WUAs at the minor canal level to federated WUAs at the distributary canal level, and later project (or scheme) level
  • To develop self-financing and autonomous irrigation schemes managed by WUAs
  • To shift the role of government as manager of irrigation systems being a provider of technical assistance to the farmer’s organizations
  • To reorient the role of I&CAD Department staff toward the role of a service provider for WUAs
  • To carry out institutional and financial reforms and capacity-building to create the respective autonomous entities
  • To make the WUAs and the I&CAD Department financially autonomous for revenue generation for O&M
  • To constitute a Water Charges Review Committee (WCRC) and make rehabilitation of systems and upgrading maintenance its responsibility
  • Sustainable Water Resources Management
  • Establishment of a state multi-sectoral water resources board or committee to guide development of actions
  • Development of multi-sectoral river basin plans and environmental management plans to provide guidance for management and future development
  • Continued development of watershed management practices and integrated conjunctive use of surface and groundwater resources
  • Promotion of technologies for greater water use efficiency, with emphasis on irrigation
  • Progressive development of institutional and human resource capabilities in water resources management
  • Public awareness campaign on water resources management issues to foster an environment for change
They therefore encompass two areas:
  • Reforms in authority, management and financing of the state's irrigation systems
  • Progressive development of comprehensive multi-sectoral water resources management
Within this irrigation reforms programme, the experience on Participatory Irrigation Management in Andhra Pradesh can be put into three phases. In the first phase, the state has taken up a pilot programme (in early nineties) on a small scale covering a Minor with a command area of about 1,236 acres (5L of D-64) under Sriramsagar Project. This was followed with a large-scale Pilot Programme, covering a command area of about 49,420 acres, under six different distributaries in Sriramsagar Project during 1995-97.
In the second phase, having gained the experience on the utility and practicability of the Water Users Association (WUA) in the management of irrigation system, the state has scaled up the initiative to the entire state. Two things have happened at this stage. First, an Act was passed to provide policy and legal space for WUAs. Second, WUAs (after elections) were provided with capacities and resources required for PIM. At this point emphasis was given to minimum rehabilitation, as to improve system before WUAs could take over maintenance. Though this was a right measure, it created a mind set that WUAs are there to take up works.
In the third stage, having completed minimum rehabilitation, WUAs are expected to focus on water management, and annual repairs and maintenance. At this point, there was a delay in elections and subsequently elections were held in October 2003. There was no effort to prepare or build a perspective to deal with change management. As a result, WUAs across the state have expressed their dissatisfaction over the financial resource provided to them. There has been gap in terms of capacity building and facilitation by the department during this stage. With the new government taking over reigns in AP in 2004, they started exploring the role for PRIs, etc in PIM.
2. Formation of Farmers’ Organizations
Farmers’ Organization for irrigation management in Andhra Pradesh under the APFMIS Act is envisaged at three different levels for the major irrigation projects. The are Water Users Associations (WUAs) at the minor canal level, Distributary Committees (DCs) at the Distributary level and Project Committee (PCs) at Project level. The structure of the three levels of the farmers’ organizations and their link is shown in the figure below.
A WUA is created by delineating a portion of the command area under an irrigation system at the end of construction of the irrigation project. All land holders (farmers and tenants) within the delineated area constitute the members of the WUA. The area of a WUA is subdivided in order to equitably handle water management, maintenance, and governance. These constitute the Territorial Constituencies within a WUA. Each territorial constituency elects its representative, who together constitutes the Managing Committee of the WUA. The Managing Committee members then elect the WUA President and Vice President from among themselves.
The WUA in a major irrigation project is constituted of 12 Territorial Constituencies and hence the Managing Committee has 12 members. The TC members have a 6 years term with one-third TC members retiring every two years, thereby making the Managing Committee a continuous body. However, the President and the Vice President of the WUA have terms of only 2 years and the Managing Committee elected them after every two years.
The Presidents of the WUA falling within a Distributary constitute the members of the Distributary Committee for that particular Distributary. They then elect the President and Vice President of the DC among themselves. The term of the DC members and the President and Vice President is for two years each. Similarly, the Presidents of the DCs in a Project constitute the members of the Project Committee of an irrigation project. They then elect the President and Vice President of the PC among themselves. The term of the PC members and the President and Vice President is for two years each. However, since the enactment of APFMIS Act in 1997, Project Committees have not been formed even once in the state.
Elections to the WUAs are conducted through a democratic process of secret ballots under the Andhra Pradesh Farmers Management of Irrigation Systems Act, 1997. Detailed rules have been notified under the Act for the delineation, notification and functioning of the WUA. The process of formation of a WUA entails the following steps:
  • The area proposed to be constituted into a WUA is delineated by the irrigation agency, under an irrigation project either in full or in part depending on the irrigation system. While delineating natural and administrative boundaries are preserved as far as possible. Delineation is done on a hydraulic basis.
  • The District Collector of the District in which the WUA is located notifies the proposed WUA in the District Gazette and calls for objections. After hearing the objections a final notification is made in the District Gazette and the WUA is constituted. Along with the WUA a Competent Authority to the WUA is notified by law. The competent authority provides technical advice to the WUA and assists in the technical supervision of the works undertaken by the WUA.
  • The Commissioner CADA is the authority who notifies the process of election to the WUA. The District Collector of the District concerned issues the election notification. The process of election starts with the following sub processes:

