Comparing Irrigation Management Reforms in Australia and India - A Special Reference to Participatory Irrigation Management

Document Type

Journal Article


John Wiley & Sons Ltd


Faculty of Business and Law


School of Business and Law - Deans Office




Originally published as: Poddar, R., Qureshi, M. E., & Syme, G. (2011). Comparing irrigation management reforms in Australia and India–a special reference to participatory irrigation management. Irrigation and Drainage, 60(2), 139-150. Original article available here


Efficient irrigation water management has become a common goal for continued growth and sustainable development in both India and Australia. The two countries have followed definite paths for achieving the best irrigation management policy. Australia has adopted irrigation management transfer (IMT) with emphasis on privatisation, while India has focused on participatory irrigation management (PIM). Australia and India have adopted these approaches in one of their main river basins, namely the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) and the Krishna Basin, respectively. Institutional reforms in irrigation management in the MDB developed independently of global progress in IMT as compared to the Krishna Basin where the reforms were imposed from the top. Further, irrigation management entities in the MDB, either under public or participatory domain, relied heavily on market-based instruments to achieve efficiency in irrigation water management. In contrast, PIM in the Krishna Basin in India appears to be an experiment with command and control in diverse legal and organisational settings across time and space. In summary, in terms of the parameters chosen in their nearest proximity to measure performance, the Australian IMT programme seems to have performed better than the Indian PIM programme.



Article Location


Link to publisher version (DOI)