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8. Administrative service

8.1 Main functions
8.2 Water rates
8.3 Financial viability of the organization
8.4 Staffing of the administrative service
8.5 Organizational alternatives

The main purpose of an Administrative Service is to provide support for the technical services in order that the whole water management organization may operate smoothly. The complexity of an Administrative Service depends on the size of the scheme and the number of technical services provided; for instance, when the organization of an irrigation scheme includes activities related to crop production, marketing and social aspects, the Administrative Service may be quite complex. The latter situation will not be covered here because only water management organizations are considered.

8.1 Main functions

8.1.1 Accounting and financial control
8.1.2 Procurement of supplies and warehousing
8.1.3 Legal matters
8.1.4 Personnel matters
8.1.5 Various

The Administration Service of a water management organization usually undertakes the following main functions:

- accounting and finance control
- supply procurement and warehousing
- legal matters
- personnel matters
- various.

The main activities within these functions are discussed below.

8.1.1 Accounting and financial control

The accounting of a water management organization is relatively simple because most of the transactions are within the scheme and those outside it are generally limited to purchasing a few supplies. In fact, the accounting in many small irrigation associations is handled by the Secretary of the irrigation association who often has only a limited knowledge of accountancy. In public irrigation schemes the accounting system is more complicated as the services provided are more numerous and complex, but it is still less involved than that of commercial enterprises of similar size.

Generally, accounts are organized by major item of expenditure or purchase as indicated in the vertical list of accounts given in the example in Table 9. However, that type of accounting does not provide sufficient information for the scheme manager on expenditure incurred by the main organizational units. It is therefore advisable to subdivide the accounts further according to the main units, as indicated in the titles of the columns in Table 9.

Additionally, in many irrigation schemes it has been found most helpful to keep an account for each farmer in which all the transactions between him and the scheme are registered. This is particularly useful for controlling water payments.

Besides the set accounts, a Day Book or Diary must be kept as is usual in good accounting; all financial operations are registered in it daily with an indication of the account to which the movement must be charged.

Accounting is normally done by a professional accountant and supervised by the Chief Accountant (large irrigation schemes), or by the Chief of the Administrative Service in medium-size schemes.




Number of Account


Manager's Office

Operation Service

Maintenance Service

Irrig. Assist. Service

Admin. Service










Daily subsistence allowances
















Equipment (minor)


Fellowships and training


Fuel and lubricants


Inputs demonstration farms


Inspection and vigilance


Maintenance building and offices


Maintenance equipment


Maintenance vehicles


Materials (construction)


Office supplies


Other salary allowances


Outputs demonstration farms


Power consumption


Public relations






Spare parts













There are two types of financial control: one internal, exercised as a routine operation by the Chief of the Administration, with its main purpose being to control that expenditure on the scheme does not exceed the available resources. The other, external control, is often carried out by external auditors; its main purpose is to control that all financial operations are according to established rules and regulations.

Internal control is exercised by periodic review of the accounts, suitable budgeting and timely allocation of funds. This is sometimes difficult because all too "often funds are considerably less than expected and arrive too late to carry out intended programmes. Much of a manager's success depends on his ability to continue operating the scheme's activities under such difficult conditions. The Administration Service must provide him with early warning of possible adverse financial situations so that he may make decisions that will minimize repercussions.

A key question in the financing of a scheme is the relevance of the water fees. This subject has already been mentioned in several instances in Part I, and because of its importance is discussed in more detail later in the text.

External control is normally by a Government Auditor. He also audits all schemes where the operational funds are provided by the government, and where water fees must be deposited in the accounts of the National Treasury.

The auditor has the function of supervising that all the organization's transactions are made according to established rules and existing laws. He should never be an employee of the same ministry or institution to which the water management organization belongs; normally he should belong to the National Treasury or Ministry of Finance. Some irrigation schemes have a permanent auditor retained throughout the year, but more often auditing is done during periodic visits to the scheme.

Sometimes the irrigation associations are audited at the request of the Board of Directors or the General Assembly. In such cases, the audit is by one or several independent people working ad honorem, and their conclusions must be presented to the General Assembly.

