A major policy consideration concerning farmer participation in irrigation management is whether or not to work with organizations that already function among water users. Farmer organization for improved irrigation management should be seen as a structure in which the groups at the unit command area level constitute the "building blocks." The policy question for governments is whether they will refrain from seeking narrow partisan advantage, as the Sri Lankan government has been willing to do thus far, with positive results for itself and for farmers. The head of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) favored the approach, for a number of reasons including the practical need to recover from farmers the capital costs of NIA's upgrading "communal" schemes because of a change in the government's fiscal policy. Political support from national leaders can be identified as a precondition, a sinequanon for increasing farmer participation in water management.