Most Karen irrigation systems work by building a small dam across a river with rocks, bamboo and brushwood.
In 2008, with a grant of £15,500, the Isle of Man Government funded the installation of 2 new irrigation systems and repaired others. The trust has also received significant contributions from an anonymous source to help with our irrigation work. The Director, Penelope Worsley, visits Thailand regularly is able to inspect the new systems and see some of the repairs.
Ban Mae Saw
This new irrigation system is strong enough to withstand the heavy rains. The lower bank is made of concrete. The higher ridge is a mixture of concrete and wood allowing the water to be channelled off to the right of the picture and on to the rice fields.
There are a further two such systems built further down the river, but due to the undergrowth and bends in the river, it was too difficult to photograph.
Ban Nong Haeng
This simple construction is able to provide irrigation keeping water flowing for 2.5 miles down the mountain. All the way down the mountain there are rice fields that have been out of production. Now the irrigation system ensures the water flows and the rice fields go back into production covering 5 acres of land owned by 7 families. Through the community involvement 120 households totaling 500 people will benefit.
Ban Nong Haeng
A second system was installed, bringing water from concrete canals and pipes to lower, flatter ground. The villagers in all villages are absolutely delighted to have irrigation knowing they can become more self sufficient in the production of various crops, in particular rice and soya. The two systems in Ban Nong Haeng will now benefit the entire village.
These irrigation systems will be monitored carefully to ascertain the sustainability of the systems and the level of increase in crop production.