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third groundwater integration dialogue

third groundwater integration dialogue

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  • 1. Groundwater Governance Jac van der Gun Managing Groundwater in Coastal Areas and SIDS Athens, 6-7 May 2014 Third UNESCO/GEF IW:LEARN Groundwater Integration Dialogue “Managing Groundwater in Coastal Areas and SIDS”
  • 2. Managing Groundwater in Coastal Areas and SIDS, Athens, 6-7 May 2014 Groundwater: .......... Can we take it for granted? • A huge volume of freshwater (almost 99% of all liquid freshwater on earth) • Widespread, and easy to locate and exploit • Very profitable for a wide range of uses • Currently exploited at a global rate of some 1000 km3/year - representing a significant share (26%) of all freshwater withdrawals • Often a preferential source of water because of its quality and reliability • Essential for survival in dry areas • In addition: valuable in-situ functions related to ecosystems and the environment
  • 3. • Intensive abstraction may lead to steady declines of groundwater levels, eventually resulting into exhaustion of the resource • Climate variation and climate change may aggravate water scarcity problems Managing Groundwater in Coastal Areas and SIDS, Athens, 6-7 May 2014 .... or should we care for control, protection and optimal allocation/use of the resource? • Groundwater quality is threatened by seawater intrusion and by pollution sources at the surface or underground• Furthermore: are scarce groundwater resources optimally allocated?
  • 4. • Many springs and base flows of streams have gone dry already due to intensive groundwater abstraction • Groundwater conditions affect coastal ecosystems Managing Groundwater in Coastal Areas and SIDS, Athens, 6-7 May 2014 .... and should we also care about the external impacts of changes in groundwater state or regime? • Land subsidence due to intensive groundwater abstraction causes substantial damage in the affected zones • And global groundwater abstraction even contributes to sea level rise ............
  • 5. Managing Groundwater in Coastal Areas and SIDS, Athens, 6-7 May 2014 Emerging problems and observed threats have triggered groundwater management • Groundwater management has emerged in virtually all countries, but its development is not synchronous nor identical • Initially often dominated by hydrogeological concepts, studies, analysis and modelling; in combination with water resources planning methodologies • Commonly a gradual evolution from a ‘single-issue’ focus to more comprehensive and multi-disciplinary approaches • In spite of many successes, also many failures or even stagnation • Technical measures (e.g. artificial recharge) usually easier to implement than non-technical measures (relying on people’s behaviour) • Key to successful groundwater management is good ‘groundwater governance’
  • 6. Managing Groundwater in Coastal Areas and SIDS, Athens, 6-7 May 2014 What is groundwater governance? • Groundwater governance is the overarching framework establishing who formulates policies /strategies and is responsible for their implementation, and how different stakeholders interact • Groundwater management is action-oriented and deals with what the stakeholders do • Key areas of concern of groundwater governance are:  Information/knowledge  Legal frameworks  Policies  Actors (their roles and how they interact) “Groundwater governance comprises the promotion of responsible collective action to ensure control, protection and socially-sustainable utilisation of groundwater resources for the benefit of humankind and dependent ecosystems.” (after Foster and Garduño, 2013, modified)
  • 7. Managing Groundwater in Coastal Areas and SIDS, Athens, 6-7 May 2014 Global diagnostic on groundwater governance: General findings and comments • Regional and Global Diagnostic reports have been compiled by the GEF project ‘Groundwater Governance: A framework for Action’, carried out by FAO, UNESCO, the World Bank and IAH • The state of groundwater governance varies highly from country to country, and within countries (depending on physical, socio-economic, political, cultural and other factors) • These variations partly correspond with differences in stage of development of groundwater management:  Pre-management stage  Initial management stage  Advanced management stage • Groundwater governance is in most countries still rather poor • ‘Perfect’ groundwater governance is utopia • The diagnostics help identifying relevant options for improvement
  • 8. Managing Groundwater in Coastal Areas and SIDS, Athens, 6-7 May 2014 Elements of groundwater governance: (1) Area-specific information/knowledge • Such info/knowledge is indispensible for awareness on groundwater (potential, opportunities, threats, etc) and for any action addressing it • Considerable progress during the last few decades, but many areas still remain ‘terra incognita’ • Groundwater monitoring to define changes in groundwater state is crucial, but it is non-existent, fragmentary or poor in many countries • Widening of scope: more is needed than only hydrogeological data • In recent years spectacular improvement of groundwater information systems around the world (IT driven) • Tendencies towards sharing data and information, but much scope left for improvement • Most groundwater information is in a format digestible for ‘technical actors’ only
  • 9. Managing Groundwater in Coastal Areas and SIDS, Athens, 6-7 May 2014 Elements of groundwater governance: (2) Legal frameworks • Laws addressing groundwater exist in all countries, but large variations in scope, degree of detail and quality • Important issues in these laws:  Groundwater ownership/ groundwater user rights/ allocation doctrines  Assignment of responsibilities and mandates for groundwater management and protection  Prohibitions, obligations and liabilities • Regulations are made for law enforcement • Many countries have good and up-to-date legal frameworks on groundwater • Interesting supra-national developments (e.g. EU WFD, Transboundary Grw.) • Frequently observed deficiencies:  Formal law diverging from customary law or from stakeholders’ perceptions  Fragmented (e.g. quantity versus quality) and sometimes inconsistent legislation  Poor implementation of the law
  • 10. Managing Groundwater in Coastal Areas and SIDS, Athens, 6-7 May 2014 Elements of groundwater governance: (3) Policies • Policies are the decisions made by stakeholders regarding what to aim for and what to do in the context of governance, during a given period of time • They reflect societal preferences (thus have a political dimension) and may adopt overall leading goals such as:  Sustainability (of water resources, natural environment, local economy, etc.)  Water security and adequate water supply  Socio-economic development and poverty alleviation • Often embraced principles: IWRM, precautionary, ‘polluter-pays’ principles • Marked differences in approach: e.g. market-forces versus strict regulation, pro-active or reactive, supply or demand management, technical or non- technical interventions, etc. • Policy scope varies from narrow to very wide (incorporating interdependencies such as with surface water, land use, subsurface activities, etc.). Wide scope is attractive, but should not make policy implementation infeasible (keep the local development/management stage in mind)
  • 11. Managing Groundwater in Coastal Areas and SIDS, Athens, 6-7 May 2014 Elements of groundwater governance: (4) Actors • Large diversity of actors or potential actors: politicians, government agencies; public or private water utilities; groundwater users; water user associations; NGOs; industry, mining & other private sectors; academia, R&D, consultants; schools and mass media; general public; etc. • Leadership formally with mandated government agencies, but often very weak, due to various factors:  Limited awareness on groundwater issues and low political commitment  Poor institutional mandates and insufficient professional staffing and budgets  Inexperienced in cooperating with other government agencies, even less with non-governmental partners (public-private partnerships, local stakeholders) • Effective involvement of stakeholders is generally rare and hampered by:  Limited awareness on groundwater and low commitment to its governance  Conflicts of interest, lack of trust and/or non-acceptance of government’s goals  Incapability to make their voices heard and to become effectively involved • How to develop feasible and effective cooperation mechanisms?
