We use household survey data and results from a lab-in-the-field experiment to examine the impact of governance perceptions on the cooperativeness of water users in the maintenance of 19 small-scale irrigation schemes in northern Ghana. Cooperativeness is measured by two indicators, one indicator derived from the experiment and the other obtained from the survey. We distinguish the governance perceptions of users into six main components, and regress the two indicators on these six components. We consistently find for both indicators that cooperativeness is lower when users perceive that their water user association (WUA) is more successful in resolving conflicts. We also find that perceptions of accountability, transparency, and participation in governance jointly affect cooperativeness in a positive way, but collinearity problems refrain us from identifying which component(s) do(es) so. Type of leadership—whether or not the WUA leader was democratically elected—does not have a significant effect on cooperativeness, while having received irrigation-related training positively affects cooperativeness as measured by labor contributions to scheme maintenance. We argue that these novel insights can be of great importance for promoting sustainable management of small-scale irrigation schemes, but needs further research to examine its external validity.
|Publication status||Published - 11 Aug 2022|
- collective maintenance
- irrigation governance
- water users