The Use of Irrigation Water During Transition in Bulgaria's Plodiv Region
Sustainable Agriculture in Central and Eastern European Countries, Discussion Paper No. 7/2000
20 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2003
The amount of water used for irrigation has sharply declined during transition in Bulgaria. Large sections of existing irrigation systems were abandoned, and the ones still in use are barely maintained. Crops such as wheat and barley have replaced more water-intensive crops, including vegetables, rice and maize. This problem has an impact on the future development of agriculture and the allocation of the country's water resources. The central argument is that land fragmentation in the wake of de-collectivization and restitution contributes to the irrigation systems' abandonment. This paper concentrates on the institutional factors, but also considers additional factors, that may have influenced the process; further, it examines the causes driving these changes and analyses their effect on irrigation. It is based upon a review of relevant legislation, as well as field work in 17 villages located in the Plovdiv region of Bulgaria. The paper concludes that, in addition to changes in large-scale market forces and weakening of the state enforcement mechanism, institutional settings have contributed to the decline of irrigation in Bulgaria.
Keywords: Irrigation, Bulgaria/Plovdiv, development of agriculture and the allocation of the country's water resources, land abandoment
JEL Classification: N5, P32, Q15, Q16, Q25
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation