Third World Centre for Water Management

Journals

Volume 24, Issue 1

Theme Issue: Integrated Water Resources Management in Latin America

ONLINE ACCESS TO THIS ISSUE

EDITORIAL
Integrated Water Resources Management in Latin America


INTEGRATED WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT: IS IT WORKING? (pp. 5-22)

Asit K. Biswas, Third World Centre for Water Management, Atizapán, Mexico

E-mail: akbiswas@cablevision.net.mx

Abstract: Integrated water resources management is not a new concept: it has been around for some two generations. In the early 1990s it was ‘rediscovered’ by some water professionals, and then subsequently heavily promoted by several donors and international institutions. In spite of the fact that its promoters have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years, the facts remain that the definition of this concept remains amorphous, and the results of its application in a real world to improve water policy, programme and projects at macro- and meso-scales have left much to be desired. At a scale of 1 to 100 (1 being no integrated water resources management and 100 being full integration), any objective analyst will be hard-pressed to give a score of 30 to any one activity anywhere in the world in terms of its application. The paper reviews the reasons for its recent popularity, why the concept has not been a universal solution in the past, as claimed by its promoters, and also discusses why it is highly unlikely to work in the future.


INTEGRATED WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT: A ‘SMALL’ STEP FOR CONCEPTUALISTS, A GIANT STEP FOR PRACTITIONERS (pp. 23-36)

Luis E. García, Private Consultant, Fairfax, VA, USA

E-mail: luisga@aol.com

Abstract: Although the origin of the IWRM concept is sometimes placed in Mar del Plata, Dublin or after the GWP, it has been around for more than 45 to 50 years. Evolving, it has incorporated something dear for each, achieving universal acceptance. Like a mantra, no national, regional or international organization in the Americas fails to promote ‘some’ IWRM concept. This is no small step conceptually, if not compared to what would be needed to bring it to practice. In an effort to clarify if there will ever be a universal understanding as to what IWRM means in practice, some practical hurdles in examples from Latin America are examined. The result is more questions than answers, the most important of which is how, if, and when IWRM can be used to achieve practical results for the end-users of water.


INTEGRATED RIVER BASIN PLAN IN PRACTICE: THE SAO FRANCISCO RIVER BASIN (pp. 37-60)

B.P.F. Braga and J.G. Lotufo, Agencia Nacional de Aguas, SPS, Brasilia, DF, Brazil

Contact: B.P.F. Braga, e-mail: benbraga@ana.gov.br

Abstract: Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) is a very encompassing concept that needs breaking down in order for it to be applied to real life cases. This paper breaks down this concept to consider the multiple objectives and uses of water, the incorporation of other sectors in the planning process and the involvement of stakeholders in the decision-making process. The IWRM concept is applied to develop an integrated water resources river basin plan for the Sao Francisco river basin. This basin has an area of 600 000 km2 with significant climatic, ecological and socioeconomic variations. A river basin committee, with representatives from government, users, professional associations and NGO, is responsible for approving the river basin plan. The plan was developed by the National Water Agency of Brazil and submitted to the river basin committee for approval. The preparation of the plan involved a large number of stakeholders from state government agencies, local governments, users and the organized civil society. This paper presents this integrated river basin plan and the correspondent participatory development process.


THE DILEMMA OF WATER MANAGEMENT ‘REGIONALIZATION’ IN MEXICO UNDER CENTRALIZED RESOURCE ALLOCATION (pp. 61-74)

Christopher A. Scott and Jeff M. Banister, Department of Geography and Regional Development and Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, University of Arizona, Tucson, USA

Contact: Christopher A. Scott, e-mail: cascott@email.arizona.edu

Abstract: Mexico’s evolving water management framework is predicated on: (1) integration of water resources planning and management; (2) decentralization from federal to ‘regional’ (river basin) levels; and (3) privatization of service provision. This paper focuses on Mexico’s recurring federal-regional tensions, highlighting the historical case of the Yaqui River, and analyzing the current decentralization impasse. Although important advances have been made with irrigation management transfer, river basin councils, nascent user participation in groundwater management, and water and energy legislation, integrated water resources management (IWRM) remains an elusive goal, principally due to inherent institutional and procedural contradictions in water resource allocation. The next steps in the Mexican model—to open decision making to public scrutiny and devolve allocation of water and financial resources—will prove the most difficult, more because of entrenched interests than for lack of an ‘IWRM roadmap’.


