WCB - 1-2003 - Moving Water

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                     The IUCN Bulletin            Number



       Moving water


m oving water
    Preface                                                                                                                    Water and climate
    3 Where life is welcome                                                                                                    29 Adapting to uncertainty Brett
    Yolanda Kakabadse                                                                                                          Orlando

    4 Introduction                                                                                                             Conclusions
    The water balance Achim Steiner                                                                                            30 A balancing act Ger Bergkamp and

                                                                                                          JONATHAN LEACH/WWT
                                                                                                                               Jean-Yves Pirot
    Water and ecosystems
    6 HIgh adventure: the ecosystem                                                                                            32 In print All about water
    approach Hillary Masundire
    7 The complete ecosystem
    Ton van der Zon
                                                              16 Map: Environmental water scarcity

                                                              Water and business

                                                                                                                                                                           IUCN/GER BERGKAMP
                                                              18 Water is everybody’s business
                                                              Ashok Khosla
                                                              19 Calling all sectors! Peter B. Spillett

                                                              Water and economics
                                            UNEP/WILLY MACK

                                                              20 Paying for water services
                                                              Stefano Pagiola
                                                              21 Mt Kanla-On: bearing the costs
                                                                                                                                     World Conservation
                                                              Rina Rosales                                                             (formerly the IUCN Bulletin)
    Water and forests                                                                                                                        A publication of
                                                              Water and communities                                                IUCN – The World Conservation Union
    8 Restoration: an inexact science
                                                              22 The unavoidable current:                                                  Rue Mauverney 28
    David Lamb                                                                                                                        CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland
                                                              mainstreaming gender in the water
    9 Treasure in the clouds Alvaro Luna                      sector Lorena Aguilar                                                       Tel: +41 (22) 999 0000
                                                                                                                                          Fax: +41 (22) 999 0002
                                                              23 Beyond participation: negotiated                                       Website:
    Water and agriculture
                                                              river basin management Danielle Hirsch                                       Editor: Nikki Meith
    10 Food, water and biodiversity                                                                                                  Contributing editor: Peter Hulm
    Jeffrey A. McNeely                                                                                                             Contributing editor, water issue:
    11 True values Rebecca Tharme                                                                                                             Elroy Bos
                                                                                                                                        Head of Communications:
    Water and protected areas                                                                                                                 Corli Pretorius
    12 Protection: the wider benefits                                                                                              Executive Editor: Elaine Shaughnessy
    Nigel Dudley                                                                                                                    Managing Editor: Deborah Murith
    13 Andalusia: the whole picture                                                                                                    © 2003 International Union
    Fernando Molina                                                                                                                    for Conservation of Nature
                                                                                                          IUCN/WILL DARWALL

                                                                                                                                          and Natural Resources
                                                                                                                                          Volume 34, No. 1, 2003
    Water and law
                                                                                                                                              ISSN: 1027-0965
    14 Why we need robust legal                                                                                                       Cover concept: L’IV COM Sàrl
    frameworks John Scanlon                                                                                                          Design/layout: Maximedia Ltd.
                                                                                                                                                Produced by:
    15 From principle to practice: a case
                                                                                                                                        IUCN Publishing Division
    study from Viet Nam Megan Dyson                           Water and biodiversity                                                      Gland, Switzerland and
                                                                                                                                               Cambridge, UK
                                                              24 A wise investment Will Darwall
                                                                                                                                      Printed by: Sadag Imprimerie
                                                              25 Freshwater fisheries: maintaining                                Opinions expressed in this publication
                                                              the flow Patrick Dugan                                                     do not necessarily reflect
                                                                                                   the official views
                                                                                                                                         of IUCN or its members.
                                                              Water and communication
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                                                              27 Lake Öreg: where nature and culture                                           please contact:

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     Cover, centre: UNEP/A. Alhamdy                           Water and dams                                                          regarding this publication to:
     Background: UNEP/Arnason Thorvardur                                                                                      
                                                              28 Rivers of contention S. Parasuraman

2                                                                                                                                             World Conservation 1/2003


                                                                                                              TH. VAN DER HAMMEN
                                                                                                                              South America’s
                                                                                                                              cloud forests are
                                                                                                                              more than centres
                                                                                                                              of biodiversity:
                                                                                                                              they collect water
                                                                                                                              from fog and
                                                                                                                              generate volumes
                                                                                                                              of streamflow
                                                                                                                              even during
                                                                                                                              periods of low

