HomeBlogs Subak (Irrigation) Subak is the name of water management (irrigation) system for paddy
fields on Bali island. For Balinese, irrigation is not simply providing
water for the plant’s roots, but water is used to construct a complex,
pulsed artificial ecosystem. Paddy fields in Bali were built around
water temples and the allocation of water is made by a priest.
had been described by Clifford Geertz, but it was J. Stephen Lansing
who drew attention to the importance of the traditional system. He was
studying Balinese temples, focusing on the water temples, whose
importance tended to be overlooked by foreigners. In 1987 Lansing worked
with Balinese farmers and agriculture officials to develop computer
models of the subak, demonstrating its effectiveness. Officials finally
acknowledged its importance.