Irrigation Management Practices In Tigray:The Case of Qorir Small-Scale Irrigation Scheme, Klite-Awlalo Woreda, Eastern Zone of Tigray
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The issue of food security is a serious concern especially in arid and semi-arid regions like Tigray, which is vulnerable to climatic instability and frequent droughts. To see the positive effect of irrigation on livelihood, the management aspect of irrigation must be taken in to account. Nevertheless, the management aspect of irrigation is often neglected while priorities are given to the construction of irrigation. Therefore, the purpose of this study has been to assess irrigation management practices with special reference to Qorir Small Scale Irrigation Scheme, Klite-Awlalo Woreda, Eastern Zone of Tigray, Ethiopia. The study has been focused on examining how users were organized for self-management of the scheme and how water management, conflict management, operation and system maintenance issues were practiced and challenges that hinder the sustainability of the scheme also included in the study. In order to undertake this study, household questionnaire, focus group discussion, interview and key informant interview were carried out to collect primary data from all beneficiaries of the scheme. Both quantitative and descriptive analysis techniques were used for analyzing the data. In addition, relevant literatures and essential documents were reviewed that was useful for the study. The findings of this study showed that the water committee is responsible for water allocation and distribution, coordinating maintenance activities and conflict management in the irrigation scheme with support from development agents and extension workers. Nonetheless, the water committee in the irrigation scheme is found to be inefficient in managing water distribution in terms of adequacy, timeliness and equity in the supply of water. The study result also revealed that conflict within and between groups was persistent due to water scarcity, water theft, lack of proper control of water distribution and competition (increasing number of users). Although the dam was meant to irrigate hundred hectares of the vast command area along the downstream, it irrigates about 50 hectares on average and that is small as compared to the expected potential of the irrigation scheme. This is because a significant number of beneficiaries (61.7%) faced a problem of water shortage for their agricultural activities.