w                here life is welcome
                 Yolanda Kakabadse

When you enter a cloud forest you have an immediate sensa- of our rivers and wetlands and our determination to protect
tion of great calm and security, as if you were entering a sanc- them. It is an opportunity to consider the many threats to
tuary. The humidity envelops you like a heavy cloak. You are our water resources and the ecosystems on which they
shielded by several layers of canopy over your head, the depend, including the conversion of natural ecosystems to
branches heavily adorned with garlands of orchids, mosses, pasture and farmland, pollution, overexploitation and
ferns and bromeliads. Except for the hum of insects and the extraction, alien invasive species, mass tourism and climate
music of birdsong, it is deeply quiet. This is a place where life change.
is most welcome, and welcoming.                                      And it is a time to acknowledge the hardship of the poorest
   My home country of Ecuador hosts a section of the tropical people and communities who are directly dependent on
montane cloud forest ecosystem of the northern Andes. natural resources. We must therefore not only commit
Known as a treasure house of biodiversity and species ourselves to the UN Millennium Goals, for instance to reduce
endemism, it was the site just a few years ago of a remarkable by half the proportion of people without sustainable access
discovery: a new species of bird called the jocotoco antpitta. to safe drinking water by 2015, but also to ensure that the
This event served to remind us of the essential value of our provision of water and other resources, the health of natural
mountain forests and the gifts they offer to our people and ecosystems and the improvement of livelihoods are dealt with
our wildlife.                                                     in an integrated and equitable manner.
   Paramount among these gifts is the fresh, clean water they        Without water, we
                                  cannot address the problems of poverty
are able to generate. These forests benefit from a dependable and disease. We cannot achieve sustainable development, nor
source of moisture besides rain: the cloud-laden air itself. This can we conserve biodiversity, preserve habitats or restore
allows the forests to be exceedingly generous, providing water ecosystems.
to support life far beyond their margins.                            The goals of protecting our water sources and Earth’s
    The International Year of Freshwater 2003 has offered an ecosystems cannot be separated. We must do both, now.
opportunity to refocus our attention on protecting and
respecting our water resources. It is a time to reflect on the
role of forests everywhere in offering protective cover for                                    Yolanda Kakabadse is President of
headwater catchments. It is a time to renew our appreciation                                IUCN – The World Conservation Union.

World Conservation 1/2003                                                                                                                          3


                                                                                                           UNEP/R LEMOYNE
                      t         he water balance
                                Achim Steiner

                              Water, the unique substance that communities or irrigation water for
                              gives our planet life, has become agricultural production. Fortunately, we
                              highly problematic. Parts of the are beginning to see a strong conver-
                      world have too much of it or too little. gence in these appeals, as the various
                      In other places it is polluted or unequally demands coalesce around calls for
                      distributed.                                comprehensive, effective and valid
                         The seriousness of these problems is solutions for modern water resource
                      recognised at a global level. Water re- management.
                      source management received interna-           The ecosystem approach to which
                      tional attention at the World Summit on IUCN is actively committed – for
                      Sustainable Development, the 3rd World instance through its work in 20 river
                      Water Forum and now again during the basins under the Water and Nature
                      International Year of Freshwater. This is Initiative – is now widely recognised as
           a valuable contribution to this process.
                      indicative of the growing pressures on
                      this resource, which for so long has been We know today that forests are vital to
                      taken for granted.                          water supply, that mangroves provide
                         This concern also makes clear that protection against rising sea level, and
                      water is connected to a wide range of that freshwater wetlands provide mil-
                      issues and interests. Today we hear lions of tonnes of fish to sustain liveli-
                      voices raised in justified passion calling hoods and economies. For modern
                      for its use for specific goals, such as water resource managers, the protection
                      providing clean water to poor rural of nature now goes hand in hand with

4                                                                             World Conservation 1/2003


the pipes and pumps that ultimately          and describe the progress made on a
bring water to homes and fields.             daily basis, using specific examples.
   Even with these positive signs, there        While the Ministerial Declaration of
are still great challenges ahead of us.      the 3rd World Water Forum in the view of
One of the most important is to apply this   many may seem to be a step backward
convergence of opinion on the ground.        and thus make very little difference to
   The management of river basins is         the world of water management, these
not a simple matter, owing to their sheer    articles hope to share the knowledge of
scale, the diversity of conservation and     water and our ecosystems as it stands.
development options, the multitude of        They make clear that the focus should
actors involved and the interactions be-     not be on water alone, but on the vast
tween the many ecosystem components.         array of water resources and ecosystem
Nor is it easy to find the appropriate       services.
capacities and resources. Although pro-         Above all they provide ideas on how
gress is being made, we must increase        the linkages between land and water,
our impact where it matters – in the real    ecosystems and people, and conserva-
world.                                       tion and livelihoods can be better taken
   Meetings are useful, of course, for       into account.
sharing our experiences and knowledge           I hope the ideas presented here will
of ways to improve the management of         help us to move forward and implement
the world’s most precious resource and       our vision in the river basins of the
the resources that are derived from and      world. It is there that IUCN and its mem-
associated with it.                          bers have made important contributions
   In this special issue of World Conser-    in the past, and, with the increasing deg-
vation on water, we consider where to go     radation of freshwater ecosystems, our
from here. We show some of the contri-       contributions in future must focus.

                                                                                                                              UNEP/HUNG MU-SHENG
butions from our Union, both in
the debate as well as in practice. We
have invited people with different                Achim Steiner is Director General of
perspectives to highlight the many             IUCN – The World Conservation Union.
aspects of water resource management                               Visit


The IUCN Water & Nature Initiative works in 20 basins around the world. It brings together over 120 IUCN members and
partners in an effort to demonstrate the ecosystem approach to water management – to bring rivers back to life and maintain
the natural resources on which so many depend.