8.1.2 Procurement of supplies and warehousing

Most maintenance as well as the normal operations in a scheme require materials, spare parts, fuel, lubricants and some other supplies that should be in stock when needed. A unit, or person (depending on the size of the irrigation scheme), is normally made responsible for this task. The most recurrent supplies, or those particularly difficult to obtain (spare parts), should be bought at the most favourable prices and stocked in sufficient quantity in warehouses. No material should enter or leave the warehouse without the signature of the warehouseman on the stock card and the authorization of the person in charge of the supply unit or the Chief of Administration. Stringent control should be kept of changes in stock in order to produce clear statements of the stock situation at any given moment. Stocks represent immobilized capital, and to allow for their establishment it is necessary to build an 'extra contribution' into the water fees. This is one of the purposes of the so-called 'reserve fund'.

On rare occasions the water management organizations buy agricultural inputs or sell agricultural products. One of the few instances in which this occurs is when the scheme is responsible for an agricultural demonstration or practical trial of applied r research, as pointed out in Chapter 7. In these cases the Procurement Unit may be responsible for purchasing or selling, but at the least it should control these activities.

The scheme's by-laws sometimes forbid that the scheme management enters into transactions for any other input than water. Although there could also be good reasons to maintain this principle, it should be remembered that unless the farmer is helped to maximize his agricultural income, the purpose of irrigation may not be fully realized. Therefore, in such cases, a change of the scheme's by-laws will be needed to undertake supporting activities aimed at improving the purchase of inputs and the sale of agricultural products. The procurement unit could well cooperate in such a venture.

Equipment (tractors, pump sets, land planes, etc.) is sometimes leased to farmers within the scheme. The entity of these operations is usually small and mostly of an emergency nature (dewatering a flooded field, repairing large field canals, etc.). This kind of service should be supplied whenever possible provided that it does not interfere with the regular operation and maintenance activities; however, it should not be encouraged because not all the farmers may get the same chances to use the service. The Maintenance Service should approve the request to use the equipment, but the financial aspects should be controlled by the procurement unit.

Whenever equipment and labour is leased to farmers on a regular basis, as in the case of land levelling, a special unit within the Administrative Service is established to look after this major activity.

8.1.3 Legal matters

Legal queries may arise among the management of the scheme, the users, the farming community, the suppliers, the National Water Administration and others. The scheme manager and/or the Chief of Administration must have proper advice on these matters. Only large schemes can afford a permanent legal adviser. For medium-size schemes periodic consultations with a local legal adviser may suffice. The legal adviser is sometimes linked directly to the Manager's office and sometimes to the Administration Service. It depend? on the type of problems whether one or the other place is more appropriate; for instance, if most of the discrepancies are expected to come from land property issues and indemnifications, the Administration Unit is a more suitable location for the permanent legal adviser.

8.1.4 Personnel matters

Any formal organization of a certain magnitude needs a section to deal with personnel matters, such as recruitment of permanent and temporary staff, establishment of salaries, social security and insurance of the staff, training, preparation of payrolls, control of leave, safety measures, preparation of working instructions and of contracts, when a considerable labour force is involved.

There is usually a personnel officer if the scheme or the labour force is large; otherwise the functions of personnel are shared by the different people in the organization with the ultimate responsibility on the Chief of the Administrative Service. If the water management organization is responsible to a central authority, there is a personnel officer only at the Headquarters office and he serves a number of irrigation schemes, or regions.

8.1.5 Various

In all large organizations there is a heterogeneous collection of functions that do not fall obviously under the jurisdiction of a particular service, mainly because their duties are common to all services or by the very nature of the work. The tendency in these cases is to put them in the Administrative Service. The most common ones are registry, library, radio communications and first-aid, but there may be others connected with specific situations.

All official incoming and outgoing mail should be registered in a log book and properly filed. One of the secretaries or clerks in the Administrative Service is usually responsible for this operation.

All pertinent reports, documents and designs related to project development and operation should be kept in an orderly manner and up-to-date. A small technical library is very useful, especially in remote places where access to technical information is limited. The library material should be controlled by only one person, usually the secretary of the Chief of Administration.

A good communication system between the head office and the water guards, gate keepers and other maintenance personnel is an indispensable means of work. Radio communication is in this sense the best possible means and it is not expensive. In remote areas, radio may be the only way to communicate between the project office and the central or regional offices located in major towns.

First-aid assistance is extremely important where urban centres are far from project offices. In remote places, a person properly trained in first-aid and health matters should be in charge of this assistance, and the first aid room should be well equipped. The scheme manager should ensure that safety measures are adhered to by all the staff on the scheme.

Most auxiliary staff are placed under the responsibility of the Administrative Service; they may include: telephonist-receptionists, messengers, watchmen, storekeepers and others. Transport staff also frequently come under the responsibility of the Administrative Service, although some of the drivers permanently attached to other units or persons may depend hierarchically on that unit.

