Document Type : Research Paper
Assistant Professor of Economic, Social and Extension Research Department, Sistan Agricultural and Natural Resources Research and Education Center, AREEO, Zabol, Iran
Faculty member of institution of humanity and social sciences of ACECR, Tehran, Iran
Assistant Professor of Agronomy and Horticulture Research Department, Sistan Agricultural and Natural Resources Research and Education Center, AREEO, Zabol, Iran
One of the main bottlenecks in Sistan area is the lack of water for irrigating agricultural productions and other uses. During the droughts of the last 20 years, there has been no choice for local people, but there have been some opportunities to employ some mechanisms and methods to improve water management in this area. Recently, the demand management has been considered as a logical solution to achieve the goal of sustainable water use. One of the mechanisms and methods to improve water exploitation management in Sistan area is the implementation of water supply project through piping and the use of pumping systems. This project, a national plan, has been started since 2014 for providing the water resources to 46,000 hectares of lands in Sistan plain. Therefore. the present research aims to explore how to use and maintain this network from the perspective of local farmers and experts. Data were collected by interviews with governmental managers and experts of the irrigation networks use company and the farmers’ representatives during the 2018-2019 cropping year. Gray method has been used to determine the optimal pattern of operation and maintenance of the irrigation network. The results showed that the most important positive effects have included handing over network management, creating employment, reducing rural migration, increasing productivity of productions, gaining confidence of farmers in terms of food supply and income, proper distribution of water, more use of irrigation network and reduction of waste of water resources, increasing the sense of responsibility and ownership of farmers towards the use of irrigation network and its protection. Also the most important negative consequences have consisted the lack of trust for fulfilling responsibility, insufficient understanding and cooperation between water users, farmers’ heterogeneity, little attention to education and extension, lack of experience, loss of resources, lack of attention. The economic problems of water users are the loss of legal support of the organization and the inadequacy of the existing understanding and cooperation between water users. Considering that at present neither the leading operators nor the cooperatives created have enough information about their duties in organizing the management and maintenance of the network and carrying out the desired activities. The most important proposed solution is complete training and awareness raising of the operators. Progress is in the process of assigning the irrigation network to suitable options.