    • All the members of a WUA who use water and pay water tax as recorded in the revenue records and who are 18 years and above are the voters of a WUA. Each member has a vote regardless of the extent of his or her land holdings. The electoral rolls are prepared territorial constituency wise listed against each survey number. The voter’s list is then issued village wise.
    • The District Collector issues a schedule for calling for nominations of interested candidates for the post of Managing Committee member of the territorial constituency. A time frame for the scrutiny and withdrawal of nominations is specified in the election schedule and final list of contesting candidates is put up on the notice board.
    • On the specified date, the elections are conducted. Each voter casts his vote. The candidate securing the maximum number of votes is declared the winner. In some cases the elections may be unanimous. The consensus candidate is then declared as the winner. The winner is administered an oath and handed over the election certificate.
    • The elected Managing Committee members then elect the President of the WUA amonh themselves.
    • The WUA notifies a place as its office and the work begins for a period of six years, the tenure of the WUA. However, every two years the term of one third of the members expires, who are then replaced through elections.
    • Where a dispute arises in the election of a member, the aggrieved could redress in the District Civil Court as an election dispute. All the District Civil Courts have been designated as the election tribunals for the purpose of the election disputes.
  • Each WUA has a separate bank account. The President and a member are the signatories to the Bank Account.
The total number of WUAs constituted in the major irrigation projects is given in the table below.
Name of the District
No of WUAs
Total WUAs
Project Wise
Sri Ram Sagar Project - 8
Kadam - 25
Tundra Bhadra Project HLC - 48
Tundra Bhadra Project HLC - 46
KC Canal – 32
East Godavari
Thandava Project - 12
Godavari Delta System - 145
Yelluru Irrigation System - 25
Nagarjuna Sagar Right Canal - 256
Krishna Delta System - 143
Sri Ram Sagar Project - 163
Nagarjuna Sagar Left Canal - 79
Nagarjuna Sagar Left Canal - 101
Krishna Delta System - 207
Tundra Bhadra Project HLC - 6
Tundra Bhadra Project LLC - 58
KC Canal - 55
RDS - 34
PJP - 5
Nagarjuna Sagar Left Canal - 86
Musi Project - 30
Pennar Delta System - 68
Somasilla Project - 24
Sri Ram Sagar Project - 8
Nizam Sagar - 77
Krishna Delta System - 17
Nagarjuna Sagar Right Canal - 148
Ranga Reddy
Vamsadara Project - 54
Narayanapuram Anicut System - 25
Nagavali System - 21
Thandava Project - 16
Nagavali System - 4
Sri Ram Sagar Project - 86
West Godavari
Krishna Delta System - 16
Nagarjuna Sagar Left Canal - 2
Godavari Delta System - 131
At present the elections for most of the WUAs in the major irrigation projects has been conducted and WUAs constituted. However, elections for only about half the DCs have been completed and the DCs constituted.
3. Roles & Responsibilities of Farmers’ Organizations
The primary roles and responsibilities of the various farmers’ organizations as designated in the APFMIS Act are as follows:
Water Users Association (WUA)
Distributory Committee (DC)
Project Committee (PC)
To prepare and implement a warabandi schedule for each irrigation season, consistent with the operational plan, based upon the entitlement area, soil and cropping pattern as approved by the DC, or as the case may be, the PC.
To prepare an operational plan, based upon the entitlement area, soil and cropping pattern at the beginning of each irrigation seasons, consistent with the operation by the PC.
To approve an operational plan based on its entitlement, area, soil, cropping pattern as prepared by the Competent Authority in respect of the entire project area at the beginning of each irrigation seasons.
To prepare a plan for the maintenance of irrigation system in the area of its operation at the end of each crop season and carry out the maintenance work of both distributory system and minor and field drains in its area of operation with the funds of the association from time to time.
To prepare a plan for maintenance of both distributaries and medium drains within its area of operation at the end of each crop seasons and execute the maintenance works with the funds of the Dc from time to time.
To approve a plan for the maintenance of irrigation system including the major drains within its area of operation at the end of each crop season and execute the maintenance works with the funds of the committee from time to time.
To regulate the use of water among the various pipe outlets under its area of operation according to the warabandi schedule of the system.
To regulate the use of water among the various WUAs under its area of operation.
To resolve disputes if any, between the DCs.
To promote economy in the use of water allocated.
To resolve disputes, if any, between the WUAs under its area of operation.
To promote economy in the use of water.
To assist the Revenue Department in the preparation of demand and collection of water rates.
To maintain records and to cause annual audit.
To maintain records and cause annual audit of its accounts.
To monitor flow of water for irrigation.
To monitor the flow of water for irrigation.
To cause regular water budgeting and also the periodical social audit as may be prescribed.
To resolve the disputes, if any, between the members and water users in the area of operation.
To cause regular water budgeting and also the periodical social audit as may be prescribed.
To encourage avenue plantation in its area of operation.
To raise resources.
To encourage avenue plantation in its area of operation.
To encourage modernization of agriculture in its area of operation.
To maintain records and to cause annual audit of its accounts.
To encourage modernization of agriculture in its area of operation.
To encourage avenue plantation on canal bunds and tank bunds by leasing such bunds.
To conduct regular water budgeting and also to conduct periodical social audit, as may be prescribed.
To encourage modernization of agriculture in its area of operation.
To maintain the feeder channels of minor irrigation tanks by the respective WUAs in the manner prescribed.
4. Resources for Farmers’ Organization
To start of the process of PIM in the state the GoAP initiated the Andhra Pradesh Economic Restructuring Project (APERP) (Irrigation Component) with World Bank assistance with a Project Cost of Rs.9622.4 millions. The objectives of the project were as follows:
  • Place the irrigation sector on a sustainable basis through involvement of farmers in irrigation management and effecting the cost recovery
  • Reverse the decline in irrigated area
  • Improve the productivity of irrigated agriculture
  • Strengthened cost recovery for Operation and Maintenance
  • Expansion of effectively irrigated areas in existing systems
The project was basically designed as a WUA support programme. The Farmers’ Organizations themselves undertook the minimum rehabilitation works and O&M works with respect to their irrigation systems. This process enabled the farmers to acquire experience in undertaking maintenance works and also to understand the complexity of operating and maintaining the irrigation system.
The minimum rehabilitation programme of the APERP was executed through the farmers’ organizations. Farmers were exposed to a new working environment – they had to negotiate for machinery at cheaper rates, persuade the village to take up maintenance works and maintain records to enable payment. A “ mobilization advance” was made available for farmers to start the work. Subsequent payments were given on actual taking up of work.
The works taken up by the WUAs during the last 6 years is given below. The total expenditure so far upto the end of March 2004 incurred under APERP is Rs.7697.5 millions. The figures below show the O&M work done and amounts received by WUAs at the state level.

