Irrigation law is one of the oldest and most developed areas of water law. Irrigation acts adopted in different parts of the country reflect, in part, the varied irrigation practices of different climates and cultures. This chapter begins with a discussion of the Bihar Irrigation Act, 1997, which is noteworthy insofar as it conforms to a model that can be traced back several decades. It then considers the reforms in irrigation law that have been introduced in various states over the past couple of decades. The focus is on decentralization and participation in irrigation management, and the policy measures proposed centre around the establishment of water user associations.
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