Centro del Tercer Mundo para Manejo de Agua

Journals

Volume 14, Issue 3

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GUEST EDITORIAL


WATER MANAGEMENT IN THE AMERICAS (pp. 289-291)

Carlos E. Aquino Gonzalez, Director-General, Interamerican Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture, Coronado, Costa Rica

Abstract: Water is likely to be one of the most critical resource and development issues for the Americas in the 21st century. It is essential to develop a completely new culture and ethics for efficient use and sustainable management of this resource. This paper outlines some of the important factors that need to be considered to develop a new water culture.


WATER MANAGEMENT IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBE (pp. 293-303)

Asit K. Biswas, Centro Interdisciplinario de Investigación y Estudios sobre Medio Ambiente y Desarrollo (CIIEMAD), DF, México

Abstract: During the 21st century, water and wastewater management is likely to be one of the most critical resource issues that the Latin American and the Caribbean countries will have to face. All the countries of the region are already facing serious problems in terms of how best to provide a reliable water supply for all uses, and then how to treat the resulting wastewaters adequately. With increasing population growth and accelerating human activities, the regions’ water problems are like ly to ge t worse, unless the existing water management processes are significantly improved within a short period of time . There are, however, signs of hope since countries like Brazil are making major advances. Developing countries need to learn from such success stories, instead of relying exclusively on western experiences and technology to solve the ir water and wastewater management problems promptly and cost-effectively.


WATER MANAGEMENT IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBE AN: ROLE OF IICA (pp. 305-313)

Gertjan B. Beekmana and Asit K. Biswasb

aInstituto Interamericano de Cooperacion para a Agricultura (IICA), D.F., Brazil; bSenior Adviser to IICA on Water, Edo. de Mexico, Mexico

Abstract: Increasing population and accelerated human activities are putting unprecedented pressure on water resources management practices in the Latin American and Caribbean regions. Agriculture currently accounts for some 65% of all water used on a global basis. While the demands for agricultural water are increasing steadily with time , the percentage available to this sector has been declining steadily in recent years. These trends are likely to continue in the coming decade . Thus, agricultural water use must become increasingly efficient in the future. A primary objective of the Interamerican Institute for Cooperation (IICA) is to promote sustainable agricultural development in the region. A constraint to fully achieving this objective in the 21st century is likely to be increasing good quality water. This paper outlines the roles IICA could play in promoting water management in the Latin American and Caribbean countries in the 21st century.


HYDROLOGIC MODELLING OF THE UNITED STATES WITH THE SOIL AND WATER ASSESSMENT TOOL (pp. 315-325)

R. Srinivasana, J.G. Arnoldb and C.A. Jonesc

aAssociate Research Scientist, Texas Agricultural Experimental Station, Temple, Texas; bAgricultural Engineer, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Temple, Texas; cAssociate Director, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, College Station, Texas

Abstract: Large-area hydrologic modelling can play an important role in policy planning related to water and land management issues. Models are often required to assess the impacts and risks of management alternatives on the availability and quality of water in large and complex river systems. This paper describes the Hydrologic Unit Model for the United States (HUMUS): a decision support system designed for making national and river basin scale resource assessments. The components of the HUMUS system include: (1) the basin-scale Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model; (2) a GIS to manage spatial inputs and outputs; and (3) relational databases of climate, soil, crop and management properties. The HUMUS system was applied and validated against flow sediment at three scales: (1) the entire conterminous US; (2) the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo river basin; and (3) The Richland and Chambers creeks watersheds. HUMUS is currently the basis of numerous impact analyses designed to improve water resources management at the local, regional, national, and international scales.


WATER SUPPLY AND WASTEWATER MANAGEMENT IN MEXICO: AN ANALYSIS OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL POLICIES (pp. 327-337)