In future, however, the WUA role in operation and maintenance of irrigation system will depend on its ability to generate resources. As per the APFMIS Act, provisions were made to generate revenue for WUA to self manage and achieve financially reliance and sustainability. A closer look at the revenue flows to WUAs indicates, that the major source of revenue is water tax.
To fund the activities of the farmers’ organizations the Government of Andhra Pradesh (GoAP) has notified proportions of the water tax collection that would be shared among the various concerned organizations in the operation and maintenance (O&M) of irrigation projects.

Major Irrigation Project (In INR)
Medium Irrigation Project (In INR)
Minor Irrigation Project (In INR)

Water Tax (INR / Acre)
Share in Tax Collection
Irrigation Department
Water User Association
Distributory Committee
Project Committee
Gram Panchayat
The structure of the farmers’ organization and the process for its formation has undergone change with the amendment of the APFMIS Act in 2002. The present description pertains to the post amendment structure and process.
Therefore a buoyant water tax collection will directly effect the ability of the WUAs to carry out their function of system O&M. However, the water tax figures for the year 2005-06 (for all irrigation projects), given in the table below, belie this situation.
Demand (In INR Million)
Collection (In INR Million)
457.70 (16.0 %)
376.30 (56.7 %)
834.00 (23.7 %)
The table shows that while 56.7 % of the current years water tax has been collected against the demand in 2005-06, in terms of total water tax (previous years arrears + current years demand) the collection is as low as 23.7 %. The water tax demand and collection for the years 1997 to 2006 is given in Table below.
Demand in INR Millions
Collection in INR Millions
% of Collection to Demand
16..01 %
An analysis of the table above shows that right since the inception of PIM in the state in 1997, the level of water tax collection has been too low for any effective resourcing of the WUAs for O&M. This is further complicated by the Revenue Department by taking enormous time to plough back the water tax to WUAs.
There are other issues with reference to fisheries, trees and other resources which can provide revenue to WUAs. All these relate to operational issues and in spite of clear instructions, Gram Panchayats are not permitting WUAs to take control over this revenue.
The WUAs have expressed unequivocally that they need the government support through the necessary administrative orders, sanctions and legal provisions to mobilise the resources out of various interventions centered on the irrigation systems. This has a greater role to play in the minor irrigation context. The clarity should also emerge vis-a-vis the management rights, ownership rights and the usufruct rights among different stakeholders who share the resources. WUAs prefer an open auction which is apprehended by the communities/institutions having customary rights over it. A win-win situation has to be evolved which is possible only by facilitating through a transparent process with clear frame work developed over the property rights. This includes fisheries (some level of clarity is there with legal provisions), trees, bricks, tank bed farming, ground water utilisation and supply of drinking water to towns etc.

Joint Secretary to Government.
Irrigation & Command Area Development Department
Government of Andhra Pradesh - India.
Andhra Pradesh (AP) is the fifth largest state in India with an area of 27.4 million ha. About 40 per cent of the area (10.9 million ha.) is the net cultivated area and around 70 per cent of the population depend on agriculture. So far, irrigation potential both from surface and groundwater sources has been created on over 58 per cent (6.4. million ha.) of the cultivated area. All the surface irrigation sources are public with irrigation system owned and operated mainly by government agencies. These include the major, medium and minor irrigation projects which account for around 65 per cent of the irrigated area. Ground water source which are essentially private, provide irrigation for the balance of the are

Challenges to the Irrigation Sector
The irrigation system presently is being maintained by the government, with very little or no participation of farmers in the maintenance or operation of irrigation schemes. The area under irrigation is shrinking in many of the major (>10,000ha) and medium (>2,000ha) commands which has to be arrested by improving the conveyance and drainage networks. Existing usage of water is inefficient, wasteful, inequitable with tailend deprivation being almost universal. Further, widespread deterioration of infrastructure with little or no participation of farmers has aggravated the low utilization of irrigation commands.
A New Approach to Irrigation Management
The Andhra Pradesh Management of Irrigation systems Act 1997 ( Act 11 of 1997) is one of the most revolutionary legislation made by any government in the country. It is perhaps the first of its kind to be enacted in the country with a view to bring about irrigation management by farmers in all the irrigation systems of the state of Andhra Pradesh, through the participation of farmers who are stakeholders. The Act provides a framework for water users associations to be constituted with well defined jurisdictions role & functions of farmers organizations and the irrigation agency. The Act provides for the following measures:
a) clear water rights to the Farmers Organizations.
b) more efficient, reliable and equitable distribution of the available water through participatory irrigation management.
c) empowerment of farmers and a sense of ownership of the irrigation system
d) assured delivery of water to the organizations.
e) access to information about the availability of water and time of release.
f) improved decision making based on local knowledge
g) greater participation in decisions on the operation and maintenance of the main system.
h) rehabilitation and physical improvement in the irrigation system with the funds provided as a percentage of the water rates collected.
i) better quality of works at much lower rates. Elimination of contractors for smaller works. Farmers to do works on conditions decided by the associations.
j) freedom of cropping pattern within the limits of the allocated water.
k) resolution of conflicts by the farmers organizations themselves.
l) irrigation staff to be made accountable to the Farmers Organizations. They are to implement the decisions taken by the farmers organizations.
m) Help department in concentrating on the better maintenance of the system besides concentrating on other unfinished projects and bring new areas under irrigation.

