Learning Through Participation in Joint Management Committees for Reservoir-Level Irrigation Governance in Thailand


  • Heidi Walker Natural Resources Institute | University of Manitoba
  • A. John Sinclair Natural Resources Institute | University of Manitoba
  • Wachiraporn Kumnerdpet Royal Irrigation Department | Government of Thailand


Participatory irrigation management, learning, governance, sustainability, Thailand


The UN indicates that water for irrigation and food production constitutes one of the greatest
pressures on freshwater resources, especially within the Asian region. Recent developments
in water management relate to participatory governance, where civil society is included in the
political, social, economic, and administrative systems that develop and manage water resources.
In Thailand, the Royal Irrigation Department has adopted Participatory Irrigation Management
(PIM), which involves multiple sectors of water users in decision-making at all levels of irrigation
system management. This research identified learning outcomes associated with participation
in Joint Management Committees for Irrigation (JMC), the top PIM governance tier,
particularly related to governance and sustainable water management. Our research was
qualitative following a case study approach, utilising 51 semi-structured interviews at two sites,
participant observation, and document reviews. Results showed that participating in PIM activities
facilitated both instrumental (e.g. technical knowledge, skills and information, and task-based
learning) and communicative (e.g. insights into the interests of others, communication strategies,
and comparative reflection) learning among JMC participants. Findings also showed that action
outcomes based on learning were mainly related to adopting new governance systems and
conserving water for future irrigation use.


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How to Cite

Walker, H. ., Sinclair, A. J. ., & Kumnerdpet, W. . (2015). Learning Through Participation in Joint Management Committees for Reservoir-Level Irrigation Governance in Thailand. International Journal of Water Governance, 3(2), 17–36. Retrieved from https://journals.open.tudelft.nl/ijwg/article/view/5884



Research Article

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