Cecilia Tortajada, CIIEMAD, IPN, Estado de México, México

Abstract: The problems related to water management in Mexico have become very complex. A continuously increasing population, rapid urbanization, lack of clean water, inadequate sanitation and wastewater treatment, inefficient management at all levels, a near-total emphasis only on technical aspects of supply management, and radical changes in management every six years, have made efficient and sustainable water management a most difficult, if not impossible, task. Economic, social, environmental and institutional aspects of management are continuing to receive inadequate attention. Mexican water resources policy is oriented towards ensuring the availability of water to satisfy the needs of the population and promote the development of economic activities in a manner that is environmentally compatible and sustainable in each region of the country. While conceptually this policy is sound, its implementation leaves much to be desired. Legal and institutional frameworks in Mexico for environmental aspects of water management are relatively new. A major problem arises due to the lack of congruency among the various water laws. Both the legal and the institutional frameworks on environmental policies need to be modified, along with stronger coordination among the different institutions concerned. Institutionally, the various environmental activities within the National Water Commission are highly diffused. So far, there has been no serious attempt to integrate and coordinate the se activities, nor is there a comprehensive environmental policy or strategy for the water sector. Approaches used at present for water quality management are ad hoc, and thus leave much to be de sired. In addition, the capacities of the institutions for efficient environmental and water quality management are ve ry limited. Unless serious attempts are made to change these shortcomings, Mexico will face very serious problems in the 21st century, the type of which no earlier generation has had to face. Incremental ‘busine ss as usual’ approaches will no longer be adequate for medium-to long-term sustainable water management.


A RESERVOIR FOR THE PROVISIONING OF THE SÃO PAULO METROPOLIS: THE SITUATION OF METROPOLITAN WATERS (pp. 339-351)

Stela Goldenstein, Secretaria do Estado do Meio Ambiente, São Paulo, SP, Brazil

Abstract: Water supply in a large city such as São Paulo faces important challenges. Its widespread industrial and urban growth, particularly after the 1950s, raised several social and environmental conflicts which are clearly reflected by the current conditions of use and availability of water resources. Among these conflicts is the settlement of over one million people of low income, in precarious sanitary conditions, occupying headwater areas protected environmentally by law. These areas are intended to be utilized as catchment areas to assure the supply of water to the majority of the city’s 17 million inhabitants. The remainder are covered by water resources supplied by, and drawn from other adjacent highly populated catchment areas, which in turn are also affected by the limiting factor, water, regarding their own industrial and urban development. The reduction of the current water shortage is a highlighted objective of the Government of the State of São Paulo, envisaging the provision of large -scale water supply and sewage systems to meet the demands of the population, as well as to recover large, environmentally affected areas. The main purpose in this respect is to implement new policies aimed at chang ing the scenarios of decades-old unsolved conflicts. To face the se problems, the resolution of water use conflicts between different sectors, e.g. water supply versus hydropower generation, is necessary to avoid further detrimental effects to the water quality and the flood control capacity of the Me tropolitan area.


WATER CONSERVATION, RECYCLING AND REUSE (pp. 353-364)

Gertjan B. Beekman, Instituto Interamericano de Cooperacion para a Agricultura, DF, Brazil

Abstract: The finite nature of renewable fresh water makes it a critical natural resource to examine in the context of population growth. Few other resources so essential to daily life are bounded by such fixed limits on supply. As population grows, the average amount of renewable fresh water available to each person declines, constraining efforts to improve health and living standards. When certain ratios of human numbers to renewable fresh water supplies are exceeded, water stress and outright scarcity are all but inevitable. The era of big water schemes is ending, as planned and implemented in the past. The requirements nowadays must take into consideration hard facts, such as that costs are increasing in real terms, the environmental and social consequences are considerable, and there are big que stions about efficiency. What does work is the kind of careful conservation practised by an increasing number of water users. Water conservation provisions have far-reaching effects, and the recycling of water can be considered as a renewable source of water. Slowly, a growing awareness is taking shape that it is more important to manage and administrate water demand in order to assure water security, than to meet the growing demands at any cost. Thereby, two goals will be achieved: first, from the economic point of view, a reduction of the costs and investments, and second the protection and conservation of the environment. In this respect, conservation, recycling and reuse of water play a key role.


SOURCE BOOK OF ALTERNATIVE TECHNOLOGIES FOR FRESHWATER AUGMENTATION IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN (pp. 365-398)

Nelson Da Franca Ribeiro Dos Anjos, Unit of Sustainable Development and Environment, Organization of American States, Washington, USA

Abstract: The objective of this paper is to present an overview of the Source Book of Alternative Technologies for Freshwater Augmentation in Latin America and the Caribbean prepared and published by the Organization of American States (OAS) as part of a joint initiative with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC). The main objective of this project was to provide water resources planners and managers with a comprehensive inventory of technologies currently in use in Latin America and the Caribbean for augmenting and maximizing the use of existing freshwater resources. The Source Book is a reference document. It is intended to present a comprehensive overview of the alternative technologies for freshwater augmentation, water quality improvement, wastewater treatment and reuse, and water conservation most commonly used in Latin America and the Caribbean. Information on the extent of the technology’s application in the region, operational and maintenance requirements, approximate costs, effectiveness of the technology, level of involvement of the community, cultural acceptability, general advantages and disadvantages of the technology, and needs for future research and development is presented for each of 22 technologies for freshwater augmentation. Each technology profile includes an extensive list of contacts who are sources of information on the technology and a bibliography. The technologies generally focus on the use of freshwater for human and animal consumption, agricultural uses, and industrial uses in arid and semi-arid areas. To gather the information necessary to develop the inventory of technologies, UNEP and OAS sponsored two workshops in 1995: one in Lima, Peru for Latin American countries and the second, for Caribbean countries, in Christ Church, Barbados.