World Conservation 1/2003                                                                                                 5

     WATER           AND      ECOSYSTEMS

h            igh adventure: the ecosystem approach
             Hillary Masundire

            When the ‘ecosystem approach’        of cultural preferences, usage and            Namibia are short of water. Their plans
            (EA) was codified as the frame-      traditions”.                                  to use the river water far from the river
            work for implementation of the          E.O. Wilson, the father of biodiversity    were called off when IUCN pointed out
    Convention on Biological Diversity           conservation, says in The Future of Life,     the impact on the integrity of the delta
    (CBD) in 2000, it caused some confusion.     “The interplay of biology, economics          ecosystem. But that was far from the end
    This certainly wasn’t a new idea – we        and diplomacy is high adventure of a          of the story.
    were already familiar with concepts such     new kind.” This is how I see the ecosys-         Botswana, with the help of IUCN and
    as ‘Biosphere Reserves’, ‘Ecoregions’ and    tem approach. It is an opportunity, at        the Ramsar Bureau, is developing an In-
    ‘Integrated Catchment Management’.           last, to mainstream biodiversity conser-      tegrated Okavango Delta Management
    Foresighted ecologists had understood        vation into our local, national and inter-    Plan (OMP) using the ecosystem ap-
    since the 1960s that ecosystems con-         national decision-making across all           proach. But we recognise that the OMP
    sisted of more than local biodiversity,      sectors – social, economic and environ-       doesn’t have a chance unless it takes into
    but must be considered within a larger       mental.                                       account activities planned or underway
    context that includes the non-living                                                       upstream in Angola and Namibia.
    environment (water, of course) and hu-
                                                 EA in the Okavango Delta                          Fortunately, the right institutional
    man interactions and impacts.                Angola is emerging from almost 30 years       framework and political will already
        What the CBD did was unify action on     of civil war, attempting to reconstruct       exists: in 1994 the three countries
    behalf of biodiversity around a central      and de-mine its ravaged countryside.          created the Permanent Okavango River
    organizing concept, one that is (in the      Re-development of agriculture and tour-       Basin Commission (OKACOM). They
    words of a recent workshop report)           ism will depend on the water of the           were already members of the Southern
    “holistic, flexible, socially-oriented,      Okavango River. Meanwhile, the neigh-         African Development Community
    scientifically based, and respectful         bouring countries of Botswana and             (SADC), and had ratified the Protocol on

                                                                                                                                            UNEP/WILLY MACK

    The Okavango River basin extends through Angola, Namibia and Botswana. The Okavango Delta is the largest Ramsar site in the world.

6                                                                                                             World Conservation 1/2003


Shared Watercourse Systems that defines
the parameters and conduct expected of
states sharing watercourse systems. This
difficult and potentially contentious
situation is ripe for the ecosystem
   While some fear that the CBD is ven-
turing too far from the species it was
meant to protect, I see this as our only
recourse. Quoting Wilson again (The
Diversity of Life): “…habitats cannot be
saved unless the effort is of immediate
economic advantage to the poor people
who live in and around them.” This is
why we have made the ecosystem ap-
proach the focus of all the work done by
IUCN’s Commission on Ecosystem Man-
agement (CEM) and the Ecosystem

                                                                                                                                     IUCN/WAZA LOGONE
Management Programme (EMP).

            Hillary Masundire is Chair of
                the IUCN Commission on
                Ecosystem Management.       A badly planned dam on the Logone River prevented annual flooding, adversely affecting
         Visit      local herders, farmers, fishers and wildlife.

t        he complete ecosystem
         Ton van der Zon

        The Johannesburg World Summit           2. The Waza Logone floodplains in combination of conservation, equitable
        on Sustainable Development northern Cameroon have been used by sharing and sustainable use – at least on
        (WSSD) called for a significant indigenous nomads to graze their cattle a local scale. We have not yet learned to
reduction of the loss of biodiversity by during dry spells. They have also served act in the interest of global ecosystem
2010, and for integrated water resource as rich spawning grounds for the fish on functions.
management. These goals cannot be which many local communities depend.                 The Guyana shield is one of the old-
separated: biodiversity conservation and        The floodplain of the Logone river est geological massifs on Earth. Its rela-
water management are two sides of the was heavily degraded because a badly tively poor soils are nevertheless covered
same coin. Both are essential for alleviat- planned dam prevented the traditional by largely intact tropical rainforests and
ing poverty, and both require integrated annual flooding. The effect on farmers, harbour more than 10% of the world’s
ecosystem management. For example:          fishers and herders has been severe, as fresh water. On a global scale the region
   1. In the southern Yunnan province has the effect on its magnificent wildlife. regulates climate and water and con-
of China, poor forest management up- The famous Waza Logone National Park serves biodiversity, yet these essential
stream has affected an entire watershed. lost many of its richest and most fertile functions are being compromised by un-
Deforestation of mountain slopes has ecosystems; its spectacular herds of an- sustainable local development – such as
led to severe erosion, often torrential telopes almost disappeared. The dam, unregulated timber harvesting and min-
run-off, heavy deposition of silt in paddy moreover, has not even fulfilled its ing of gold and alumina.
fields and wetlands. The economic original purpose of greatly expanding                This is our next step. In line with the
                                            irrigated rice cultivation.
impacts on small-scale agriculture Convention on Biological Diversity, de-
compounded by a marked decline in               Working with the local govern- veloping countries should be assisted
forest products such as mushrooms and ments and with assistance from the with the management of their ecosys-
timber.                                     Netherlands, IUCN has managed to re- tems, and rewarded for their efforts to
   Today China and the Netherlands are store the flooding and with that some of protect the benefits we all share.
working together with the local popula- the functions of the ecosystem.
tion to achieve better forest man-              In these examples, the ecosystem                Ton van der Zon is Head of the
agement and to restore ecosystem approach, linking all relevant ecolo-                    Biodiversity and Forest Department,
functions, including provision of a clean gical, socio-economic and institutional      Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
and reliable water supply.                  processes, has turned out to be a good               Visit

