Indigenous Knowledge (IK) of Water Resources Management in West Sumatra, Indonesia

Wahyudi David, Angelika Ploeger


This study was aim to describe the indigenous knowledge of farmers at Nagari Padang laweh Malalo (NPLM) and their adaptability to climate change. Not only the water scarcity is feared, but climate change is also affecting their food security. Local food security can be achieved if biodiversity in their surrounding area is suitable to the local needs. The study was conducted by using Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) such as observation and discussion. The combination of in depth interview, life history, semi structure questionnaire, pictures, mapping and expert interviews was implemented. Data was analyzed by using MAXQDA 10 and F4 audio analysis software. The result shows awareness of the people and scarcity of water conditions has allowed the people of NPLM to face this challenge with wisdom. Aia adat (water resources controlled and regulate by custom) is one of their strategies to distribute the water. The general rule is that irrigation will flow from 6 pm – 6 am regularly to all farm land under supervision of kapalo banda. When rains occur, water resources can be used during the day without special supervision. They were used traditional knowledge to manage water resources for their land and daily usage. This study may be helpful for researcher and other farmers in different region to learn encounter water scarcity.

Keywords: Micro-climate changes, Traditional water management, West Sumatera

Submitted: 19 March 2014;  Revised 26 May 2014; Accepted for publication: 2 June 2014; Published: 10 June 2014


Full Text:



Arnell, N. W. (2004). Climate change and global water resources: SRES emissions and socio-economic scenarios. Global Environmental Change, 14, (2004) 31–52. doi: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2003.10.006

Baumann, D. D. (1998). Urban Water Demand Management and Planning, McGraw‐Hill, New York.

Berkes, F. (1993). Traditional Ecological knowledge in perspective in : Traditional Ecological Knowledge. Unesco, Canada, MAB Ottawa.

Brooks, D. B. (2006). An operational definition of water demand management. Water Resource Development, 22, (4) 521–528.

Carol, J. Pierce Colfer, W. Gill and Fahmuddin, A. (1988). An indigenous agricultural model from West Sumatra: A source of scientific insight. Agricultural Systems, 26, (3) 191-209. doi: 10.1016/0308-521X(88)90011-X

David, W. (2011). Local food security and principle of organic farming in context of food culture in Indonesia Study case, Minangkabau, Dissertation, Universitaet Kassel, Witzenhausen, Germany.

Fisher, F. M., S. Arlosoroff, Z. Eckstein, M. Haddadin, S. G. Hamati, A. Huber-Lee, A. Jarrar, A. Jayyousi, U. Shamir, and H. (2002). Weaseling, Optimal water management and conflict resolution: The Middle East Water Project. Water Resource Research, 38, (11) 1243. doi:10.1029/2001WR000943

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) (2012). AQUASTAT, available at:, Accessed 8 May 2014

Gadgil, M., Berkes, F and Folks, C. (1993). Indigenous Knowledge for Biodiversity Conservation. Ambio; Biodiversity, Ecology, Economics, Policy, 22 (2/3) 151-156.

IPCC Climate Change. (2007). The Physical Science Basis. Summary for Policymakers. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Niehof, A. (2010). Food, diversity, vulnerability and social change; research finding insular Shout East Asia. Mansholt publication series-9, Wageningen Academic Publisher.

Oldfield, M.L. and Alcorn. J.B (eds). (1991). Biodiversity culture Conservation and Eco-development. Westview Press.

Russell, S and Fielding, K. (2010). Water demand management research: A psychological perspective. Water Resource Research, 46, (W05302) 1-12. doi:10.1029/2009WR008408.

Soil survey staff. (1999). Soil Taxonomy: A Basic system of soil classification for making and interpreting soil survey 2nd Ed. USDA: Natural resources conservations surveys.

Securingwaterforfood. (2013). Securing Water For Food: A Grand Challenge For Development. Available online: Accessed: 19th November 2013.

Stern, P. C. (2000), Toward a coherent theory of environmentally significant behavior, J. Soc. Issues, 56 (3), 407–424,

Vandersypen, K., A. C. T. Keita, Y. Coulibaly, D. Raes, and J.-Y. Jamin.(2007). Formal and informal decision making on water management at the village level: A case study from the Office du Niger irrigation scheme (Mali), Water Resource Research, 43, W06419 (1-10) doi:10.1029/2006WR005132


  • There are currently no refbacks.



 Google Scholar H5 index 3 

Sponsoring Organisations

Logo Agrarekologie Uni Kassel