THE BRAZILIAN NORTHEAST REGION AND THE RIO SÃO FRANCISCO (pp. 399-404)

Larry D. Simpson, Consultant to World Bank, USA

Abstract: The drought-stricken Northeast of Brazil has for centuries been an economic and social problem-area for the country. The lack of reliable water supplies for both potable use and irrigation, coupled with poor soils and weak institutional systems for the development and management of water supplies has, historically, caused great suffering for the population of this region. It has also created an economic drain on the resources of the country as cyclical mitigation efforts have been necessary to alleviate these problems. In recent years, the Federal Government and the state governments of the Northeast have begun a broad-basedeffort to develop the institutional and legal structure to support efficient management of the scarce water resources of the region. This follows many years of attempting to solve the problem solely through the use of infrastructure development. Some of this infrastructure effort has been extremely successful, but many of the systems have been poorly managed and maintained with resulting inefficiencies and waste. Recent Federal and State water laws along with strengthening of the agencies responsible for the management of the resource have improved this situation and show great promise for the future. The Rio Sao Francisco which crosses through the Northeast represents the single most valuable water resource of the region. It has been extensively developed for the purpose of hydro-power production, frequently at the expense of other multi-purpose uses. The resource has been partially developed for irrigation of high-value fruit crops and has the potential of further more intensive development if confliicts between governmental jurisdictions and competing sectoral users can be resolved. The river basin is also faced with problems of water pollution from municipal/industrial point sources in the upper reaches of the basin and non-point source pollution from agricultural and land management practices within the entire basin. Possible strategies for the future development of an integrated management system for the Sao Francisco Basin include the development of a reliable and credible database to provide all stakeholderswith full information regarding the resource. In addition, practical decisionsupport models for the basin are needed to give decision makers the capability of evaluating alternative strategies to optimize the management of the basin. To develop support for this process among the stakeholders and general population, an extensive education and public information programme is needed to reach the media, the public leaders, politicians and stakeholders within the basin. Ultimately, the decisions with regard to the development and management of the resources of the basin will be made in the public and political arena in response to the demands of the stakeholders.Provided that the se decisions are based upon a fully informed public and supported by state-of-theart technology, the evolution of a sound and sustainable management system within the basin holds great promise for the alleviation of poverty and the minimization of the vulnerability of the region to cyclical drought.


WATER, IRRIGATION AND THE FOOD CRISIS (pp. 405-415)

Demetrios Christofidis, Secretaria de Recursos Hidricos, IICA, Brasilia DF, Brazil

Abstract: This article shows the importance of irrigated agricultural production and the weight of food production of vegetal and animal origin in water consumption. It also takes into consideration the losses in the production of food and the increasing per capita consumption, taking into account the doubts about the food crisis submitted by several specialists. Additionally, important elements are outlined to enable opinions to be made on the food crisis. The theory of ‘water to eat’ introduces the equivalent consumption of grains and water per inhabitant in some main selected countries, showing where there is wastefulness and low e fficiency and offering alternatives to improve water, agricultural and food management. The conclusion is that food security can be obtained if the present losses are halted, the population and decision makers are made aware of the situation and production is rationalized in potential areas for irrigation, provided that the concept of sustainable development is adopted.


THE FORTALEZA MANIFESTO: CONCLUSIONS OF THE 1ST WATER MEETING HELD IN FORTALEZA, CEARÁ, BRAZIL, NOVEMBER 1997 

CONFERENCE REPORTS
Sustainable Development of the Ganges-Brahmaputra Basins, Calcutta, India, 18-20 March 1998

Contributions of Women to the Planning and Management of Water Resources in Latin America, Mexico City, 21-22 May 1998

BOOK REVIEW
Central Eurasian Water Crisis: Caspian, Aral and Dead Seas
, Iwao Kobori and Michael H. Glantz, Tokyo, United Nations University Press, 1998

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