IAI project boosts dialogue on water security

International water conference: Strategic decisions in the management of demand

3 August 2016, Mendoza, Argentina

Water is an invaluable natural resource and it is relevant to different sectors across the globe. Each with its own circumstances, regions aim at water security through sustainable water management.

Water policy needs to be urgently oriented towards the demands of different sectors and users, by involving a wide range of stakeholders in the decision-making process. This is the only way to develop viable adaptation options to new water availability scenarios.

The involvement of researcher, institutional decision-maker, and user networks is crucial, which became evident in the great number of participants convened at the International water conference.

The training workshop on Water security and water demand management in the arid Americas was held on 4-5 August 2016, in parallel with the annual meeting of the CRN 3056 project. The teams of the participating countries presented their progress in the understanding of how hydroclimatic variability and land use changes in the basins conditions vulnerability to water availability.

A complete description of the events can be found on the blog of the International Water Security Network: IWSN helps bring water professionals to the International Water Governance Workshop in Argentina

Dr. Francisco Meza. Professor at the School of Agronomy and Forest Engineering and member of the Global Change Center, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile“Using the concept of water security we seek to understand water needs of people and ecosystems in terms of quantity and quality. These events are useful to promote the need for managing water demand and training the new generations in interdisciplinary approaches to improve the decision-making process”.

Dr. Christopher Scott. Research Professor of Water Resources Policy, Udall Center; Professor, School of Geography and Development, Adjunct Professor, School of Natural Resources and the Environ­ment; Arid Lands Resource Sciences Program; Department of Hydrology & Atmospheric Sciences; Department of Soil, Water & Environmental Science; Institute of the Environment; and Center for Latin American Studies, University of Arizona, USA“The multiple uses of water are forcing strategic thinking for water management. This implies a two-fold process: on the one hand, investing in technology and infrastructure to modernize the water sector. On the other hand, a flexible decision-making system that would involve the public and private sectors”.

Dr. Robert Varady. Interim Director and Director of Environmental Policy Programs, Udall Center; Research Professor of Environmental Policy and in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment; Adjunct Professor of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Arizona, USA.“All the problems associated to water management are more serious in arid regions than in other regions. One of the major conclusions from this event is that Department of Irrigation has a clear vision of future water management”.

José Luis Alvarez. Superintendent General Department of Irrigation of Mendoza, Argentina“Mendoza has always managed water from the dam perspective, i.e., water availability. Today, we know that this approach needs inverting: see the specific demand of each user. Such change requires working with scientists and learning from the experiences from other arid regions in the Americas”.

Dr. Marta Paris. Director Master on Integrated management of water resources, Universidad Nacional del Litoral, Argentina“To achieve appropriate water governance, we need a management plan that would provide a vision and a goal. Such planning must include the concept of development that is at stake, which requires the involvement of and feedbacks between the academic and policy sectors”.

Roberto Olivares. Director General, National Partnership of Water and Sanitation Companies of Mexico (ANEAS)“We call on governments to abandon centralism and involve water users, the industry, agriculture and domestic water users. This is the only way to face the challenges related to the availability and pollution of water and the lack of institutional arrangements.”

Sebastián Vicuña. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Global Change Center“We have discussed concepts such as water security, ecosystem services, integrated management of water resources… It is interesting to see the challenges and opportunities each country faces when applying these concepts to real situations.”

Paula Mussetta. Institute of Human, Social and Environmental Sciences, CONICET, Argentina“The perspectives of the different participants pose a challenge to us, the researchers. The challenge consists of commiting to a continuous dialogue with decision makers and civil society.”

Koen Verbist. International Hydrological Programme, UNESCO“During these three days, we could address water issues from an integrated perspective, that highlights the linkages between water, food, in the different sectors. We must make sure that we are aiming at sustainability in all these aspects.”

Sebastian Riera. Universidad de Göttingen. Alemania“The take home message is that our development depends on our natural resources. The water-energy nexus is part of our everyday life. In the future, policies will have to take into consideration the natural resources and the linkages among them.”

Report of the International water conference: strategic decisions in managing demand (pdf). Click here. (in Spanish)