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Home arrow Management arrow Grassroots global governance : local watershed management experiments and the evolution of sustainable development
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Local Contexts of IWM Reform

It is tempting to assume that powerful actors were simply responding to extreme situations, like declines in water quantity and quality, and that variation in success relates to variation in local conditions. After all, the literature on common pool resources stresses the importance of local conditions for determining whether local communities develop governance systems for sustainably managing their natural resources. However, as Table 3.2 shows, both successful and failed cases varied on a range of local conditions cited as important in this literature. These include ecosystem characteristics, including the quantity of available water, land tenure and land-use patterns, the poverty rate, population size, and the degree of homogeneity. In addition, both successful and failed cases vary in their political organization (e.g., party affiliations among mayors, municipal councilpersons, and the national government); the level of social organization (e.g., the presence of irrigation councils, indigenous movements,

Tungurahua

Celica

El Chaco

Zamora

Ibarra

Pastaza

IWM reform results

Score: 13.5 Success after initial breakdown at rulemaking

Score: 13 success

Score: 12 success

Score: 8.5 breakdown at implementation

Score: 4.5 breakdown at agenda setting with politicians

Score: 2.5 breakdown at agenda setting with civil society

Capital city

Ambato

Celica

El Chaco

Zamora

Ibarra

Puyo

Canton population1

329,856

14,468

7,960

25,510

181,175

62,016

Region

Andean

Andean

Amazon

Amazon

Andean

Amazon

Watersheds targeted

Upper Ambato

Quilluzara and Matalanga

San Marcos, Santa Rosa, Linares, Sardinas, & Rumipamba

El Limon

Tahuando

Pambay and Puyo

Watershed size (miles2)

1,200

2

8

4

132

6

Ecosystem (catchment area)

Paramo

Dry Montane Forest

Cloud Forest

Tropical

Rainforest

Paramo

Tropical

Rainforest

Water scarcity

High

High

Low

Low

High

Low

Landowner locationb

Catchment Area

City

Catchment Area

City

Catchment Area

City

Poverty ratea

50%

76%

65%

61%

40%

67%

Irrigation, water councils

Yes

No

No

No

Yes

No

(continued)

Table 3.2 Continued

Tungurahua

Celica

El Chaco

Zamora

Ibarra

Pastaza

Farmers associations

Yes

Yes

No

No

Yes

No

Indigenous

Yes

No

No

No

Yes

No

movements

Hydro-electric

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

No

companies

Conservation NGOs

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

National park guards

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

No

Other key stakeholder groups

Local governments; municipal water companies; landowners (e.g., those owning or using users (households & businesses)

the land in the watershed); urban water

Key problems identified by local stakeholders

Water scarcity;

unequal

distribution;

Water scarcity; unequal distribution; conflict over access

Threats to biodiversity; poor water quality; contaminated rivers

Threats to biodiversity; poor water

Water scarcity;

unequal

distribution;

Poor water

quality;

contaminated

conflict over

quality;

conflict over

rivers

access

contaminated

access

rivers

a Source: 2010 Census, Integrated System of Social Indicators in Ecuador (SIISE), www.siise.gob.ee. b Whether landowners live in the watershed, which affects their interest in and use of watershed resources.

Map of Ecuadorian Case Studies. Source

Figure 3.1 Map of Ecuadorian Case Studies. Source: Author.

and environmental and farmer associations); and the stakeholders involved (e.g., whether hydroelectric companies, indigenous groups, and conservationists, among others, are present).

The Ecuadorian cases show that the outcome of local IWM reform attempts cannot be explained primarily by local power dynamics or other local conditions. Reforms succeeded in wildly different local contexts, yet some reform attempts failed under conditions similar to those of successful cases. I demonstrate this in the next sections by comparing the local conditions in the six case studies. The following description of the local conditions in which IWM reforms were pursued and the local actors involved sets the stage for the analysis of local IWM reform attempts in subsequent chapters. Because local conditions vary greatly between Ecuador’s mountainous Sierra region and the tropical Amazon region, I examine regionally similar cases together.

 
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