Session FT 2.50
Local Governance for multiple Water Uses: Experiences in Community Participation in Rural Areas of Central and South America
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
Lack of decentralized, local management of water supply and sanitation services and water resources for drinking and agricultural purposes in Latin American countries under distinct legal, institutional and political conditions, threatens long term economic, social and environmental sustainability of interventions. Strengthening local public authorities and promoting organized, well defined and institutionally anchored mechanisms of user participation is therefore needed. Involving the poor in the management of water and sanitation facilities, integrated watershed activities and negotiation processes addressing diverging interests of different water uses has shown interesting results towards integrated water resource management and sustained local development.
- The legalization and institutionalization of mechanisms for community participation and payment for environmental services is imperative for success.
- Community participation is crucial for improving sustainable water and sanitation services at the local level.
- An agreement of best practices in water and soil conservation between land owners and the water user association is essential regarding payment for environmental services.
- The participation of drinking water consumers in conservation activities and the payment of a tariff for environmental services is equally important for the awareness building process in the community regarding the value of water resources.
- A medium level diploma training in water and sanitation is important to strengthen sector capacities at the local level.
- Including specific curricular programs on sanitation and environment in the national education system has shown significant impact on behaviour change at school and household level.
- The involvement of leaders of civil society and local institutions in capacity programmes on participative management at municipal level has enhanced participative analyses and problem solving in water and sanitation.
- Continued sanitary education after infrastructure investments condition behaviour change at the long term.
- The combination and harmonization of integrated interventions at micro and meso levels is a key factor to assure sustainability of basic sanitation services in rural areas.
- Integrated watershed management is a process of dialogue and learning between authorities and civil society regarding long term public investment in the sector at the local level.
- Integrated watershed management generates knowledge, appropriation and empowerment of local stakeholders and municipal government as key factors for sound management of natural resources.
- IWRM contributes to the development of legitimized local entities as the bases for the formulation and implementation of agreed norms and regulations in the context of the national legal framework.
- Positive impacts from the integrated watershed management contributes to conflict resolution between different water users (drinking water, irrigation, etc.).
- The identification of relevant actors at the local level (including informal groups) and their interests is crucial for effective, decentralized, local management of water resources and services.
- Clarity of roles and competences of local, regional and national stakeholders is important (legal framework - regulation, supervision - service provision, capacity building and investments) .
- Access to reliable and relevant information is a key element for participation and meaningful negotiations.
- Coordinated problem analysis with all stakeholders of the various water needs and existing water rights is fundamental for entering in constructive negotiation processes.
- The municipal level has to allow and enhance gender and rural-urban balanced community participation, establish a negotiation platform and facilitate consensus building processes.
- Strengthening local public authorities and well defined, institutionally anchored mechanisms of user participation is critical for long term sustainabilility of water resources and services, as well as implementation of achieved agreements.
- Capitalization of experiences and know how by local stakeholders is the base for more independent problem solving at municipal level in the future.
- Conflict resolution through consensus building strengthens local communities and development processes.
- Combining local with external water knowledge is vital in order to strengthen a water culture at all levels for the achievement of IWRM
Orientations for action
- Promote sound structures for local stakeholder participation at the watershed level as a framework for IWRM and meaningful negotiations regarding multiple water uses.
- Strengthening local and sub-regional authorities and institutions including municipalities for effective and participative land use planning, incorporating IWRM in the framework of watershed management.
- Emphasize the implementation of norms and regulations and the formulation of educational curriculums based on capitalization of local knowledge and experiences with the aim to strengthen a more conscient water culture within the society.
Local Actions presented
Management mechanisms and experiences of a local water user association
The local water user association of the municipality of Jesús de Otoro (JAPOE) in Honduras is running successfully a medium sized rural town water system in line with the IWRM concept. Based on a strong capacity building process for the local stakeholders towards the improvement of water supply and sanitation services, significant progress was made in terms of the organizational set-up, management and protection of the local watershed including innovative experiences with the mechanism of payment for environmental services, water quality, participative strategic planning, negociated tariff setting, modernization of accounting system and transparency requirements, investments in water supply infrastructure and community participation at all levels of decision making and implementation processes. Apart from having achieved a 24 hour quality water service with multiple, positive economic and health impacts for the local population, there is a measurable increase of water resource availability in the local watershed. There is a growing demand form other water user associations towards JAPOE to share its experiences.
The impact of decentralized management models for water and sanitation on the local, subnational and national sector policies
The experience of this participative management model is based on an alliance among local actors (rural communities, municipalities), subnational governments, national government and international development cooperation agencies. In the context of an ongoing decentralization process which transfers competences and more autonomy to local governments, new sector laws and regulations and increasing availability of financial resources at the municipal level, the SANBASUR project focuses on institutional strengthening of organized user associations for sanitary services with the active participation of all stakeholders at local and regional level. Weak local governments, unclear roles and competences and lack of political support resulted in unsatisfactory water and sanitation coverage in rural communities with growing complaints at district and provincial level. The implementation model seeks the strengthening of regional, local and community based institutions in order to be able to respond according to its competences and functions regarding basic rural environmental sanitation with the aim to improve the sustainability of the services and management and conservation of the watersheds. Considerable impact has been achieved in promoting a sector dialogue between the different levels and the incorporation of the rural agenda in national policy and strategy development.
Integrated watershed management and local development: a process of concertation and learning
PROMIC (Programa de Manejo Integrado de Cuencas)
PROMIC supports integrated watershed activities in the Tunari range in the outskirts of Cochabamba since 1991 via a participatory process. Tiquipaya is a rapidly growing town in the Cochabamba valley of Bolivia with a tradition of intensive, irrigated agriculture and increasing needs of the urban population. Diverging interests of farmers and the urban water system have led to clashes several time. However, a discussion among the various stakeholders is going on and yields interesting results.