  • 12. Managing Groundwater in Coastal Areas and SIDS, Athens, 6-7 May 2014 Improving groundwater governance: clusters of actions that deserve to be considered Get and keep relevant stakeholders on board Empower all groundwater governance actors Be well- informed on the local situation Improve methodologies and instruments Establish approaches for effective multi-actor cooperation
  • 13. Managing Groundwater in Coastal Areas and SIDS, Athens, 6-7 May 2014 Cluster 1: options for action Get and keep relevant stakeholders on board • Raise awareness by dedicated campaigns • Pursue more political commitment and financial support • Motivate and prepare local stakeholders for active and effective participation • Introduce and benefit from effective communication strategies • Tailor groundwater information to the needs of the different categories of actors • TV, radio, brochures, special meetings, social media, etc. • Lobbies at the level of politicians other influential persons • Pilot projects; demonstration projects; training projects for local stakeholders; developing public-private partnerships • Newsletters, discussion platforms, info & contact centres, portals, public hearings, etc. • Books, reports, brochures, maps, dvds, portals, on-line databases and info systems, etc. What: How:
  • 14. Managing Groundwater in Coastal Areas and SIDS, Athens, 6-7 May 2014 Cluster 2: options for action • Pursue more political commitment and financial support • Improve operational conditions for public groundwater agencies • Build capacity on groundwater and its management • Conduct courses in groundwater policy development & planning • Organise stakeholder groups • Lobbies at the level of politicians other influential persons • Institutional reforms, clear tasks & mandates, adequate staffing and budgets • Educate staff of government agencies; representatives of key stakeholder categories • To be included in academic curricula; but in addition, ‘stand- alone’ short courses • E.g. in groundwater user associations Empower all groundwater governance actors What: How:
  • 15. Managing Groundwater in Coastal Areas and SIDS, Athens, 6-7 May 2014 Cluster 3: options for action Be well- informed on the local situation • Groundwater resources exploration/assessment programmes • Groundwater monitoring programmes (grw levels, abstraction/ discharge, quality) • Promote data and information to be widely shared and disseminated • Disseminate relevant groundwater information and knowledge • In particular in countries or regions with insufficiently explored aquifers • Make significant funds and human capacity available to ensure that essential variables are monitored • Change mind-sets towards cooperation; assist in the development of information systems and web portals • Dedicated publications, brochures, newsletters, websites, etc., tailor-made for different stakeholder groups What: How:
  • 16. Managing Groundwater in Coastal Areas and SIDS, Athens, 6-7 May 2014 Cluster 4: options for action Improve methodologies and instruments • Advanced methodo- logies for developing policy and planning • Widen policy scope and improve coordination between policy fields • Legal reforms • Modify/ replace unfeasible groundwater management instruments • Develop and implement new instruments and approaches • Among others: participatory approaches, IWRM and systematic planning cycles • ‘New’ connections, such as land use, use of subsurface space, mining, environment. • For updating, integrating, improving coherence, deleting non-functional law, etc. • Preceded by identification of malfunctioning and its main causes, and analysis of potential alternatives • Among others: for TBAs, but also innovative approaches for maintaining a good state of the groundwater resources What: How:
  • 17. Managing Groundwater in Coastal Areas and SIDS, Athens, 6-7 May 2014 Cluster 5: options for actionEstablish approaches for effective multi-actor cooperation • Forge coordination and partnerships among government agencies • Dialogues to build trust and commitment between public sector and other stakeholders • Develop public-private partnerships for mutual benefit • Define and agree upon feasible roles of non- governmental actors • Develop and implement ‘rules of the game’ in operational groundwater resources management • Agreements on mandates, abandonment of rivalries and initiatives for cooperation • Awareness programmes on groundwater, structural communication and special meetings • Water supply companies, water using industries, mining and oil& gas sector, etc. • Highly context-dependent (may range from passive role to local self-management) • Smart approaches to effective cooperation in practice, including mechanisms for conflict resolution What: How:
  • 18. Managing Groundwater in Coastal Areas and SIDS, Athens, 6-7 May 2014 Thank you GEF project ‘Groundwater Governance: A framework for Action’, carried out by FAO, UNESCO, the World Bank and IAH: http://www.groundwatergovernance.org/