Subak is Bali Irrigation System that has been used for hundred of years in Bali. This system aims to ensure that the water is fairly distributed during the dry season. The system is ancient and the first reference to a “subak” in text occured in 1022!
Subak plays a very important part in the life of the Balinese people who own rice farm. Around 1300 subaks are now in Bali and each of them has 200 members, depending on the size of the plots involved. The head of Subak is called “kelian subak” they are elected by the members. The subak members have equal rights, regardless of caste or title or the size of their land holding. The subak meets monthly, under the leadership of the elected head of the subak and together they decide all issues concerning rice cultivation e.g. time for planting, harvesting, offerings, ceremonies, repairing dams, fertilizing, etc.
Kelian subak can also give or withhold permission for new rice terrace construction, and is responsible for ensuring compliance with government regulations.