SMALL-SCALE IRRIGATION SYSTEMS IN AN IWRM CONTEXT: THE AYUQUILA-ARMERIA BASIN COMMISSION EXPERIENCE (pp. 75-89)

Paula Silva, CH2MHILL, Water Business Group, San Diego, CA, USA

E-mail: paula.silva@ch2m.com

Abstract: Small-scale irrigation systems, known locally as Irrigation Units, are the weakest component in water regulation and information reliability, notwithstanding that they account for an estimated 40% of nationwide water consumption. The role of irrigation Units, within an Integrated Water Resource Management context, is analyzed through a practical case in the Ayuquila-Armeria Basin Commission. In this basin, located in southern central Mexico, a diagnostic and an update of the inventory for surface water Irrigation Units were conducted in nine municipalities, covering 28% of the basin area. Given the absence of an institutional overview, water regulation and reliable information on the small-scale irrigation systems, it is argued that the basin councils are unable to perform an integrated water management.


INTEGRATED WATER RESOURCE MANAGEMENT IN COLOMBIA: PARALYSIS BY ANALYSIS? (pp. 91-101)

Javier Blanco, Principal Consultant, Corporación Ecoversa, Bogotá, Colombia

E-mail: jblanco@ecoversa.org

Abstract: This paper reviews the current instruments in Colombian legislation for water management, including planning, economic and administrative instruments. In particular, it reviews the Watershed Management and Ordering Plans, administrative permits for water use and pollution, as well as water use and water pollution charges. It analyzes how they could interact and be implemented in order to undertake comprehensive and integrated water management by the regional environmental authorities. The paper then reviews how these instruments are currently being implemented by the regional environmental authorities, concluding that IWRM goals are not being achieved.


THE ROCKY ROAD FROM INTEGRATED PLANS TO IMPLEMENTATION: LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE MEKONG AND SENEGAL RIVER BASINS (pp. 103-121)

Olli Varisa, Muhammad M. Rahamana and Virpi Stuckib

aWater Resources Laboratory, Helsinki University of Technology, Finland; bIUCN The World Conservation Union, Gland, Switzerland

Contact: Olli Varis, e-mail: olli.varis@tkk.fi

Abstract: There is an undeniable need to coordinate and harmonize water sector policies at the global level, particularly those in large, transboundary river basins. Recent decades have witnessed a number of large international summits and other important events for that purpose, events that have expanded substantially both in size and frequency. This study analyzed the most important events, beginning with the United Nations Conference on Water (Mar del Plata 1977) an up until the Fourth World Water Forum (Mexico City 2006). The main outcomes of the events are analyzed and a comparison is made of the developments of the water sector in the Mekong and Senegal river basins. On the one hand, the gap between international recommendations and reality in large international river basins appears to remain considerable, and on the other hand the evolution of the quality of the recommendations per se also appears somewhat questionable.


CAPACITY BUILDING: A POSSIBLE APPROACH TO IMPROVED WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT (pp. 123-129)

Alexandra Pres, InWEnt Capacity Building International, Berlin, Germany

E-mail: alexandra.pres@inwent.org

Abstract: This paper aims to reflect the complexity of capacity building. In providing some definitions and trends, it refers to the evolution of a concept that tries to adapt to, is applied to and faces a continuously changing environment. Further challenges will be highlighted, referring to improved water resources management. A possible approach will be described, reflecting InWEnt’s water programmes. Based on this reflection, some lessons learned will be shared and an outlook for future interventions and adaptations will be given. This paper does not claim to be either complete or scientific. It is the view of one practitioner, one among many others.


