In the late 1990s, like many other developing countries, Haiti started a process of devolving responsibilities over irrigation scheme management to water users’ associations. In this paper, a three-step methodology for institutional analysis is applied to investigate the functioning of this new setting in Haiti, using three irrigation schemes managed by farmers as case studies. First, the institutional structures are described using an adapted version of the Institutional Decomposition and Analysis framework. Secondly, the efficiency of the institutional structures is assessed against a set of criteria for sustainable management. The combination of these two steps allows the identification of strengths and weaknesses, and leads to the third and final step of formulation of practical recommendations. Results indicate that authorities in Haiti had a clear vision of the reform process which was translated in sound objectives, a comprehensive reform methodology and efforts to revise the legal framework. However, the outcome of the reform process has been negatively affected by a perceived organizational deficiency, and by the absence of a functioning water pricing system and of clearly defined and enforceable water rights. Finally, similar to the situation in many other countries, the major constraint faced by the established water users’ associations appears to be financial self-sufficiency.
Keywords: Haiti, Institutional analysis, Irrigation management transfer, Irrigation schemes, Water users’ associations