1. The Act is applicable to all the irrigation schemes major, medium, and minor, except those schemes which are vested under the Panchayat Raj (local government) institutions and all minor water bodies in the Scheduled (socially dis-advantaged) Areas of Andhra Pradesh.
2. Every irrigation project would be divided into convenient areas of operations of the project level committee at the project level, the distributory committee at the distributory level and the water user associations at the primary level. The delineation of the areas of operation would be done on a hydraulic basis.
All the District Collectors who are the head of the district administration have identified the irrigation systems in their respective districts and delineated the jurisdiction of water user associations command wise. With a view to ensure equity, the jurisdiction of the water user association has been subdivided into territorial constituencies ranging from 4-10. The following is the status:
Planned Number of Water Users' Associations (WUAs) - Andhra Pradesh (1997)
Category of the Irrigation Project
No. of Water User Associations
No. of Territorial Constituencies.
Major Irrigation projects.
Medium Irrigation projects
Minor Irrigation Schemes

Administration of the WUAs:
Very detailed regulations have been drawn up regarding elections of officers and the administration and operation of the WUAs. These regulations include the following provisions:
a) all the members within the jurisdiction of the water user association shall elect a president.
b) all the members within the territorial constituency of a WUA shall elect a member of the managing committee.
c) elections to the President and members of the managing committee of the farmers organization shall be conducted by the District Collector under the overall supervision of the Commissioner CADA who is the Election Authority for the purpose.
d) elections shall be by secret ballot. District Collectors shall notify polling stations for the purpose of conducting elections through election personnel appointed for the purpose.
e) voters list shall be prepared and published by the District Collector. All members who are landholders within the notified area of an irrigation system as per the record of rights shall be the members with voting rights. A person who is above 18 years of age on the date of the notification is eligible to vote.
f) only members with voting rights can contest for the post of president and member managing committee of a WUA.
g) regardless of the landholding a person shall have one vote for a WUA.
h) where a person has land in more than one territorial constituency of a WUA, he shall exercise his option in form E to be treated as a voter in one constituency only.
i) where a person has land in different WUA’s he shall a vote in that WUA.
j) Government has decided to sanction Rs. 50,000/- in the form of works- in case where the post of president and members of the managing committee are unanimously elected.
k) In the case of the distributory committee, all the presidents of the WUAs within the jurisdiction of the distributory committee shall elect a president and member of the managing committee, not exceeding five members. The date shall be notified by the Collector.
l) Recall of members: The president or the members of a managing committee or the managing committee may be recalled on the request by 1/3 rd of the voters and voting by a simple majority of the members present.
Other novel features:
a. Recall of the President and the members of the managing committee after one year.
b. Water management, operation & maintenance by the farmers organizations
c. Social auditing and water budgeting.
d. Audit of accounts by a chartered accountant.
e. Filling up of casual vacancy shall be filled.
f. Penalties & settlement of disputes among the farmers organizations themselves.
Challenges Ahead
1. The state government proposes to launch a massive human resource development program for the elected representatives and irrigation agency personnel to help them run the water users associations. Training would be a continuous process for skill upgradation.
2. It is proposed to undertake a joint inspection of the irrigation system with the irrigation agency and the water user association to undertake system diagnosis and prioritize the rehabilitation strategy of the irrigation system.
3. The Water and Land Management Training Institute would be fully involved in undertaking the task of training elected representatives and the agency staff.
4. Monitoring and evaluation of the program.

State Level Farmers Workshop

First State Level Farmers’ workshop at Hyderabad.
As mentioned in the tour plan, the State level farmer’s workshop ‘Water and Farmer’ was held on 8th April 04, at WALAMTARI, Hyderabad. The workshop was jointly organized by two organizations namely JalaSpandana and WALAMTARI by sharing the cost and responsibilities in arranging the logistics required for the workshop. Farmers from various districts of Andhra Pradesh, Director General and other officers of WALAMTARI participated in the meeting. Mr. Raymond Peter, ED INPIM presided the inauguration session. Mr. Srinivasulu Barigela was the compeer of the workshop.
Business Session
Mr. Srinivasulu Barigela, facilitator, JalaSpandana, facilitated the paper presentations, discussions and prepared minutes of the meeting. The brief outline of the papers and introduction about the speakers was useful as the participants were from various districts were not aware of the details of the speakers. Moreover, the exercise of farmers presenting their findings and discussing among themselves is felt a new experience by the farmers.
1. ‘Irrigation policy and Implementation present scenario in Andhra Pradesh’ by Mr. G. Seetha Ram Reddy, Mahabub Nagar.
2. ‘Water management system and Water Users Associations’ by Mr. C. Goutama Raju, (President, WUA, and Former DC President), West Godavari.
3. ‘The role of farmers’ organization in water sector in Andhra Pradesh’ by Mr. Ch. Kishan Reddy, WUA President and former DC Chairman, Karim Nagar.
4. ‘The importance and necessity of the Newsletter in water management and agriculture’ by Mr. R. Doraiswamy.

The major outcomes of the workshop is to form the State level farmers organization for water management in Andhra Pradesh and publish the bilingual quarterly newsletter in Telugu and English.

