Water resources have been on the agenda of regional and global discussions mainly to address important issues such as scarcity, pollution and inefficient use. Brazil is a privileged country in what accounts its water potential, however such availability ends up being misunderstood and culminates in waste and mismanagement. In 2002, with the emerging of the Water Footprint, a different way of interpretation which not only takes in consideration the collected water, but also the precipitated water and polluted water, often neglected by traditional approaches, starts computing these amounts in the water balance.With this approach a more complete and integrated view of water throughout the process and life cycle of products, services, individuals, businesses, governments, etc. is possible.This auspicious method is already being used successfully in private policies at several countries and even acquired acknowledgement by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) which has published in 2014 the 14046 ISO.In the scope of public policies, the use of this methodology is recommended by FAO and UNESCO and is already being used successfully in a few countries, especially in the European Union. The Law No. 9,433, published on January 8, 1997 takes effect in Brazil. Popularly known as the “Water Law”, established the National Water Resources Policy and the instruments available for its achievement.With continental dimensions that hinders the implementation and enforcement of this policy, Brazil also suffers with the lack of data and information. Up against it, the evaluation of the Water Footprint could be an interesting tool at this time.A research in literature on the technicality of this methodology and law was made regarding the tools that are already being used. It was conclusive that the current water management of the country is consistent with the proposal of use of the Water Footprint evaluation to assist in decisions of the public administration sphere.Correlating the details of the method with each of the water law instruments is possible to perceive that they are fully compatible. Using the methodology as water indicator can fulfill the gap of missing data, originating integrated and standardized information from a current and innovative tool that would bring Brazil to a prominent position in the Americas.Another advantage of the Water Footprint is your easy understanding by the masses with great awareness capacity that can bring consumers closer to the water issues debate.Starting from the Water Footprint value, it is possible to identify and map hotspots, where is higher the water resources abuse and formulate reduction strategies. The water footprint evaluation proves itself as a workable tool with great potential to provide relevant information for decision making. Targeting the occurrence of favorable environmental conditions and the adoption of more efficient mechanisms of water use, perfectly matches the Brazilian legal instruments which validatesas an important result of this work this discussion about using it in public water management in Brazil.
Groundwater has often been described as an invisible resource, yet it is important to know that almost 98% of the available freshwater resources across the globe is groundwater. Unfortunately, groundwater science is complex. The challenge is to not only accurately define the hydro stratigraphy and movement of groundwater in aquifers, but also translate the knowledge to accessible conceptual models where science informs policy and Transboundary aquifer (TBA) negotiation. Against this background, we will discuss the need for holistic confident hydrogeological knowledge and conceptualisation to promote TBA cooperation using Malawi as a Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) representative case study.
Research has shown that some countries in southern Africa potentially possesses significantly more TBAs than was originally thought. The latest transboundary aquifer map developed by IGRAC in the framework of the ISARM programme showed 592 TBAs and groundwater bodies. However, the understanding of Malawi’s transboundary aquifers within this was inadequate due to a lack of small aquifer identification and subsequently required reinterpretation. Geological and hydrogeological maps were used to identify which water bearing units cross the countries international borders. Each potential TBA was then conceptually classified based on their hydraulic linkages to other water bodies and their geographic position within river basins.
In total, 25 potential transboundary aquifers (research still ongoing) are now identified and conceptually classified within Malawi sharing borders with Tanzania, Mozambique and Zambia. TBA governance is required by national Malawi Water Resources Legislation to properly address groundwater quality and quantity in the country, and reliable data will assist policy within Malawi so it can achieve target 6.5 of the Sustainable Development Goals (integrated water resource management). However, policy makers must understand and appreciate the uncertainty that limits hydrogeological investigations and take into account the requirement for flexibility and continual review of any transboundary aquifer agreements put into place in the future.
In response to the COP 21 Paris Agreement, policy shifts and interventions are going to take different shapes in different countries. It will vary depending on the types of regimes, level of development, availability of resources, and the nature of the involved stakeholders, among other things. This study introduces a Principal-Agent spatial model of delegation which examines the circumstances under which the science-policy gap closes, is improved upon, or left unresolved, while responding to the Climate Change agreement commitments.
