Bunclark, L., Carter, R., Casey, V., Day, St J., and Guthrie, D. (2011). Managing water locally : an essential dimension of community water development. London, UK, Institution of Civil Engineers; Oxford, UK, Oxfam GB and London, UK, WaterAid. 95 p. : boxes, fig., tab. Includes glossary. 48 ref.
Oxfam Online ISBN 978-1-78077-011-6
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Based on experiences from three continents, this publication provides practical guidelines for water sector practitioners, policy-makers and donors on Community-Based Water Resource Management (CBWRM).
Chapter 1 introduces CBWRM as practical alternative to the state-controlled Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) model.
In Chapters 2 and 4, various alternative options for water resource management are presented and explored, using experiences from Ghana and Sierra Leone to demonstrate that the implementation of a successful strategy is achievable in low-income countries. These chapters examine the role that grassroots practitioners can play in local level water resource management, through CBWRM.
Chapter 3 outlines how governments and non governmental organisations (NGOs) that work to improve access to water in low-income countries tend to focus on delivery of water supply assets, whether they are for domestic or agricultural use. The sustainability of the service, both from a functional perspective and from an environmental (water resource) point of view, is often neglected or insufficiently emphasised. Practical guidance to improve the situation is presented later in the publication. The pressures on global water resources are increasing and the need to put water resource management into practice at various levels is both urgent and compelling. Examples from China, Ethiopia and Malawi set the scene for understanding why effective water resource management is more important than ever before.
In some areas, water users are already practising communal water management by applying their own rules and traditions. In Chapter 5, examples from Peru, Spain and the Sahelian zone of Africa demonstrate the importance of recognising and respecting traditional water management techniques that continue to survive, but highlight that these now need to be strengthened to cope with increasing variability.
Chapter 6 describes on-going field experiences from India, Nepal and Niger, where country programmes have engaged with local institutions to put water resource management into practice using flexible, adaptive support mechanisms. The implementation of CBWRM in these regions has included involving communities in activities such as water resource allocation, undertaking local level monitoring, implementing rules or operating principles for day to day water usage, and establishing a management system with clearly defined rules and regulations. CBWRM gives local water users the opportunity and means to engage in water resource management, recognising the economic value of water and its role in sustaining people’s livelihoods.
One of the main problems with water resource management is that national and regional water policies often do not take account of or incorporate successful operational practices which are present at the local level; the bridges between science, policy and practice are weak. Chapter 7 explores methods for involving local institutions and water users in decisionmaking processes so that water policy is more accurately aligned to field realities. The final chapter summarises the issues and draws conclusions as to how collaboration between local institutions and communities, and water sector practitioners and policy-makers, can dramatically improve water resource management.