Second State level workshop in Andhra Pradesh

The second State level workshop on water management was designed with consultation of farmers, concerned Ministers and department officials. The objective of the workshop is to focus on Water Policy in the State, with special attention to PIM policy. The methodology of the workshop is to have preparatory meetings of farmers on various issues related to water listed below and prepare a presentation before the concerned Ministers during the workshop.

Water Resources and Farmers Workshop

The state level farmers’ workshop ‘Water Resources and Farmers’ was held on August 31, 2004 at WALAMTARI, Hyderabad. Mr. Ponnala Laxmaiah, Hon’ble Minister for Major Irrigation GOAP participated in the workshop as chief guest. Farmers from across the state, department officials and Media personnel took part in the workshop.
Mr. Ponnala Laxmaiah along with farmers inaugurated the workshop through lighting of the lamp. Mr. Cholleti KishanReddy presided the inauguration.
Mr. A. Ramaswamy, President JalaSpandana, Mr. AllaVenkatagopalaKrishna Rao, Mr. G. Seetharami Reddy, Mr. Chekuri GoutamaRaju, Mr. ChanchuUshanna, Mr. K.V. SuryanarayanaRaju, Mr. V. Bhavaniprasad, Mrs. M. Parvathamma and Mr. R. Doraiswamy spoke about the genesis of Andhra Pradesh JalaSpandana, APFMIS Act 1997 and its subsequent amendments, status of WUAs, tanks systems including fisheries, need for farmers participation in water management, role of women in WUAs, main system management, water conflicts at various levels emphasizing inter-project level, increasing stress on water due to inter-sector, WUAs and Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRIs) and within the sector from stakeholders. They presented the findings of the preparatory meetings over issues mentioned above and appealed to Hon’ble Minister Mr. Ponnala Laxmaiah to take necessary actions on the same.

Excerpts from Minister’s Speech

Mr. Ponnala Laxmaiah garu, in his speech, welcomed and appreciated the attempt made by JalaSpandana and APJS in organizing this workshop to discuss the problems of farmers and WUAs and suggest appropriate measures for the government to act upon. This attempt being a noble one, today we have started it and I foresee that these organizations take up issues related to farmers and water on a continuous basis in coming days to find solutions for the redressal of water problems. The decisions taken at the end of today’s workshop and the role of Government and WUAs in implementing these decisions are expected out of this workshop. This government is always open for farmers’ welfare and will consider the plights, problems and pleas of the farmers.
In this society, farmers are facing lot of problems related to agriculture for last fifteen years due to the negligence of the governments. There is lot of gap between production and distribution. For instance, the growth rate of our country is 6 percent of which agriculture growth rate is 3 per cent and Andhra Pradesh growth rate has declined to 1.3 percent. In India, 70 percent of the people dependent on agriculture are producing 24 percent, where as 30 percent of the population dependent up on non-agriculture activities are producing 76 percent. I am saying this because; there is negligence on agriculture. We need to give priority to large sector by deep thinking to find out the problems and solutions to over come these problems. The water disputes between the regions in the State are increasing and there are agitations all over for water. In major irrigation project, tail ender’s are not getting water for irrigation and drinking purposes.
We recently met Government of Karnataka and requested for our share of water. They suggest modernization of canals with the huge investments and we said, as it is you are not releasing water, after spending huge amount what is the guarantee we will get water for which there was no response from them said Minister. So we need to decide and act upon the water management issues with in the legal framework. Farmers’ organizations, farmers’ leaders and farmers should come together discuss these issues with the government.
We need to contemplate on the way we are utilizing water under major irrigation projects? We are cultivating paddy crops in places that are designed for ID crops.
Minister shared his experience from his recent trip to Austria and Israel. He said these two countries look like Ananthapur district, but there is not a single inch of land left empty. Farmers in these countries practice Micro and Sprinkler Irrigation even for ID crops like Wheat, Maize and sunflower.
In some parts of state, the ground water aquifer has fallen from 15 to 25 mtrs. If we do not follow effective water management practices, there is no use of constructing n number of irrigation projects.
Finally I would like to say that I would fully respond and cooperate positively to your problems, your thinking and the suggestions you make. Thank you all.

Workshop Resolutions:

Farmers discussed all through the day and passed following resolutions that was submitted to Concerned Ministers like Ministers for Major and Medium, Minor, Forest, Revenue, and top bureaucracy in the government. The action taken by the Government of Andhra Pradesh on PIM is given in the following section.

The Outcome of the workshop

The resolutions passed in State level farmers’ workshop after daylong deliberations given below were submitted to Government of Andhra Pradesh.