World Conservation 1/2003                                                                                                            7

    WATER          AND     FORESTS

r          estoration: an inexact science
           David Lamb
                                                       Periodic surveys of global forest
                                                       cover by FAO reveal some dra-
                                                                                                        exotic species, or establishing more
                                                                                                        complex plantations involving mixtures
                                                       matic changes. In the tropics,                   of native species. Many catchments
                                              forest cover is declining and new, sim-                   will contain examples of all these
                                              plified landscapes are being created. By                  approaches.
                                              contrast, in the more industrialized,                        The likely impact of such reforesta-
                                              non-tropical countries, forest cover is                   tion is that overall water yields from the
                                              generally increasing.                                     reforested catchments will decrease – at
                                                                                                        least in the short term when the new for-
                                                                                                        ests are growing rapidly. This is because
                                                                                                        the new tree crowns will intercept more
                                                                                                        rainfall and will transpire more water
                                                                                                        from the enlarged leaf areas.

                                                                                                        Uncertain gains
                                                                                       Reforestation may be able to improve
                                                                                       topsoil physical properties and thus in-
     It is unclear whether water                                                       crease rain water infiltration into the
             use by the Araucaria                                                      groundwater, but in most situations any
     plantation (left of photo) is                                                     gains from this are likely to be smaller
                                                                                           DAVID LAMB
          any greater than by the
              natural rainforest on                                                    than the increased rates of evapo-
                          the right.                                                   transpiration.
                                                                                           Moreover, not all types of reforesta-
                                                                                       tion will have the same effect. Although
                                                                                       little is known about water use by most
     Trees in the upper parts of                                                       of the more commonly planted tree spe-
      this catchment were killed                                                       cies, we can assume that fast-growing
          by forest clearing. Tree                                                     species will tend to use more water than
           felling reduces evapo-
         transpiration and allows                                                      slow-growing species. We can also as-
      saline groundwater to rise                                                       sume that the impact of reforestation on
        close to the soil surface.                                                     water yield will depend on how much of
    Salinity may be reduced by
     planting trees in these up-                                                       a catchment is reforested. But we need
        stream areas to increase                                                       better science to lend credence to these
                                                                                           DAVID LAMB

          evapotranspiration and                                                       assumptions.
             lower the water table
                       once again.                                                         This uncertainty poses a problem for
                                                                                       land managers. Where water supplies are
                                                                                       limited, they will want a sure-fire
                                                There is a good scientific understand- method to minimize the reduction in
                                            ing of the hydrological processes in- water yield; where trees are planted to
                                            volved, although this understanding is overcome salinity by lowering water
                                            not necessarily shared by the public or tables they will need to maximize the
                                            by policy makers. However, there is a reduction.
                                            much poorer understanding of the col-          These issues are even more poorly
                                            lective impacts on regional water sup- understood by policy makers, some of
          Did you know...
                                            plies of these changes across many small whom make significant investment de-
                                            catchments. That is, we know the small-
          ● Forty-two watersheds have cisions on the assumption that the re-
                lost more than 75% of their scale processes but don't know how this forestation will improve water yields.
                original forest cover.      all adds up when dozens of small catch-        The consequences are that, in many
                                            ments are aggregated.
          ● The Yangtze and the Congo                                                  regions of the world, predicting future
                have lost more than one         There is now considerable interest in water supplies is an uncertain business.
                million km of forest each.  restoring forest cover in both tropical
                (IUCN/WRI 2003)             and non-tropical parts of the world.                  David Lamb is a forest ecologist,
                                            There are a variety of methods on offer:                       School of Life Sciences,
                                            encouraging natural regeneration, using            University of Queensland, Australia.
    Visit          simple monocultures of fast-growing                       Visit

8                                                                                                                     World Conservation 1/2003

t          reasure in the clouds
           Alvaro Luna

          Montane cloud forests are essential to the economies and
          livelihoods of the northern cities and communities of South
          America, supplying unpolluted fresh water for both people
and wildlife. Found from 1500 to 3000m in altitude along and be-
tween the eastern and western slopes of the Andes, they add to rain-
fall by intercepting moisture from clouds – a service which becomes
absolutely crucial during the dry season.
   Some cloud forests in the northern Andean region are protected
for their watershed values, but many are not, existing as islands of
forest amid farmland and exploited for their firewood, timber and
medicinal plants.
   These forests are also among the most biologically diverse eco-

