The water and sanitation services are organized in France under the responsibility of very numerous local authorities and they chose freely the private and public operators. From now to 2020, the number of these authorities will be reduced by more than ten times. This important change of governance allows the reinforcement of regulatory activities, observatories and benchmarks at national level and the development of new and innovative relationship between national regulation, local authorities and their operators. At the same time, responsibilities in river flood prevention and river management of these local authorities are being reinforced.
Dedicated institutions for integrated water resources management (IWRM) at basin level (Basin Committees and Basin Agencies) and at national level (National Water Committee) involving authorities and stakeholders have been established more than 50 years ahead. This system permanently evolved to be adapted to the evolution of water issues. A national agency (ONEMA) has been created in 2006. In 2017, Water agencies have their responsabilities enlarged from only water related biodiversity activities to embrace all biodiversity ecological systems and ONEMA is merged into a new “French Agency for Biodiversity” (AFB), opening the “water box” to more holistic environmental concerns. Recent modifications in the composition of the basin committees have also been made, to better involve NGOs into the decision process.
After a revue of the current state and further steps in water governance in France, the reasons of theses evolutions and the new perspectives they offer are discussed.
Water Users Associations in Tanzania: lessons for IWRM policy
With the intention of implementing IWRM according to good practice, governments and development agencies have promoted the setting-up of Water Users Associations (WUAs) as a broadly applicable model for water management at the local level. WUAs are promoted as key to the rolling out of IWRM principles trough a decentralized and participative process. In this paper we focus on the translation of the IWRM policy model into local practices. We argue that particularly in a context of human and financial capacity severally impaired, pre-designed institutions or models are re-adapted or re-shaped by local institutions.
We develop these arguments by discussing the case of Water Users Associations in Tanzania. We first analyse the challenges encountered in the setting up of these organisations in a complex context, in the Great Ruaha River in Tanzania. Next, the paper evaluates the effects of these reinterpretations, providing from-the-field lessons and alternatives for policy-makers to consider, including investigating the role of the private sector. This research shows that processes fundamental to the implementation of IWRM principles - such as the formalisation of water rights for water allocation - face severe challenges due to pre-existing sets of ‘informal’ rules in terms of land and water access. Although WUAs are formal newly designed institutions set-out in complex informalised local contexts, there is an opportunity for them to act as mediators between small water users and basin organisations and the private sector - offering a voice to take into account local realities. As mediating institutions, WUAs offer a potential to fulfil conservation and equity concerns linked to the principles of IWRM.
The research for developing these arguments is based on participant observation, interviews and focus groups conducted over 6 months between 2015 and 2016 in the Great Ruaha River in Tanzania. Interviewees range from irrigators to water users associations members and leaders, private sector investors, basin organisations, policy makers and funding organisations.
In the Santa River catchment [SRC] (Cordillera Blanca, Peru), glaciers represent a crucial source for Andean livelihoods and coastal communities in arid lowlands. The large tropical ice extent acts as buffer and reduces water shortages, annual discharge variability and contamination levels. However, climatic and non-climatic stressors are altering the hydrological regime and exacerbating human vulnerability. On the one hand, glacier extent in the SRC has shrunk about 35% between 1970 and 2012 to less than 474 km² thus leading to changes in river streamflow, glacial lake volumes and water quality. On the other hand, rising water demand due to export-oriented agriculture expansion, population growth and hydropower capacity extension exerts further pressures and conflict potential over water resources. This development bears multiple implications for both upstream and downstream water users and stresses the need to analyze interconnected water supply and demand in order to develop flexible and comprehensive adaptation measures.
In this context, an integrated glacio-hydrological framework was developed using the semi-distributed free software RS MINERVE 2.4.0. This model incorporates both hydroclimatic (precipitation, discharge, temperature, glacier extent, lakes and vegetation cover) and socioeconomic (agriculture, demography, hydropower, water efficiency, hydraulic elements) data for the last 50 years (1965-2015). The basin was subdivided into 60 hydro-glaciological submodels (22 glaciated GSM and 38 non-glaciated SOCONT catchments) with 191 elevation bands of 500 m intervals. Data gaps of the hydroclimatic data sets were filled by using a copula based approach which also provides measures of uncertainty. In an iterative process, hydrological parameters such as the degree-day snowmelt/icemelt (Asn/Agl), infiltration (HGR3Max, KGR3) and roughness (Kr) coefficients were calibrated using historical flow gauges leading to an exploitable hydrological model.
First results show several implications for future water management in the catchment. Potentially, a more variable but generally decreasing river discharge is likely leading to drier conditions and thus potential water shortages particularly in the dry season (austral winter). Hence, it is crucial to get a more comprehensive insight of current demand drivers and trends in the SRC. Unfortunately, water demand information is both temporally and spatially not exhaustively collected and must therefore be approximated with additional data. Perspectives of this work are contextualized in Peru’s institutional framework which is experiencing a wide administrative adaptation process in order to guarantee Integrated Water Resources Management on the long-term. A new Water Resources Law (2009) includes the stepwise decentralization of water management functions and integration of multiple stakeholders by means of Water Resources Councils. However, institutional fragilities, exclusion of water users from decision-making and ongoing water conflicts hamper these efforts. Serious risks emerge including the possible increase of water scarcity due to a combination of hydroclimatic and socioeconomic factors while data scarcity coupled with complex process interactions and thus uncertainty are particularly challenging. We therefore suggest a closer knowledge co-production and its exploitation between interdisciplinary academics with local and regional water managers and users. A more adaptive water management and governance integrating stakeholders in a learning process is needed to foster efficient pathways for future water-related risk reduction and adaptation.
As in many arid and semi- arid areas, groundwater plays a major role for the water supply in Namibia. As a reaction to changing conditions in terms of rapidly growing demand and measurable increases of climatic extremes, the Namibian Government seeks to better protect the known groundwater resources while in the same time tries to identify further, less vulnerable aquifers to grant long term supply with safe water.
Applying multi-scale investigation approaches through an ongoing cooperation project with the German Federal Institute for Geoscience and Natural Resources, the Namibian Division of Geohydrology applied could widely describe the complex system of groundwater resources and the interaction with surface water in the endhoreic Cuvelai- Etosha Basin (CEB) shared by Namibia and Angola. While the increased appearance of the so called “Efundja”, a flood coming from Angola into the Namibian part of the CEB, both in terms of frequency and intensity are vital to recharge the shallow aquifers, more and more incidences of especially faecal contamination of the hand dug wells have been reported as a result of the flooding in combination with inadequate sanitation installation. The deeper water layers are less prone to contamination and have a high potential to buffer years of drought. They are however far more difficult to access and technical procedures for borehole design must be developed and adhered to. To determine the needs and means to protect the various water bodies a vulnerability mapping and risk assessment has been carried out. Applying a version of the PI- method adapted to the local conditions and a survey of potentially hazardous sites, an overview of critical areas is available for water practitioners and land-use planners. A specifically developed guideline for the delineation of groundwater protection zones along with an improved monitoring network allows setting the right measures for safekeeping the water resources. But how can government officials control the compliance of the guidelines in a vast country with the world’s second lowest population density? The answer lies in the spirit of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). Water users, organized in Basin Management Committees, are actively involved in the development process of the guidelines and the monitoring networks. Thus they become aware that for securing future development, people must be guardians of their own water resources. The Namibian approach can hence serve as a good example for stakeholder participation while setting the technical and scientific frame for applied IWRM.