Issues and Resolutions at the State level Farmers' Workshop
Issues Resolutions
1. Structure of Farmers Organisation
WUA area WUAs to be formed on Hydraulic basis, not by ayacut
Structure Present Rajyasabha type of election to be abolished –
Old pattern to be restored
Distributary Committee There shall be Distributory Committees as it is in the 1997 Act
Project Committee There shall be project committees as it is in the 1997 Act
Disputes within the projects to be finalized by Project Committees.
Apex Committee Apex Committee shall be as it is in the present Act
All Project Committee Chairmen shall be the members
of the Apex Committee.
Inter project disputes shall be solved by the Apex committee
Sub-Committees There shall be two sub committees for all Major,
Medium and Minor Irrigation
Works and water regulation sub committee
Finance and training sub committee
2. Finances - Management
Competent Authority There shall be an additional Competent Authority on Revenue side preferably the Revenue Secretary for collection of Revenue in Farmers Organization.
Revenue shall be collected by Competent Authority (Revenue).
The Competent Authority of Engineering, Agriculture and Revenue shall attend the FO meetings.
Funds For major works the Government should give funds to Farmers Organizations
Plough back amount in Revenue collection shall be as it is for WUA, DC and PC
For every 3 months, plough back amount credited to WUA account.
Fisheries Auction shall be done by WUAs only by open auction and the share shall be as at present.
All bills in WUAs shall be paid directly – No PAO system.
Joint Account Joint Account with Vice President as it is can be continued
Audit Social audit shall be as it is in the present Act
3. WUA - Administration
Office Maintenance For office expenditures to FOs, Government shall provide lump sum amount year wise as was done earlier
Records Government shall supply uniform records and stationary to WUAs in all over state
Lascars Lascars in the department at present shall under WUA control.
Where there are no Lascars, General Body shall appoint Lascars on contract basis.
Recall Recall shall be removed
Encroachments The General Body shall have power to remove all encroachments
4. WUA Works
Works All original works by tender system by department.
All other works shall be entrusted to Farmers Organizations only.
Only works sub-committee shall do quality control and it shall be final.
Taxes No deduction of income tax and sales tax etc.,
Estimates Estimates, bills shall be prepared by Department at the earliest without any delay subject to available time
5. Water regulation
Water regulation Distribution of water by PC/DC according to availability of water in the source.
Unauthorized pipes General Body shall have powers to remove unauthorized pipes, and closing all breaches etc.
Vice President’s Responsibility Vice President shall be Convener for water management sub committees.
Vice President shall implement compulsory all the decisions taken by managing committee on water management.
6. Elections
Dual posts Office bearers of Farmers Organisations can contest in Panchayat Raj Institution without resigning. After election, they shall resign for one post as in Panchayat Raj (No. Dual posts there after).
President Direct Election for President post
TC members TC members also by direct election
TCs strength (12/6) at present can continue
Elections Elections for 9 Districts by direct elections can be converted into proposed/changed type
Elections for 13 districts can be converted
Vice President Vice President by indirect election from TC (12/5 TCs).
Tenure Tenure of Farmers Organization shall be 5 years
7. Others
Decentralization of Irrigation Administration Decentralization of Irrigation Administration is necessary.
For every Major Project, there shall be a Project Engineer and shall be located at Project head quarters itself
There shall be a one Regional Chief Engineer in all 6 zones of state and shall be located at 6 zones. They will be in charge of all Medium and Minor Irrigation projects in that zone and will be available for FOs in that zone.
Interference of PR bodies There shall not be any mutual interference of Gram Panchayat on WUAs and vice-versa and each should be independent
Representation in Legislative Council FOs shall be represented in A.P. Legislative Council also as is done in the case of Local Bodies
Water pollution Farmers Organisations shall have powers to arrest water pollution of tanks and other water bodies and resources.
Women's role Cooption of lady members by General Body (i.e.) 2 members for Major and Medium and 1 member for Minor Irrigation.
General There shall be interlinking of rivers and its basins within Andhra Pradesh.
All water conservation structures like check dams, watersheds etc., shall not affect the existing.
For inter-states water issues, FOs shall be consulted.

WUA Legislation Country Profiles: INDIA
(State of Andhra Pradesh)