                                                                                                                                           © WWF-CANON/KEVIN SCHAFER
systems of the world, with high levels of localized endemism. Even
small areas, tens of hectares in extent, can harbour unique species.
   The region is one of WWF’s 200 ‘priority ecoregions’ and a Con-
servation International ‘biodiversity hotspot’. Much of it is listed
as IUCN Protected Area Management Category I reserves. Never-
theless, the forests are still losing ground owing to immense and
varied pressures: colonization, clearance for agriculture (includ- The Andean spectacled bear is largely restricted to cloud
                                                                         forests, and has become a flagship species for conservation
ing opium and coca), construction of roads and pipelines, conver- efforts in South America.
sion to cattle pasture, overgrazing by sheep and goats, fuelwood
                                                                                                                  The harlequin frog
harvesting, charcoal production, mining and overexploitation of                                                   from Costa Rica has
forest products.                                                                                                  become rare in the
   Meanwhile, some observers contend that global warming is in-                                                   last ten years.
creasing the altitude at which cloud banks form, reducing vital
moisture input to the forest. The resulting deforestation and frag-
mentation is likely to cause great loss – of biodiversity, of vital eco-
system services including the provision of clean water, and of
economic and development opportunities for local people in a re-
gion already plagued by persistent rural poverty.
                                                                                                                   W. FERWERDA

   The Tropical Montane Cloud Forest Initiative was launched in
1999 by IUCN, WWF, UNEP-WCMC, the IUCN Netherlands Com-
mittee and several other partners. In 2002 it began work on a project
to maintain the unique watershed functions and biodiversity of the
northern Andean cloud forests.
   The project will promote the development of cloud forest con-
servation strategies and the strengthening of protected areas. It
will field-test new approaches to conservation such as payment for
environmental service schemes, forest landscape restoration, and
improved livestock management, and will oversee the creation of
an Andean cloud forest network and information system. It will
benefit from the technical support of its many international part-
ners, and be implemented by national partners in each of the five
countries of the northern Andes – Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador,
Peru and Bolivia – as well as through regional mechanisms.
   The key to the project’s success will lie in its ability to build on
the large number of existing initiatives and partnerships already
operating in the region, and on the common interest of a wide and
varied roster of stakeholders, all of whom depend on the resources
and services of these remarkable ecosystems.
                                                                                                                                           W. FERWERDA

             Álvaro Luna Terrazas is Forest Conservation Programme
                       Coordinator with the IUCN Regional Office for     The long flowers of the laurel Aethantus mutissi are pollinated
                  South America (IUCN-SUR). Visit      by the sword-billed hummingbird Ensifera ensifera.

World Conservation 1/2003                                                                                                                  9

 WATER             AND      AGRICULTURE

f          ood, water and biodiversity
           Jeffrey A. McNeely

         Human societies have made dra-
         matic changes to our freshwater
         ecosystems by building dams,
controlling floods, draining wetlands,
and pumping groundwater for agricul-
tural production.
   In addition, humans use rivers, lakes,
and swamps for transportation, sewage
disposal, and daily water needs, so that
most of the Earth’s accessible fresh wa-
ters are already co-opted by people.
   Given the myriad ways humans use
water, the biodiversity of freshwater eco-

                                                                                                                                                                       IUCN/GER BERGKAMP
systems is far more threatened than that
of terrestrial ecosystems.
   More than 250 million hectares are
currently being irrigated, with nearly
                                                  Pumps irrigate rice paddies in Viet Nam. Irrigated agriculture accounts for 70% of all water
three-quarters of this area in developing
countries (especially India, China and
Pakistan). Around 70% of the freshwater                                         countries conversion of wetlands is still
                                                     Disrupting the natural flow of rivers
used by people is used for irrigation, par-                                     seen as a crucial mechanism to relieve
                                                  can and has disrupted the communities
ticularly in low-income countries where                                         the scarcity of agricultural land. Even
                                                  that depend on it, changed water tem-
87% is used to grow crops. Decreased                                            officially protected areas may be
                                                  perature and chemistry, affected sedi-
river flows and falling groundwater lev-                                        threatened. In about half of the wetlands
                                                  mentation rates, and caused numerous
els are pervasive in irrigated areas, and                                       listed under the Ramsar Convention,
                                                  other impacts on wild biodiversity.
farmers have few incentives not to over-                                        agriculture is considered to be a major
                                                     While most developed countries have
use water. The massive transfers of wa-                                         cause of change. Around a quarter of the
                                                  established controls restricting further
ter and its associated infrastructure have                                      designated sites are used extensively
                                                  wetland drainage, and have even
reshaped hydrological regimes and cre-                                          for agriculture and about 10% for
                                                  instituted some wetland habitat
ated barriers to species migrations.                                            aquaculture.
                                                  restoration, in many developing
                                                                                   Other hydrological impacts have re-
                                                                                sulted from converting natural vegeta-
                                                                                tion in major watersheds to agricultural
                                                                                use, affecting rainfall infiltration into the
                                                                                soil, while accelerating soil erosion and
                                                                                increasing downstream flooding risks.
                                                                                Such changes modify aquatic, soil, and
                                                                                riverine habitats and biodiversity. Natu-
                                                                                ral vegetation usually does the best job
                                                                                of intercepting rainfall and slowing sur-
                                                                                face water flow, so rain has time to filter
                                                                                through the soil and recharge local wa-
                                                                                ter supplies.
                                                                                   As long as agriculture remains a pri-
                                     mary human activity that provides our
                                                                                nourishment, more carefully designed
                                                                                agricultural production systems can in-
                                                                                                  UNEP/WESSELIN WOLTSHER

                                                                                crease water efficiency, minimize nega-
                                                                                tive impacts on ecosystems and
                                                                                biodiversity, and in some cases even en-
                                                                                hance biodiversity.