8.2 Water rates

8.2.1 Determination of water rates
8.2.2 Method of payment
8.2.3 Monomial and binomial rates
8.2.4 Increasing or decreasing rates

Water rates are the sum paid by the farmer as his contribution to government investment in the engineering works for the storage and distribution of water and to cover the expenses related to the operation, maintenance and administration of the scheme.

The Administrative Service is involved in the setting of the water rates for its organization's irrigation schemes, bearing in mind the expenses. It is also responsible for the receipt of sums thus raised.

Water charges sometimes include other elements such as: (a) an amount for the formation of an operating fund that will absorb the deficits of particularly difficult years and provide suitable stocks of materials and spare parts; (b) a payment that covers the cost for surveillance that water permits at the basin level are adhered to; (c) contributions for flood protection work, drainage systems, and other items.

8.2.1 Determination of water rates

There are several methods for determining the amount to be paid as the water fee. They are based on different economic theories and are described in detail in many publications (see references). In some countries, the water rates actually correspond to a theoretical calculation (France, USA, Spain, etc.) but in many others the water rates paid bear little or no relation to the calculated fees. To a large extent this is due to the fact that water rates are often a political issue rather than a technical one. To illustrate this point, Table 10 gives an idea of the financially linked incentive (which could also be regarded as a subsidy) offered by the government in some selected countries.

8.2.2 Method of payment

There are different ways of calculating the water rate charged to the farmer; the main methods are:

i. payment per unit of water used (volumetric method);
ii. payment per hectare or acre of irrigated land;
iii. payment by a fixed share (percentage) of harvested crops.

Their main characteristics are described below.

i. Payment per unit of water (volumetric method)

This is the most desirable method of payment since it encourages efficient water use by maintaining a constant relation between the amount of water used and the payment to be made. In order to apply this method effectively, every farm must have a measuring device (meter) recording the amount of water used. Regular periodic readings of these meters should be made in order to check the amounts used. In spite of the desirability of this method, its introduction often meets resistance and difficulties. On one hand, the farmers are suspicious of the devices and soon find ways and means to block them, especially in open canal systems; on the other hand, the cost of each device, its installation and subsequent monitoring may not compete advantageously with a less efficient system (payment per unit of land). Although the economic advantages of this system are open to discussion, there is no doubt that it has the great advantage of allowing the measurement of the water used. Only by measuring the water can the farmer know the volume consumed and if it was suitable for the plant's needs. Recording measuring devices can be expensive (US$ 300-400 per unit) and are susceptible to manipulation; this can be counteracted by using simple devices that measure the amount of water passing through and having someone to take account of the duration of flow so as to determine the volume consumed. This is a more suitable solution, especially if labour is not too expensive.

ii. Payment per hectare or acre of irrigated land

A fixed amount is paid annually per hectare as a water rate. This would be a fair method if all the farmers of a given irrigation project consumed more or less the same volume of water. However, investigations carried out in several places (Pakistan, Mexico) indicate that more than 50 percent of the farmers deviate by more than 10 percent of the average depth of water applied in the scheme. Since this is the prevailing situation on many irrigation schemes, it is obvious that such a method of payment is not equitable for many of the farmers. Furthermore, this method disassociates the commodity (water) from the rate paid which does not encourage the efficient use of water. The great advantage of the method is its simplicity for billing, charging and accounting. This has made the method very popular and has caused its extension to many countries of the world. In an attempt to reduce the unfairness of the previous method, the payment per hectare or acre of crop grown is sometimes introduced, especially when the crops have large differences in water consumption. Crops with a high water consumption rate (rice, sugarcane, etc.) pay more, at prefixed rates, than the other crops.



No interest charged on repayment of capital costs (50-year period). Operation and maintenance are fully subsidized but farmers pay a fixed tax per hectare.


All capital construction costs and part of operation and maintenance costs.


More than 50% of capital construction costs.

Democratic Kampuchea

100% of capital costs.

Democratic People's Republic of Korea

70% of capital construction costs.



Eastern Europe

100% of capital construction and operation and maintenance costs. A tax on the land is paid.


80% or more of annual equivalent costs of construction (major projects).


100% of irrigation works.


40 to 80% of capital construction improvement and reclamation costs.


100% capital construction and over 50% operation and maintenance costs.


All capital costs of major irrigation projects.


50 to 70% of capital construction costs.

