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temple calendar schedules to ensure water would be equally distributed throughout the island
and to stagger rice cultivation, was eradicated as a result. Farmers were now adhering to a new
system of irrigation, and were using fertilizers to increase crop yield and develop a so-called
“miracle rice.” Government officials no longer allowed them to plant their own native rice,
which would take longer to grow, would yield smaller crops, and was less responsive to
fertilizers. (Lansing, 1995: 90)
After several successful years, the Indonesian government made further changes to the
program which would profoundly impact rice cultivation in Bali. They shifted the cropping
patterns throughout the island, encouraging the Balinese to cultivate a rice variety known as IR36. They also implemented a plan called the Bali Irrigation Project to further improve the
productivity of the irrigation systems on the island. The main water temples that traditionally
controlled the irrigation system were no longer being used for such purposes. The result was
that water availability was good only in the wet season but unpredictable in the dry seasons,
which led to infestations of both insects, and rats, a problem the Balinese had not faced before.
(ibid.: 91-92)
In 1987, Lansing began a new phase of research with Dr. James Kremer on the ecological
role of the water temple irrigation system and its impact on the island. (ibid. 93) In consulting
with the farmers, he learned they believed part of the biggest problem was that the staggered
irrigation schedules they once used were no longer being adhered to. Lansing also studied the
systems implemented by the government. Upon thorough comparative analysis, including
quantitative statistical analysis and intensive fieldwork, Lansing determined that the traditional
Balinese irrigation system was, in fact, the best system of irrigation ecologically for the Balinese.
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