CHALLENGES FOR INTEGRATED WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT: HOW DO WE PROVIDE THE KNOWLEDGE TO SUPPORT TRULY INTEGRATED THINKING? (pp. 131-143)

Rachael A. Mcdonnell, Oxford University Centre for Water Research, Oxford, UK

E-mail: rachael.mcdonnell@geography.oxford.ac.uk

Abstract: The ideas of good governance through integrated water resources management (IWRM) are predicated on bringing together our understanding water from many domains, thus the provision of knowledge and information is an important part of any enabling environment. Strategies put forward so far have been based on developing systems to integrate existing data from many sources then using different analytical methods such as Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to determine the effects of particular policies or management strategies on various water subsystems. This paper reviews some of the challenges associated with such approaches, ranging from the practical problems of data provision to the more fundamental ones associated with adopting such a positivist, techno-scientific framework. It becomes obvious that new approaches are needed which take on board important research findings emanating from fields such as social theory and geographical information science (GIScience).


GENERAL PAPERS

ASIAN WATER DEVELOPMENT OUTLOOK, 2007. ACHIEVING WATER SECURITY FOR ASIA (pp. 145-176)

Asit K. Biswasa and K.E Seetharamb

aThird World Centre for Water Management, Estado de Mexico, Mexico; bAsian Development Bank, Metro Manila, The Philippines

Contact: Asit K. Biswas, e-mail: akbiswas@cablevision.net.mx

Abstract: Sponsored by the Asian Development Bank, Asian Water Development Outlook is a future-oriented analysis of water security for the Asian countries. The future water problems of the Asian countries and their solutions will be very different compared to those of the past. While historical knowledge will be useful, solving water problems of the future will require additional skills, innovative approaches and new mindsets. It will also require a determined attempt to coordinate energy, food, environment and industrial policies of a nation, all of which have intimate linkages to water. Each will affect the other, and, in turn, will be affected by the others. Policies in all these areas will be also influenced by exogenous forces like demographic transitions, advances in technology and information and communication systems, climatic change, globalization, free trade, and increasing social activism. All these and other associated developments will mean that water management in Asia will change more during the next 20 years, compared to the past 2000 years.
In-depth analyses prepared for the Outlook indicate that the Asian countries are not facing a water crisis because of physical scarcities of the resource, but because of poor management. With the knowledge, technology and experience that are now available within the Asian region as a whole, the water problems of all the Asian countries can be solved. Given adequate capacity development, intensified political will, and appropriate investments, one can be cautiously optimistic of Asia’s water future.


THE MEXICO WORLD WATER FORUM’S MINISTERIAL DECLARATION 2006: A DRAMATIC POLICY SHIFT? (pp. 177-196)

Muhammad Mizanur Rahaman and Olli Varis, Water and Development Research Group, Water Resources Laboratory, Helsinki University of Technology, Finland

Contact: Muhammad Mizanur Rahaman, e-mail: mizanur.rahaman@hut.fi

Abstract: This paper analyzes the scope of the Fourth World Water Forum’s Ministerial Declaration (Mexico, 2006) in the context of globally accepted water management principles. Two major declarations related to global water policy are scrutinized, i.e. Chapter 18 of Agenda 21 (1992) and the Third World Water Forum’s Ministerial Declaration (Kyoto, 2003). Ten globally accepted water management principles were identified that were not properly addressed in the Mexico Ministerial Declaration. Even though holistic and Integrated Water Resources Management has been widely propagated as the best water management practice, the Mexico World Water Forum’s Ministerial Declaration undertakes a dramatic structural shift in global water policy by favouring a non-holistic and fragmented approach to water management.


BOOK REVIEW
Governance as a Trialogue: Government- Society- Science in Transition, edited by Anthony R. Turton, Hanlie J. Hattingh, Gillian A. Maree, Dirk J. Roux, Marius Claassen and Wilma F. Srydom, Berlin, Springer, 2007

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