Saudi Arabia

100% for large irrigation works. 50% of irrigation pumps and farm equipment.

South Africa

100% of capital construction works and an average of 69% of annual O&M costs.


Up to 50% of major works including main and primary canals. Secondary canals are paid for by farmers.


100% of irrigation works. However, interest (6%) is paid on capital cost. Government receives part of the farm income through fixed shares in the capital cost.


30 to 60% of main construction works and farm development costs.

United Republic of Tanzania



Up to 60% in US Bureau of Reclamation projects, mostly by other uses, mainly power. No interest was charged on repayment loans until recently.


100% irrigation infrastructure and operation.

Democratic Yemen

100% for large and small works.

1 Information extracted from various sources.

iii. Payment by a fixed share (percentage) of harvested crop

This payment method is practised in some areas where monoculture prevails. There are two main ways of establishing the share to be paid: one is by fixed weight -for example, 10 kg of rice per unit of land of the harvested crop, which is paid annually, regardless of the production obtained. The other way is to establish a fixed percentage of the harvested crop - for example, 5 percent of the total weight of rice. The first modality has characteristics very similar to the payment per hectare, the only difference being that the payment is in kind and not in cash-; the sole advantage over the per hectare transaction is that payment in kind adjusts better to inflation. The second modality offers, in addition to adjustment to inflation, the great advantage of being commensurate with the farmer's production; thus, whenever production is low,, the payment is also low and vice versa. On the other hand, it has the disadvantage that the farmer's production must be evaluated annually, and this is often a controversial issue because farmers tend to disagree with the evaluation made. Furthermore, the method is highly susceptible to misapplication.

These modes of payment are the most common but there are other indirect ways of recovering the investments made and O&M expenditures. Many socialist countries have special land taxes for irrigated agriculture, though there is an increasing tendency to price water for agriculture by some of the methods mentioned. In other countries, recovery is made only through the personal revenue taxes paid by the farmers, but because most of them are in the low income strata they are frequently exempted from payment of the tax. Water pricing is contrary to the religious principles of the Moslem countries and direct payment through some of the above mentioned methods is rarely exercised. However, investments and O&M costs are often recovered through taxation procedures or other indirect methods of a varied nature. The case in Egypt is interesting: farmers do not pay directly for water but, because the irrigation canals are below the ground surface, water must be lifted to the farm with the traditional norias (sakhia) or with modern pumps. Since excavated canals are much cheaper and easier to maintain than those above ground, the government saves (hypothetically) on the investments that would have been needed and on O&M expenditure. Those savings are partially compensated by the farmer lifting the water, because this is an expensive operation no matter what method is used. Thus the farmer contributes indirectly to irrigation development.

8.2.3 Monomial and binomial rates

Annual rates are made through monomial or binomial rates. A monomial rate is a single sum paid for the water received. Sometimes this payment covers only O&M expenses, while others cover part of the repayment of the investments. This type of billing is normally associated with payment per unit of land or harvested crop.

The binomial rate is made up of two components: one fixed rate, which is constant for a number of years, and a variable rate which changes from year to year. This type of billing is normally associated with the volumetric method of payment. The fixed rate is a quota paid annually to repay part or all of the investments made in the irrigation system and to cover some fixed costs. Once repayment of the investment is completed this quota is normally cancelled, although in some cases it is continued as a smaller amount to cover part of the fixed operating costs. The variable rate is meant to cover the variable expenses (mainly O&M) and therefore changes from year to year.

Binomial rates are preferable to monomial because technically it is a more precise method of billing, although it is not always fully understood by the farmers.

8.2.4 Increasing or decreasing rates

Some countries using the volumetric method have variable rates according to the consumption (block rating). Up to a certain volume the rate is constant, when this is exceeded a new rate is applied to a given additional volume; when this second rate is again exceeded a new rate applies. Thus the greater the consumption the higher the rates so as to discourage users from applying too much water. There are a few cases when the reverse has been assayed, especially during the first years of a new irrigation scheme when farmers are sometimes fearful of using too much water.

Although this method of increasing water rates can be justified in extreme conditions of water scarcity, its application must be carefully considered especially where the level of the farmers' education is low and they might not understand the principle of the method.

8.3 Financial viability of the organization

The most widespread cause of poor operation and maintenance is the lack of sufficient funds to undertake this work adequately. This issue is extremely important since the capacity of the organization to carry out work effectively depends on it. The question of insufficient funds is a rather complex one because many factors - social, organizational, economic and political - interact and it is often difficult to determine the real origin of the problem and how to break the existing vicious circle.

