This paper describes and evaluates the warabandi system of irrigation prevalent in NorthWest India and Pakistan. It argues that warabandi needs to be understood as a composite sociotechnical system comprising a physical infrastructure and a corresponding institutional arrangement for rationing and sharing water. This has implications for efforts at replicating the system in other parts of the region. An understanding of these features is also essential in assessing the prospects and potential for irrigation management reform in the region. The paper concludes by identifying some challenges and opportunities for management reform in the warabandi system.

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