                                                                                                                            Jeffrey A. McNeely is Chief Scientist at
Irrigation in the desert. More than 250 million hectares of land are currently being irrigated.                            IUCN – The World Conservation Union.

10                                                                                                                                     World Conservation 1/2003

 t         rue values
           Rebecca Tharme

         Agriculture is arguably the pre-
         dominant influence on the
         Earth’s land surface. While only
about 30% of the total comprises agri-
culture-dominated landscapes or mosa-
ics, few areas remain unaffected by
agriculture-induced change.
   Indisputably, the major cause of
wetland loss around the world is drain-
age and conversion for agriculture: half
of the world’s wetlands have already
been destroyed, and up to 60–70% in Eu-
rope. Of more than 17,000 major sites
devoted to wild biodiversity conserva-
tion, including wetlands, nearly half
have at least 30% of their land used for
agriculture, and most of the remainder
adjoin or are encompassed by agricul-
tural lands. Agriculture is the most seri-
ous threat to wetland biodiversity, and
has left at least 20% of the world’s 10,000
freshwater fish species extinct or at risk

                                                                                                                                     REBECCA THARME
of extinction. It probably impacts
around half of the 1267 wetlands cur-
rently listed by the international Ramsar
Convention on Wetlands.
   Moreover, water quality has deterio-       Some benefits
rated in almost all agricultural regions
worldwide, from increased concentra-          Irrigated agriculture can result in the creation of wetland habitat for biodiversity
tions of dissolved salts, suspended sol-      or enhancement of important wetland ecological resources. The 1.3 million km2
ids, pesticides, fertilizers and livestock    of rice fields that exist globally provide staple food for over half of the world’s
wastes, all of which may degrade              population and harbour a rich biological diversity. A survey of a Sri Lankan rice
wetlands and poison wildlife. For exam-       agroecosystem recorded 494 invertebrate and 103 vertebrate species, as well
ple, in the Australian Ouray wetlands, a      as 89 macrophytes. The rice-growing areas of south-central Louisiana support
national wildlife refuge, contaminated        winter populations of 225,000 shorebirds, as well as other birds, making it a
subsurface irrigation drainage has led to     critical US conservation site. Pictured: Semi-natural wetland ecosystem under
waterfowl mortality from selenium             rice cultivation, southern Sri Lanka.

The big picture                               However, to do so requires that we term food, livelihood and environmen-
Efforts to improve our management of recognise the true socio-economic val- tal security will not be possible without
land and water resources must take ues of wetlands, looking beyond food integrated resource management, based
place within the river basin. This re- production to fisheries and other values on an appreciation of the true value of
quires both ecoagriculture strategies of natural biodiversity – which may even our natural resources, including our wa-
which combine increased ter and wetland resources.
                                          justify reconversion of agricultural areas
production and wild biodiversity con- to natural habitat.                               Biodiversity conservation and agri-
servation, and the integration of wetland     For instance, in the well studied case cultural production are part of the same
conservation and wise use principles of the Hadejia-Nguru wetlands, Nigeria, endeavour, and must continue to be
into basin planning and management.       it has been estimated that revenues from managed as such.
   Moreover, we must allocate sufficient proposed and existing irrigation projects
water to the wetlands themselves to in the area would recoup only 14% of                        Rebecca Tharme is Freshwater
maintain or restore their structure and losses due to wetland destruction.                 Ecologist at the International Water
functioning, as well as to provide water      Today, thanks to such examples, we                          Management Institute.
and other goods and services to people. are beginning to recognise that long-                   Visit

World Conservation 1/2003                                                                                                        11


p              rotection: the wider benefits
               Nigel Dudley

                                                         An hour’s drive north of Manhat- drinking water comes from the last
                                                         tan, the woods are so dense that sizeable area of tropical forest on the
                                                         you could imagine the metropo- island.
                                               lis a thousand miles away. How do for-        People appear to be increasingly
                                               ests survive on some of America’s most happy to pay for these services. In Costa
                                               saleable land?                             Rica, a micro-hydropower company that
                                                   Decades ago, the New York Council paid farmers to keep its catchment
                                               calculated that it was cheaper to purify forested, justified the tiny percentage of
                                             NIGEL DUDLEY

                                               drinking water by draining it through its turnover involved in terms of risk
                                               forested catchments than by building a control, even if there was no “proof” that
Drinking water for New York City is drawn
                                               new treatment plant. With none of the loss of forests would also reduce water.
from forests further north.                    controversy that surrounds wildlife con- In Guatemala, WWF and Pepsi-Cola are
                                               servation, the forests were protected, collaborating on a forest conservation
                                               and New Yorkers enjoy exceptionally fine project because the company relies on
                                               drinking water.                            the fresh water to make its drinks. In Viet
                                                   It is becoming harder to justify pro- Nam, the government is investigating
                                               tected areas by biodiversity alone. Yet payment for ecological services from
                                               conservation organizations still usually protected areas.
                                               just talk conservation. Protected wild        Staking the world’s protected areas
                                               habitat – in the right place and with good network on wildlife alone is a risky gam-
                                             NIGEL DUDLEY