As policy makers, the Principal (P) works towards setting the needed legislation. They are likely to seek support from Agents (A) who are experts on climate change mitigation and adaptation. Both players are driven by different value systems which are characterized by varying weights representing the players’ relative interests to place policy in favor of business prosperity, resource sustainability, and social welfare. The developed model considers those weights as representative of the players’ views towards the importance of shifting policy towards the benefit of each of the three elements. It maps those weights on a single policy dimension which places business prosperity at one end of the continuum, and resource sustainability and public welfare at the other end of the continuum.
The aim of the model, and main purpose of the study is to examine the extent to which this list of “value system parameters” and exogenous parameters (characterized by crises/ shocks), play a role in leading to convergence/divergence between policy makers and scientists. The developed spatial delegation model will help understand circumstances under which the gap widens or closes between a policy maker and a scientist, under various types of shocks. It will investigate the impact of technologic advancement and natural crises scenarios on the level of convergence between both players regarding appropriate policy actions, in response to the agreement.
We find that legislators will provide their bureaucracies with authority to act on climate change when the legislators have a stronger preference for sustainability and welfare than current laws dictate. But delegation may also occur in the event that the legislator views delegation will improve business interests compared to current law and policy, and the bureaucrat views the status quo as sufficiently bad for sustainability and welfare. Technological shocks which improve resource sustainability could eliminate the conditions under which delegation occurs, thereby improving on the science-policy gap without legislative intervention. Humanitarian shocks which convince legislators of the severity of the climate change problem enable improvements on the science-policy gap without changing legislator preferences on the business versus sustainability and welfare continuum. We discuss these findings in the context of climate change disbelief in the United States Congress, the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, the growth of renewable energy in Germany, and the Australian drought during the 2000’s.
The paper addresses the translation of science into policy prescriptions for managing impacts of nutrients from agricultural intensification on water quality. Developing policy prescriptions to manage cumulative effects of diffuse source pollution with the expansion of the dairy industry has been a significant challenge in New Zealand.
The legislation is based on managing the effects of activities within environmental limits. While effective in managing point source discharges, it is not well suited to managing the cumulative impacts of diffuse sources from land use intensification.
Four case studies highlight the challenges.
The Central Plains Project involved irrigation of 60,000 hectare. Nitrate criteria for groundwater, surface water and a lake were already exceeded. While increased nitrate concentrations from the project were acknowledged, hearing commissioners argued on the basis of the legislation that effects were minor and could be mitigated by requiring best management practices.
For water management of Lake Taupo, a market was established for nitrogen discharge allowances from farms. A nitrogen cap was set. However scientific studies showed that insufficient allowance was made for the time lag associated with groundwater contaminated by recent land use intensification in the catchment. Thus greater reductions in nitrogen load (and greater cost) are needed to meet the water quality target.
Nutrients in the Hurunui River were causing algal blooms in the lower reaches. Nutrient caps were put in place and a policy rule limiting nutrient increase from land use change on existing farms to 10% was imposed. This was considered inequitable by dryland farmers with low emissions because it provided greater constraints on their operations while giving greater flexibility to inefficient dairy farmers with high emissions.
Wainono Lagoon is classed as hypertrophic. Nutrient caps were set based on modelling of loads and water quality. However updated models of the impacts of the loads for defining limits have affected the basis of the negotiated agreement on load allocation and reignited debate about the appropriate nitrogen allocation methodology.
However, approaches have been developed in other jurisdictions that provide better policy approaches for these issues. The Sydney Catchment Authority has developed an approach for catchments at water quality limits. Applicants seeking approval for discharges have to demonstrate a neutral or beneficial effect of their proposal on water quality rather than argue adverse effects are minor.
Arizona has an approach to groundwater management in “active management areas” where groundwater overdraft is most severe. Developers have to demonstrate that water of sufficient quantity and quality is available to sustain proposed developments for 100 years.
The Murray-Darling Basin approach to salinity is more effective than cap-and-trade approaches to facilitate water quality improvement by economic means. New actions need to pay the marginal cost of salinity mitigation projects to offset effects of their actions.
For dealing with equity issues and allocation constraints, the South African Water Act has provision for responsible authorities to undertake reallocation processes that can incorporate equity issues and other factors.
The paper provides a comparative analysis of these approaches and their potential transferability to different contexts.