Winning the water wars: toward a watershed-based approach to watershed resources management: a policy agenda for local government units | Land Portal | Securing Land Rights Through Open Data

Resource information

Date of publication: 
January 2004
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Water governance in the Philippines is saddled by several problems. The failure to implement laws governing the watershed approach and the absence of institutional mechanisms has seriously undermined any effort to mainstream and integrate water and watershed plans and programmes into the activities of various agencies involved in water resources management and governance. This is compounded by the lack of appreciation of water as an economic good, which leads to the inability for market-based mechanisms to function.In this paper, the author argues the need to obtain wide support vis-à-vis the Local Government Units (LGUs) and civil society organisations in water management since local communities are directly involved and are usually the frontline consumers of environmental goods. The author believes that it is in the best interest of these local communities to be directly involved in how the water resources should be managed and receive the proper training to perform their role.The author offers the following as guiding principles in the involvement of LGUs in water resources management. LGU’s must:adopt an integrated and holistic approach in addressing the inherently interrelated issues of water supply planning and operation, demand management, pollution control, and watershed and ground water protectionmanage water not only as a social good but also more importantly as an economic goodimplement a strategy to operationalise a water-pricing policy that covers the full economic cost of water production and distribution, by taking into account the opportunity cost of water where there are competing users, and the cost of externalities or negative environmental impactsuphold the principles associated with a watershed-based approach by considering the watershed as the basic unit in managing the water resources of the country.The author also suggests that there is a need for mechanisms to enable LGUs to be effective managers of their water resources to:support for the institutionalisation of local water bodiescreate a technical capacity and awareness among the LGUs and local communities, particularly in managing watershedenable the financial viability and sustainability of local initiatives beyond their reliance on official development assistance.The author concludes the study by indicating that there is a need to put in place mechanisms that require local governments to involve civil society organisations. LGUs may not always be efficient and responsive at all times; in fact there is a need for the presence of strong social capital, strong organisational capacity, high political literacy, and strong capacity for informed and effective advocacy. Hence, civil society organisations could become effective technical partners of local government units in water resources governance.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 
A.P. Contrera

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