                                               management – offers a portfolio of ben- ble. Identifying the wider benefits of
                                               efits, including soil and water manage- those protected areas could provide the
                                               ment, climate change mitigation, critical mass necessary for their survival.
Sign in Melbourne, Australia. Much of the      cultural survival and an enormous re-
city’s water comes from protected forests.                                                 Nigel Dudley has been working with Sue
                                               source for tourism – possibly the world’s
                                               biggest industry.                           Stolton, Rachel Asante-Owusu and Larry
                                                                                              Hamilton, to investigate links between
                                                   Links between protected areas and
                                                                                            water and protected areas for the World
                                               water remain controversial. Hydrologists
                                                                                           Bank. Their report will be launched at the
                                               are split about the relationship and
                                                                                                   Vth IUCN World Parks Congress.
                                               hypotheses that forests increased total
                                               water and decreased flooding have both
                                               been criticised. Today, a shaky consen-
                                               sus exists: forests do not have much im-
                                               pact on the quantity of water, except for
                                               cloud forests, but they substantially in-
                                               crease the purity of water – a conclusion
                                               that has enormous health and economic
                                                   In fact the scientific squabbling has
                                               largely been ignored by those providing
     Did you know...                           people with fresh water, many of whom
                                               simply assume that protecting forests in
     ●   Eighty-two of 114 water-              watersheds is good insurance. Our re-
         sheds studied world-wide              search suggests that a quarter to a third
         have less than 5% of their            of the world’s largest cities take some or
         land area under national
                                               all of their drinking water from catch-
         protection. (Revenga, 1998)           ments with protected forests – for exam-
     ●   The Amazon basin contains             ple Melbourne, Bogotá, Singapore,
                                               Johannesburg, Mumbai, Budapest and
                                                                                                                                        K. BEENHAKKER

         16 large cities, 9 large
         dams, 7 freshwater pro-               Rio de Janeiro.
         tected areas (Ramsar                      Many of these protected forests are in
         Sites), and 24 endemic bird           official protected areas with an IUCN
                                                                                          Protected wild habitat is an enormous
         areas. (IUCN/WRI, 2003)               category. And many smaller towns and resource for tourism, possibly the world’s
                                               cities do the same. Half of Puerto Rico’s biggest industy.

12                                                                                                        World Conservation 1/2003

a             ndalusia: the whole picture
              Fernando Molina

         Not very long ago Andalusia’s
         protected areas were managed
         with disregard for the ecological
processes, uses and exploitation which

                                                                                                                                                                                      OFICINA TÉCNICA CORREDOR VERDE DEL GUADIAMAR
took place beyond their boundaries.
But times have changed and so have at-
titudes and rules: protected areas must
now be considered in their broadest
environmental, economic and social
    This whole-ecosystem approach is
particularly appropriate for protected
areas linked to riverine habitats.
Exploitation and/or abuse of water
resources anywhere in the river basin           A 1998 spill of mine wastes severely affected the marshland of Spain’s Doñana Natural Park.
may bring about a collapse of entire
   A clear example is the case of Doñana                                       the mid-mountain protected areas to the
                                               riverbank and adjacent lands. The
National and Natural Parks in south-                                           North and the Doñana littoral to the
                                               negative effects were economic and
western Spain (the National Park is the                                        South. The Guadiamar Green Corridor
                                               social as well as ecological. The poisons
core area and the Natural Park is the                                          Project was therefore designed to do
                                               washed over fertile agricultural land,
buffer zone).                                                                  more than restore the function and dy-
                                               leaving unemployment and social dis-
   In 1998 in the Self-Governing Region        ruption in their wake.          namic equilibrium of the river basin; it
of Andalusia, a pool of sterile mine                                           also attempts to improve the standard of
                                                  This catastrophe shocked officials
wastes burst open. Although the mine                                           living of the basin’s inhabitants.
                                               into modifying their approach to con-
was more than 40km upriver from                                                    The project consists of four lines of
                                               servation and sustainable development
Doñana, the spill affected part of the                                         work: (1) monitoring, control and re-
                                               in Andalusia. One result was a project
Natural Park’s marshland and nearly                                            dress of pollution; (2) creation of an eco-
                                               for the functional restoration of the
fouled a wider area including the              Guadiamar River.                logical corridor to act as a refuge for wild
National Park’s marshes and estuary.                                           species, link different habitats and diver-
                                                   The river serves both as an ecologi-
   In all, sludge and acid polluted 55.6                                       sify the landscape; (3) restoration of the
                                               cal corridor and as an engine for social
km of river beds and 4900 hectares of          and economic development betweenbasin’s ecological integrity and (4) inte-
                                                                               gration of natural and human systems.
                                                                                   Protection of the Andalusian wet-
                                                                               lands has now been incorporated into
                                                                               the first planning document of its kind
                                                                               being prepared by a Spanish region, the
                                                                               Andalusian Wetland Plan.
                                                                                   Conceived as a sectoral chapter of the
                                                                               Guiding Plan of the Andalusian Network
                                                                               of Protected Areas, this visionary docu-
                                                                               ment incorporates the central lesson we
                                                                                            OFICINA TÉCNICA CORREDOR VERDE DEL GUADIAMAR

                                                                               learned from the Guadiamar Project:
                                                                               that the ecological integrity of a territory
                                    cannot be considered separately from
                                                                               the social, economic, historical and cul-
                                                                               tural functions of its natural resources.

