Weekly presentation and discussion of water balance data © Vincent Thomas

Monitoring Equitable Allocation of Irrigation Water

Transparency and accountability in monitoring: a case study from Afghanistan


  • Inequitable and sometimes illegal access to canal water for upstream and downstream users.
  • Reports of bribes paid by downstream users to access water.


Action and Outcomes

This case study looks into a project aiming to enable improved and more equitable water distribution from canals in Afghanistan, in particular the Jangharoq Canal: the PMIS or Participatory Management of Irrigation Systems project. A participatory assessment of the situation was launched in the framework of the project as a first step.

The assessment was contested by stakeholders until the Water Usage Associations and representatives worked with support from the PMIS to conduct flow measurements and water balance analyses of defined zones, to publicize and compare these figures on a weekly basis with water rights’ allocations.

With this monitoring system in place, the scale of water access inequity was reduced. Reported bribes also decreased.


Lessons Learned

from implementing this kind of monitoring: Timely sharing of water allocation information supports the prevention of conflicts by supporting important and focused decision-making, before tensions and mistrust can develop.


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