Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 Ph.D in Economics, Department of Economics, University of Isfahan, Iran

2 Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, University of Isfahan, Iran

3 Assistant Professor, Department of Ahl-e-Bayt Studies, University of Isfahan, Iran

4 Associate Professor, Department of Physical Geography, University of Isfahan, Iran


The ownership of common pool resources and their exploitation are jurisprudential issues that include various opinions. The present study provides evidence of governance and its problems in one of the micro-scale irrigation systems in Iran, assuming that it plays an important role in administering those resources, like those of transactions, custom and empirical knowledge. In this interdisciplinary research (economic, social and jurisprudential), data are provided from in-depth, focal interviews, field observations, and documentation and are analyzed in the framework of Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD). The results show that over time, the exploiters, using the resource characteristics organized a kind of exploitation mechanism in which, the upstream exploiters had no power compared to the downstream. However, after the government started playing a key role in administering this area based on the Nationalization of Natural Resources Law, by issuing drilling permits, it practically marginalized the institutional arrangements of the users at the level of collective action and caused a lack of indigenous knowledge. That sparked a dispute between the aforementioned exploiters. Thus, both the resilience of economic and social systems could decrease and the people were excluded from local governance. These findings indicate that the approach to governing common pool resources based on the current reading of the relevant jurisprudential rules, is not possible to adapt to environmental conditions.


Main Subjects

Cárdenas, J.-C., & Ostrom, E. (2004). What do people bring into the game? Experiments in the field about cooperation in the commons. Agricultural Systems, 82(3), 307–326. doi: 10.1016/j.agsy.2004.07.008
Chapela, F. (2015). The challenge of crafting institutions for the commons: The case of community forestry support programs in Mexico 2003-2008. Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology B. 5(5), 347-356. doi: 10.17265/2161-6264/2015.05.006