Constitutional framework. India is a federal state; the management of water is a
responsibility of state Governments. The analysis below refers to the state of Andhra Pradesh.
1. Name of organization
The generic term used by the law (see references below) is “farmers’ organization”. There are
three different layers of organizations: Water Users’ Associations (WUA) at the minor canal
(or “primary”) level, Distributory Committees at the secondary canal level and Project
Committees at the project or main system level. This analysis focuses on WUAs, the other
organizations are presented incidentally.
2. Purpose
The law spells out the objectives of WUAs, as well as of farmers’ organizations in general: to
promote and secure distribution of water among its users, to provide adequate maintenance of
the irrigation system, to ensure efficient and economical utilisation of water to optimise
agricultural production, to protect the environment and to ensure ecological balance.
3. Legal status and capacity
WUAs are bodies corporate, can enter into contracts, sue and be sued.
4. Establishment
WUAs are established following a decision by the Government to delineate a command area
to be a water users’ service area. There are no provisions on the procedure for establishment
of WUAs.
5. Membership
See 5.1
5.1 Eligibility criteria
All landholders, whether owners or tenants, in the command area designated by the
Government. Where the tenant is the land user, it is the tenant who is eligible for
membership. All water users in the service area of the WUA can be co-opted as members.
5.2 Rights and Duties of members
No specific provision
6. Internal structure
The general Body or Assembly is composed of all members of the WUA.
The Management Committee is the executive body of the WUA, which is elected by the
WUA’s members in compliance with the arrangements prescribed by the Government. It
consists of one member elected by each of the Territorial Constituencies (or area sub-units) of
Internatiionall E-maiill Conference on
Irriigatiion Management Transfer
JJune – Octtoberr 2001
the WUA. The Government regulates procedures for the election of the President of the
Management Committee. The President and the members of the Committee are elected for
five years.
The law spells out reasons for disqualification of candidates to the presidency of WUAs or to
the Management Committee of any WUA. It also specifies justifications to remove officers
from office.
7. Functions, Powers and Rights
7.1 Functions
Delivery of irrigation water and operation and maintenance of canals
Dispute settlement WUAs are responsible for settling disputes among their members and nonmember
water users in their area of operation. The law prescribes that disputes shall be
disposed of within fifteen days from the date of reference.
Others WUAs are responsible for the preparation and implementation of schedules for each
irrigation season; for assisting the Government in setting and collecting water rates, for
maintaining a register of landholders and an inventory of the irrigation system, for promoting
efficiency in the use of water allocated and for maintaining accounts and having these audited
WUAs must abide by the decisions of the Distributory and Project Committees.
7.2 Powers
Levying and collection of assessments The law authorises WUAs, as well as other farmers’
organizations, to levy and collect charges from their members, and from non-members, for the
services provided.
Imposition of fines No specific provision.
7.3 Rights
Water rights No specific provision.
Rights in the infrastructure No specific provision.
Rights of way No specific provision.
8. Financing
Sources of income The law lists the resources of WUAs which include: grants received from
the Government as a share of the “water tax” collected in the area of operation of the WUA;
funds that may be granted by the State or Central Government for the development of the area
of operation; resources raised from any financing agency; income from the properties and
assets attached to the irrigation system in its area of operation and charges collected from
members and non-members for the services provided. WUAs can obtain loans.
9. Government role
The Government may form new WUAs by separating the area from any other FO; it can also
increase, diminish or alter the boundaries of the area of operation of a WUA.
If any difficulty arises as to the constitution or reconstitution of any WUA (or other farmers’
organizations), the Government must do anything necessary to remove the difficulty.
The Government can issue directions to WUAs (or other farmers’ organizations) for their
effective functioning.
On its own initiative or on the basis of an application, under the circumstances spelled out in
the law, the Government may remove members of the Managing Committee or the President.
The Government may appoint an officer to oversee the implementation of decisions taken by
The Government, on its own initiative or on the basis of an application, can examine the
records of any WUA to verify their correctness and compliance with applicable legislation. In
case the records show that any decision of the WUA should be modified, reversed or
annulled, the Government shall pass orders accordingly.
The Government regulates the procedures for the election of members and Presidents of the
Managing Committees of WUAs (and of other farmers’ organizations) and can postpone an
election when it deems fit.
The Governments reserves the power to regulate matters in relation to WUAs.
10. Dissolution
No specific provision.
11. Federation of Associations
The law establishes a multi-layered system, as follows:
Name. Distributory committees, at the secondary canal level.
Establishment On Government initiative.
Purpose and Functions Main purpose is the coordination of the activities of WUAs. Functions
of the Distributory Committee include preparation of plans for the maintenance of
distributories and medium-size drains in their area of operation, regulation of the use of water
among the various WUAs in its area of operation, solving of disputes among member WUAs,
maintaining a register of WUAs in its area of operation and an inventory of the irrigation
infrastructure within its service area. Distributory Committees must abide by the decisions of
the Project Committee.
Membership Open to all WUAs in the area declared by the Government to be within the
service are of the Distributory Committee.
Internal structure. General Body composed of the Presidents of all member WUAs. Managing
Committee composed of no more than five members and a President elected by the members
of the General Body from among themselves. The term of office of the members and
president of the Managing Committee shall be co-terminous with the term of the General
Body of the WUA.
Name. Project Committees, at the project level.
Establishment On Government initiative.
Purpose and Functions. Main purpose is the coordination of activities of Distributory
Committees. Functions of Project Committees include approving an operational plan for the
entire project area, approving a plan for the maintenance of the irrigation system in their area
of operation, maintaining a list of Distributory Committees and WUAs in their area of
operation, solving of disputes among Distributory Committees, maintaining accounts and
having these audited annually.
Membership. Open to all Distributory Committees in the area declared by the Government as
a project area.
Internal structure. General Body composed of the Presidents of all member Distributory
Committees. Managing Committee, composed of no more than nine members and a President
elected by the members of the General Body from among themselves, in compliance with
directions given by the Government. The term of office of the members and President of the
Managing Committee shall be co-terminous with the term of the General Body of the
distributory committee.
Andhra Pradesh Farmers Management of Irrigation Systems Act (Act No. 11 of 1997) – 7
April 1997, including amendments introduced under Bill No. 32 of 1998. Available in the
FAOLEX database at URL
Oblitas, K. and Peter, R., Transferring Irrigation Management to Farmers in Andhra
Pradesh, India World Bank Technical Paper 449, The World Bank: Washington D.C., 1999.

