T8: Testing the Water Tenure approach: does it add value? The experience in Spain
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T8: Testing the Water Tenure approach: does it add value? The experience in Spain

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Testing the Water Tenure approach: does it add value? The experience in Spain, By Elena Lopez-Gunn et al, Land and Water Days in Near East & North Africa, 15-18 December 2013, Amman, Jordan

Testing the Water Tenure approach: does it add value? The experience in Spain, By Elena Lopez-Gunn et al, Land and Water Days in Near East & North Africa, 15-18 December 2013, Amman, Jordan

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T8: Testing the Water Tenure approach: does it add value? The experience in Spain T8: Testing the Water Tenure approach: does it add value? The experience in Spain Document Transcript

  • Testing the Water Tenure approach: does it add value? The experience in Spain Elena Lopez-Gunn et al 1 Abstract Water tenure - in line with land tenure- is defined as ‘the relationship, whether formally or customarily defined between people, as individuals or groups, with respect to water resources’. Thus the focus is on the reality on the ground, and mapping the existing relationships without a priori normative judgements. Instead this bottom up approach can give insights into the complex system of water use, and – through water tenure analysis- i.e. the analysis of relationships between users and water use, whether formal or informal- to help identify areas where e.g. formal laws are too rigid, formal laws are un- implementable for a number of reasons, there are problems of coherence between laws, etc, or there are other non-regulatory approaches that prove more effective (e.g. social norms and agreements at water user groups level). The ultimate aim is to test whether water tenure as a concept can help transition a system focused on (rigid- property) water rights towards a system which also incorporates some flexibility and potential re-allocation, based on the concept of water tenure without losing important aspects related to security of tenure. Brief approach: Piloting a water tenure analysis for the case of Spain The basins of Douro and Guadiana have been chosen for the case of Spain to test the approach. In the case of the Douro the case study area has concentrated on a recent irrigation modernization process for a 1600 ha area, where the water tenure approach has been used to help understand the process of changed relationships and management from the perspective of water security, equitable use and sustainability. For the case of the Guadiana, the water tenure approach has been used to help understand recent policy interventions for water allocation, re-allocation and de-allocation in an intensively used 5,000 km2 groundwater system. The litmus test is to establish whether water tenure provides a useful means to improve water management in areas faced with water scarcity, both physical and in terms of demand outstripping supply. The study has been structured around four main areas of analysis to frame water tenure; the first area is the a priori definition of the concept of water tenure based on the current VGT guidelines. It looks at water use under a typology of water tenure arrangements namely formal, de minimis, customary and local uses, collective irrigation rights, public water supply, fisheries, environment and informal (sometimes illegal) water use. Here equity and efficiency become key principles or benchmarks for management under scarcity. The second section looks at the resource base, and water accounting for secure and sustainable water tenure. The third section undertakes a comparison between water tenure and water accounts, to establish potential gaps. Finally the fourth section provides a context analyses for the concept by looking at the political economy and broader governance arrangements, to establish key drivers and barriers for robust water tenure arrangements. The benchmarks to evaluate “good and effective” water tenure center on guaranteeing water security, equitable use and sustainability of the resource base, particularly for agricultural communities and local livelihoods. 1 Team led by Dr Elena Lopez Gunn (ICATALIST) and comprised of Dr Manuel Bea, Dr Pedro Zorrilla, Ms Laura Vay and support from Ms Rosa Huertas (Duero Water Authority, Spain)
  • Brief approach: methodology A mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods have been used to collect data; on the one hand data on water accounts through recourse to existing documents for water planning at basin level, as well as contrasting this information with water balances via remote sensing. On the other, qualitative interviews with senior experts and 6 workshops so far with water users have been held, giving particular weight to the perceptions and experience of farmers, and other users (urban water supply, environmental, historical and cultural, and for solar energy) on how to define effective water tenure arrangements under water scarcity. The uniqueness of the approach has been to open the definition of the concept to users and stakeholders, i.e. it is essentially bottom up. Thus it will based around the stated needs and experiential knowledge of water users in terms of security, sustainability and equity to develop assertable legal rights that can also provide the confidence required to make on-farm investments. The study is currently under way, data is being collected and analysed, thus results presented are indicative at this stage. Outcomes so far: water tenure = flexibility and control The main results indicate that farmers prefer the relative dynamism and flexibility of a water tenure approach as compared to a more static and rigid water rights approach while at the same time perceive this greater flexibility at farm level of a water tenure approach has to include sin equa non, control and good over sight by both farmers and the authorities to ensure fair play and equitable use and the long term availability of the resource base (sustainability). Equally results so far seem to indicate a gap to be bridged between, on the hand the microlevel of farmer needs in terms of secure (and adaptable) water tenure arrangements (i.e. the implementation of water tenure) and on the other, at the macro level the design of water tenure arrangements into existing policy, taking into account policy drivers and coherence. Lessons learnt: is water tenure a useful concept? The purpose of this case study and the other parallel case studies in India and South Africa, evaluates the potential usefulness of a conceptual approach. Test whether water tenure could be used in practice to contribute to improved water resources management and improved access to or delivery of water services. Evidence gathered so far for Spain seems to indicate the water tenure approach can indeed help offer a good diagnosis of the coherence of water use in the system judged against benchmark criteria, and therefore help offer a better and more holistic understanding to develop a more comprehensive set of interventions to achieve desired political, social, economic and environmental objectives (such as increased productivity per unit area, per unit volume of water, per unit of investments) and help identify e.g. research needed, useful or relevant policy and legislative reforms, institution building, training and capacity building and sector investments.
  • CONTEXT OF SESSION (T8)- WATER AND LAND TENURE GOVERNANCE: FROM DESIGN (WATER) TO IMPLEMENTATION OF VOLUNTARY GUIDELINES (LAND) Why Now In January 2013 FAO hosted an Expert Consultation that was attended by approximately 40 practitioners, academics and decision-makers whose expertise ranged from anthropology, political science, sociology, economics and law to engineering, hydrology and agronomy. The purpose of the Consultation was an information gathering exercise. The aim for FAO was a need to augment and enhance internal knowledge related to water governance in general and water governance for agriculture and food security in a context of water scarcity in particular. The results of the Expert Consultation were fed into a new stream of work towards a Water Governance Water Report. This Report will provide a more detailed description and assessment of the governance concepts outlined in the ‘Coping with Water Scarcity Action Framework.’ As part of this process a decision was taken to initiate three pilot studies on the concept of water tenure in India, South Africa and Spain as a first step on practical approaches to have a deeper knowledge on water governance under water scarcity conditions. Why look at water Tenure Now? The reason to focus on water tenure as a concept and its application to three specific countries is because of the parallel work currently undergoing at FAO on land tenure guidelines. In 2012 FAO published the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (the ‘VGGT’). The objective of the VGGT has been to set out principles and internationally accepted standards for responsible practices, which in turn provide a framework that States can use when developing their own strategies, policies, legislation and programs in relation to land and linked natural resources. Water however was omitted from the VGGT and the idea is that the successful process undertaken under the land WGGT could provide a useful precedent for a similar successful process on water tenure, which would complement and re-enforce the current implementation process on the land VGGT. Increased scarcity, increased need for new approaches and tools Given the increased pressure on water resources and the many challenges that individuals and communities are increasingly facing around the world as regards access to and the use of water the broad notion of ‘water tenure’ offers a potentially valuable means of both conceptualizing and safeguarding the interests of individuals and communities as regards their access to use of water resources, one that one step forward the notion of formal water rights. The concept of water tenure is mirrored on the concept of land tenure, while acknowledging that there are important differences (and complementarities between water and land as resources.