The Role of Local Participation in the Activation of Water Pumping Station Projects: Toward sustainability in rural projects

Document Type : Research Paper


1 M. Sc. of Rural Development, Campus of Agriculture, Razi University, Kermanshah, Iran

2 Assistant professor, Department of Agricultural Education and Extension, Campus of Agriculture, Razi University, Kermanshah, Iran


Purpose: Huge costs and time are spent on water resources management projects (WRMP) in Iran, especially water pumping stations(WPS). The success to which Iranian Rural develoing projects such as WPS, are undergoing transformation continues to be strongly debated. Analyzing the causes of project failure is important to better manage them in the future. The main purpose of this study was to find, how local participation can activate WPS projects. In other words, the purpose of this study was to answer the following basic questions; Why has the implementation of rural development projects, including the water pumping station project, not been successful? What factors contribute to the success of these projects?
Methods: in addition to reviewing literature and documents, in-depth semi-structured interviews with farmers were conducted in Kermanshah,  Iran's Western province. A three-pronged approach was designed to accomplish this purpose. In the first Phase, 46 indicators were discovered by combination of literature and interviews. The next step, 11 indicators were found  in  critical situation, according to the Eisenhower matrix, five indicators of them described urgent and necessary action. But it was important to address how to solve these problems. So in the third stage, practical solutions were extracted through in-depth semi-structured interviews with farmers.
Results: We found that the reason for the failure of many rural development projects, including water pumping stations in Iran, is not technical and macro-economic indicators. Because there are prominent technical experts in the field of water in Iran. They have high technical knowledge. But they have only a technical point of view and do not pay attention to the social aspects of project implementation. Neither is the cause of failure in terms of macro-economic indicators. Because the government has allocated a large budget for the implementation of water pumping station projects. In general, the critical indicators, that failure to pay attention to will lead to the failure of water pumping station projects, are social and micro-economic indicators at the local level. Farmers' consensus on improving the status of critical indicators has emphasized the following: “involving stakeholders in planning”, “helping target area to develop income diversification”, “allocating financial resources to stakeholders during projects”, “ using local people as labour ” and “settling legal issues of land ownership”.
Conclusion: Comprehensive policy frameworks for the successful implementation of rural development projects, including the water pumping station project, should address the social and economic issues of local people. We argue that the policies in these frameworks should go beyond providing technical support and services, as well as address the socio-economic constraints and challenges of local people in achieving the desired performance and results of project implementation. Using a Participatory Learning Approach is a good way to achieve the goal.