All the expenditure for running the water management organization should in theory be covered by the water rates, and the Administrative Service should control that income and expenditure are in equilibrium. However, there is often a large gap between the funds collected from this source and the actual expenditure on the scheme. This gap is sometimes bridged with a subsidy from the government, particularly in public irrigation schemes (see Table 10), or more commonly by not undertaking the necessary maintenance.

In the case of Irrigation Associations, where all funds come from the farmers' community, there cannot be a gap between the income arising from water rates and the actual expenditure. Therefore the tendency in these associations is to reduce the services to a minimum so that water rates are kept as low as possible.

The fact remains that in most instances the water fees are insufficient to cover the services which the water management organization should provide. As long as this situation prevails, poor O&M will be widespread and the return on investments in irrigation will be below expectations. Increases in the water fees are needed in many instances although this measure will certainly be unpopular. A continuous drain on public funds to help part of the agricultural sector is unlikely to continue or be allowed to continue for long in many countries. Furthermore, international loan agencies insist more and more on the need to use sound economic policies in the agriculture sector and, consequently, consider that expenditure on O&M should be totally self-financing and at least some recovery made on the initial investment.

Increasing water fees is quite a delicate matter which requires a serious analysis before a decision is made. It will not be the first time that a substantial increase has been suggested in an irrigation scheme and failed because the farmers have refused to pay it. Some of the critical issues which need careful consideration in this analysis are:

i. Is the existing public irrigation organization of the project efficient? In other words, are all the existing manpower, equipment and administrative procedures really needed? Criteria to evaluate the irrigation management needs have been developed by Bottrall and others (see references).

ii. Are the funds collected through the water rates utilized on the same project? Very often the fees collected (see Chapter 4) go to the Central Treasury and the recurrent funds made available to the project by the Central Administration for O&M bear no relation to the fees paid by the farmers. This kind of administrative procedure does not stimulate the farmers to pay since they do not see a direct relationship between their contribution and the services they receive.

iii. Are the farmers informed about what they are paying for? Do they participate in any way in the determination of the water rates? In many instances the water fee represents for the farmer another tax that he has to pay. They are seldom aware what it is for and how it is used.

iv. To what extent do water fees reduce the income arising from the production? In other words, what is the weight of the cost of the water in the total production costs? Obviously, in schemes where water fees are already a sizeable portion of total production costs any increase would meet considerable resistance. A careful analysis of production costs and income from the main crops produced in the irrigation scheme should precede any attempt to change water rates.

v. How large are the contributions made by the farmers, in terms of indirect taxes, to the irrigation development? Added value taxes on irrigated land are quite significant in many instances. Total repayment of the investment in these circumstances' would not be justified because part of the investment is already paid through the taxes.

vi. Is there malpractice in the collection of fees? Some of the payment methods -especially the volumetric one - are more susceptible than others to malpractice in the collection of fees. This needs careful investigation. There have been schemes with low payment records and after investigation it was found that farmers paid constantly and regularly but a good part of the water fees collected never reached the Central or Project Administration.

The above issues illustrate how delicate the question of increasing water rates can be if all the pertinent data are not to hand.

Some water management organizations are allowed to levy water rates for uses other than farming, for instance small industries, water supply to villages, washing of minerals, small hydropower units, the watering of gardens, etc. Although the number of these users is generally small, the income arising is not negligible because of the much higher rates paid. Although this is a desirable feature that helps finance the organization, care should be taken to establish sound priorities for use. The question of whether a water management organization should be allowed to bill users other than the farmers should be clearly defined in the by-laws of the scheme and in the national water laws.

Reference has already been made to the establishment of applied research or demonstration farms and the convenience of their being self-financing activities. If this is not the case, these costs should not be borne by the farmer because they are extension and research activities, which are services normally provided by the Public Administration. The same applies to the Irrigation Assistance Service which basically has a training function.

Although water rates are often below the actual needs of a water management organization, increasing them is not the only answer to solving the financial viability of the organization. Careful scrutiny of the costs may disclose that many of the corresponding activities are not so necessary or can be done at lower cost. A typical example is desilting. All too often unsuitable methods are employed for this kind of work which results in low productivity and high costs. The project management should study carefully the unit cost of their basic operations and compare these costs with those of the private sector or suitable machinery. This will provide a good indication of the need for improving productivity. The same can be applied to the other cost components: staff, physical facilities and supporting costs.