Irrigation Reforms in Andhra Pradesh

CVSK Sarma , Secretary Irrigation, GOAP
J. Raymond Peter, ED, INPIM
5th March, Water Week
The World Bank, Washington DC
Andhra Pradesh
Area 0.275 m. Km2
population (2001) 75.7 millions
Density of population 275 / Km2
Rural Population 72.92% (Agril)
Urban population 27.08%
GSDP growth rate 6.75%/ 5.20%
Per Capita Income Growth
5.70%/ 3.60%
Average landholding (IA) 0.88ha
Total irrigated area 4.84m.ha
Ground water 2.1 m.ha pvt.
Andhra Pradesh – Vision
Simple, Moral, Accountable, Responsive,
Transparent(SMART) Govt.
Committed to eradicate within a time frame
Process of economic liberalization
* Reforms through Stake holders participation in natural
resources management
* Articulated the Vision 2020 – identified 14 growth
Irrigation Reforms - Highlights
* The first Legislation of its kind
in India.
* A unique legislation for farmers
* Seeks to bring about Irrigation
Management Transfer.
* Brings greater accountability in
the irrigation department.
* Competent Authority
* WUA’s - Administrative,
functional ,financial Autonomy
* Hydraulic basis, 5 years tenure,
recall, elections, detailed rules
* Conflict resolution
* Resources of the FO
Major Medium Minor
Major Medium Minor
WUAs. Sector wise.
Irrigation Potential
Major Medium Minor
Activities of WUAs
Ø Walk-through Surveys for diagnosis of irrigation systems
Ø General Body meetings & MC meetings
Ø Cropping pattern
Ø Water Management & water budgeting
Ø Resolving disputes among farmers
Ø Joint Azmoish for water tax collection
Ø O & M works with collective participation
Ø Maintenance of Accounts
Ø Financial & Social Auditing
Ø Training & motivation
Achievements in PIM
n Bridging gap ayacut (10.076 lakh ha)
n Timely supply of water-early transplantation
n Increase in yield (10%)
n Works execution at estimated cost by WUAs eliminating contractors -reduction in cost by
n Resolution of disputes
n Improved drainage & execution of minor drains
n Capacity building
n Administrative reforms
n Merging irrigation and drainage wings
n Merging construction, O&M and CADA wings
n Rationalize staff distribution
n Closure of mechanical units
n Direct Contracting procedures
Evaluation Parameters
§No. of General Body Meetings held
§ Maintenance of Records
§ Conduct of Joint Azmoish
§ Increase in Irrigated Area
§ Water Utilisation
§ Development Works
§ Water Tax Demand-Collection.
§Development Expenditure
§ Auditing of accounts and General Body approval
§ Training Programmes
Major Projects
Status of General Body Meetings conducted by WUAs
Medium Projects
State Wide
No Meetings
One Meeting
2 and Above
State Wide = 1669
Major = 1332
Medium = 337
(17 %)
(76.5 %)
(20 %)
(75 %)
Maintenance of Registers Maintenance of Registers
State Wide
1536 1503 1547 1358 1257
No. of WUAs
Major Projects
1258 1227 1253
1110 1062
No. of WUAs
Medium Projects
278 276 294 248 195
No. of WUAs
State Wide = 1669
Major = 1332
Medium = 337
92 % 90 % 93 % 81 % 75 %
94 % 92 % 94 % 83 % 80 %
82 % 82 % 87 % 74 % 58 %
AS = Admn. Sanctions
TS = Tech. Sanctions
C = Cash
B = Bills
CHQ = Cheques
Major Projects
Medium Projects
State Wide
Joint Azmoish conducted with Revenue Dept Joint Azmoish conducted with Revenue Dept.
State Wide = 1669
Major = 1332
Medium = 337
(78 %)
Major Projects
Medium Projects
State Wide
WUAs reported increase or consistency in Ayacut WUAs reported increase or consistency in Ayacut
State Wide = 1669
Major = 1332
Medium = 337
Development works completed Development works completed
State Wide
37 103
No. of WUAs
Above 90% 70 - 90% 50 - 70% Below 50%
Major Projects
34 57
No. of WUAs
Medium Projects
No. of WUAs
State Wide = 1669
Major = 1332
Medium = 337
77 % 3% 4 % 16%
73 % 2 % 6 % 19 %
56 % 1 % 14 % 29 %
Amendments to the APFMIS Act
n WUA’s to be made a continuous body with 1/3 members retiring every
two years
n Extending WUAs to all areas including new constructions
n Minimize monopoly by the Presidents of WUAs
n Tenure two years from the date of election
n Indirect election to the President from amongst TC members
n Increasing the number of TC members to 6 in Minor and 12 in Major
n Greater clarity in areas hitherto ambiguous
n Recall powers vested with the competent authority
n Arising vacancies to be filled up locally from amongst the members
n Greater clarity of roles for the ID at different levels.
n Simplification of procedures
n Elections
n Filling up of vacancies localized
n subcommittees
Farmers (Land holders)
Structural Changes in WUAs
WUA Setup Existing New WUA Setup
4 to 10 TCs
GB of
President TCs Elect + -
MC of
President Vice
MC of
Elects Elects
President Vice
MC of
TC8 ……………TC14
Elects PC
President GB of
cts DC Max 4+1
Min 1+1
Elects Max
8+1 Min
10+1 Min
TC6 TC7 TC8 TC9 TC10
Farmers (Land holders)
GB of PC
MC of
Emerging issues
n Policy and Management
n Changing practices (incentives)
n Changing Technology
n Economic Development
n Scale Issues (individual, community, region
state, national, international)
n Regulations (Water-quality standards,
waste treatment and disposal, water
abstraction, water use)
n Holistic view towards water.
n Stakeholders driven planning.
n Greater sensitivity to
n River basin approach for Interventions.
n Promoting Greater Water use efficiency &
Conservation of water – jala Jagruthi
n Diversification of Agriculture driven by
market prices.
Future phase of reforms
Lessons Learnt
Important Signposts of AP
n June 96 – White Paper
n June 96 – March 97 Public
n April 97 – Tripling of Water
n July 1997 – APFMIS Act
n July 97- elections to WUAs
n October 97 – training to WUAs
n April – June 98 O&M works by
n May 98 Irrigation Sector Policy
n April 99 – June 99 O&M works
by WUAs
n April 99 World Bank/APERP
Project – WUA linkage
n Dec 99- V International
seminar on PIM
n 1998 - Teleconferences and
n 1999 - Vision 2020
n 1999 - Cabinet subcommittee
to review functioning of WUAs
n 2000 - WUA sadassus for
obtaining feed back and
n 2002 - Changes in Act and
n 2003 – next round of elections
n 2003 - Piloting water service
agencies & river basin
Lessons Learnt
n AP reforms break new ground in India
n Several states in India have tried to structure similar initiatives on
the lines of AP
n Rajasthan, UP, Goa, Tamilnadu, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan etc.
n AP has become a role model for Indian States
n Myth of increasing water charges overcome – especially when
linked to meaningful outcomes
n A legal framework gives appropriate direction
n Political will – a dynamic Chief Minister
n Continuous dialogue with WUAs, Government, Bank
n Role of the media
n ID could be an agent of change
n Reform is certainly not an easy Process!