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Tropentag, October 5 - 7, 2004 in Berlin

"Rural Poverty Reduction
through Research for Development and Transformation"

Challenges and Instruments of Participatory Water Resources Management Systems in Brazil

Jackson Roehrig1, Cristiano Das Neves Almeida2

1University of Applied Sciences Cologne, Institute for Technology in the Tropics, Germany
2University of São Paulo (Brazil), Department of Hydraulic and Sanitation, Germany


Brazil is implementing water policies and legislative instruments for water management in conformance with the Agenda 21. According to this agenda, the use and protection of surface water and groundwater are coordinated at river basin level and include the participation of the civil society. Integrated river basin management, with participation of the state, municipalities and the public sector has a long tradition in some Brazilian states, like e.g. the Integrated System of Water Resources Management (SIGRH) in the state of São Paulo, created in 1989.

Brazilian river basin management models are facing new challenges and opportunities raised from the increasing participation of the civil society and the new advances of information technologies. The success of river basin management systems relies upon coordinated actions, including provision of and access to information as well as the capability to correctly interpret and use them. In this paper we discuss the institutional and participatory aspects of river basin management systems and the importance of information exchange between the stakeholders for planning and operational purposes. We show that information interoperability supports stakeholder involvement, contributing to overcome institutional barriers and to enhance the legitimating of water committees. The regional aspects of water resource management in Brazil, including water availability, climate, educational and cultural aspects as well as political tradition, are illustrated by comparing the semi-arid rural region of Paraíba State with the industrialised humid region of São Paulo. The water resource management system and water politic in Brazil should consider these regional differences while establishing plans and actions.

Keywords: Brazil, information systems, institutions, stakeholder participation, water management, water policy

Contact Address: Jackson Roehrig, University of Applied Sciences Cologne, Institute for Technology in the Tropics, Betzdorfer Str. 2, 50679 Köln, Germany, e-mail: Jackson.Roehrig@dvz.fh-koeln.de

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