8.4 Staffing of the administrative service

The administrative service is a supporting unit whose main aim is to control the financial and economic aspects of the scheme for the manager of the organization. Therefore its size and staffing depend largely on the services that are offered (operations, maintenance, irrigation assistance, etc.) and how they are provided. Given this wide variation in circumstances, it is difficult to provide reasonable standards of manpower rates which fit all the existing situations. Nevertheless, the standards in Table 11 will give some guidance. They correspond to public irrigation schemes, with heavily centralized irrigation institutions and are used mainly in middle-income countries. Some of the factors affecting the staffing of an administrative service are discussed below:

i. Complicated procedures for data processing: in many irrigation schemes the procedures for calculating water distribution are unnecessarily complex which has raised the need for additional supporting staff. This point can be well illustrated by the following example from Indonesia: a study on O&M has been carried out by Sir M. MacDonald & Partners who have concluded that one of the main limitations of the existing water distribution systems is the excessive data collecting and the complicated procedure for processing. It is reported that some of the data originating from the gate-keeper had to go through more than 30 different forms before it was processed and returned to him for the operation of the gates. Simplifying the procedure has speeded up the processing of information and resulted in a considerable reduction or relocation of staff.

ii. Degree of decentralization: heavily centralized organizations tend to retain much of the administrative control at the headquarters and only a minimum of administrative staff is kept at the project site.



Size of Irrigation Scheme (ha)






number of people

Executive Officer/Chief of Administration






Accountant (Admin. Officer)






Cashier (Admin. Officer)






Records and Statistics (Aux. Admin. Officer)


















Legal Adviser


1 Data are derived from the EMESIRE Improvement Study of existing schemes in Peru (1981), local information from Bolivia (1978/79) and Spain (1978).

(-) The corresponding function is undertaken by someone else in the scheme but there is no full-time incumbent.

iii. Income and employment: in countries with a low per capita income and high unemployment rates there is a tendency to establish numerous posts which are not indispensable. This poses quite a problem because in many instances government policy implies that employment is more important than economic efficiency. Although good account should be taken of such policies by having some flexibility in the staffing of an organization, it should be kept in mind that non-productive employment is of no benefit to the country.

iv. Water payment methods: payment per unit of land is a simple method requiring little administrative work, while the volumetric method with binomial rates is much more complex and requires a considerable amount of additional work and staff.

v. Use of calculators and mini-computers: calculators and particularly minicomputers can be very useful tools to accelerate data processing and to store data. With a good mini-computer and someone familiar with its programming and operation most administrative matters can be handled effectively for a large scheme (20000 to 50000 ha) by just one person. It is worth mentioning that in Mexico most of the administrative data are centralized in a large computer of the SARH (Secretaría de Agricultura y Recursos Hídricos) and many of the big irrigation schemes are connected with it through terminals. This has permitted a considerable reduction in the administrative staff for the schemes and reliable storage and processing of data.

The smaller the scheme the greater is the concentration of functions in the few people who have to carry out the administrative work. This may lead to some inefficiencies because it is difficult for any one person to master several different functions, but it is unavoidable in small schemes. There is a need to develop simple administrative procedures which can be easily understood by lower-level staff.

It does not seem opportune here to provide job descriptions for the different people responsible for the major administrative tasks in view of the complexity of the tasks they may have to carry out according to the characteristics of the scheme. Standard job descriptions for the more usual positions (cashier, accountant, etc.) can be obtained from many enterprises or institutions dealing with agricultural administration.

8.5 Organizational alternatives

There are two main alternatives for organizing the administrative services: one, which is the most common, consists of having all the administrative activities centralized in a single unit providing its support to the other services. Such an Administrative Unit or Service is normally under the direct supervision of the scheme manager. The other alternative is to out-post one or two administrative officers to each of the Services (operations, maintenance, etc.) in order that continuous administrative support is provided for each of these Services. Only the cashier and the Principal Administrative Officer support the whole scheme.

Concentrating administrative activities in a single unit allows for better control by the scheme manager and reduces conflicts between the other units.

The administrative control in traditional irrigation associations is minimal since, as previously mentioned, the services provided are, in most circumstances, fewer than those in public irrigation schemes. The standard arrangement is that the secretary of the association keeps the record - either he himself or through an accountant - of the water payments and expenditures. In many instances, the administrative unit does not exist as such but is part of the functions of the members of the Board of Directors. Exceptions to this are the Water/Irrigation Districts of the USA (see Annex I) and those of Spain where large administrative units exist.

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