                                                                                                                                                    Fernando Molina is Head of the
                                                                                                                                           Andalusian Network of Natural Protected
                                                                                                                                             Areas Coordination and Management
                                                                                                                                             Service, and was formerly Head of the
Sludge and acid pollution washed over fertile agricultural land, with severe economic                                                         Department of the Guadiamar Green
consequences for local populations.                                                                                                                      Corridor Technical Office.

World Conservation 1/2003                                                                                                                                                        13

 WATER            AND     LAW

w                 hy we need robust legal frameworks
                  John Scanlon

                                                                           Without effective legislation and       Protecting the public interest
                                                                           institutions all else fails. This is
                                                                                                                   We are witnessing a changing role of gov-
                                                                           one reason why ‘good govern-
                                                                                                                   ernment in service delivery and resource
                                                                   ance’ is essential at all levels if we are to
                                                                                                                   management and the greater use of mar-
                                                                   achieve the Millennium Development
                                                                                                                   ket based instruments in water manage-
                                                                   Goals. The enormous gap between the
                                                                                                                   ment. This does not mean that the role
                                                                   global discourse and the realities on-
                                                                                                                   of government is becoming less impor-
                                                                   the-ground needs to be overcome as a
                                                                                                                   tant, in many instances it becomes more
                                                                   matter of urgency.
                                                                                                                   important, in particular in relation to the
                                                                      This is not an academic exercise. It
                                                                                                                   development and effective implementa-
                                                                   involves applying agreed principles.
                                                                                                                   tion of a sound legal framework that ad-
                                                                   This means working through difficult
                                               IUCN/JOHN SCANLON

                                                                                                                   equately protects the public interest.
                                                                   negotiations and making trade-offs. It
                                                                                                                      It is for governments and parliaments
                                                                   requires a sensitivity to local conditions,
                                                                                                                   to identify and adequately protect the
                                                                   local politics and an understanding of
                                                                                                                   public interest and legal frameworks
                                                                   local community values.
Experts from Hue explain the impact of salt                                                                        must clearly address equity, sustain-
                                                                      There is no such thing as model leg-
water intrusion on local people in the Huong                                                                       ability, transparency, participation and
(Perfume) River.                                                   islation or model institutions, and there
                                                                                                                   accountability issues.
                                                                   is no substitute for going through the
                                                                                                                      The importance of strong legal frame-
                                                                   hard work, country by country, basin by
                                                                                                                   works cannot be looked at in isolation
                                                                                                                   from the need to build domestic capac-
                                                                                                                   ity for the effective implementation and
                                                                                                                   enforcement of such frameworks. We
     For me our rivers are our ‘mother’, our lifeblood – one way or                                                need to address critical development is-
     another they link us no matter where we live – through story,                                                 sues today while systematically building
     experience, need and often conflict.                                                                          capacity for the future.
                                                                                           – Leith Boully             Where capacity is currently limited
                                                                                                                   care needs to be taken to ensure that no
                                                                                                                   one is unfairly disadvantaged. Targeted
                                                                   Clear roles and responsibilities                capacity building may need to be devel-
                                                 Decentralization and devolution of au-                            oped or provided in innovative ways to
                                                 thority must occur within a clear legis-                          ensure negotiating positions are as fair
                                                 lative framework. Community-based                                 and equitable as possible.
                                                 catchment organizations will not work                                    John Scanlon is Head of the IUCN
                                                 without the necessary powers and finan-                               Environmental Law Programme and a
                                                 cial support. This must be resolved                                    former Commissioner on the Murray
                                                 through the development of legislative                                           Darling Basin Commission.
                                                 frameworks that clearly set out roles and                                    Visit
                                                 responsibilities, the requirement for
                                                 openness and transparency and include
                                                 the ability to raise and expend funds.                               Did you know...
                                                    International waters have been the
                                                 subject of much academic and political
                                                                                                                      ●    In 1995, some 41% of the
                                                                                                                           world’s population, or 2.3
                                                 debate and various instruments have
                                                                                billion people, inhabited river
                                                 been drafted over many years. The prin-
                                                                                                                           basins under water stress.
                                                 ciples are clear; what is needed is less de-
                                                 bate on underlying principles and more
                                                 attention paid to the applied implemen-
                                                                                                                      ●    Between 1900 and 1995,
                                                                                                                           human water withdrawals
                                                 tation of such principles. This requires
                                                                                                                           increased by a factor of more
                                                 often difficult discourse but it cannot be
                                                                                                                           than six, which is more than
                                                 avoided, and must involve and actively
                                                                                                                           twice the rate of population
                                                 engage the whole river basin commu-
                                                                                                                           growth. (WMO, 1997)
                                                 nity. There are no shortcuts.

14                                                                                                                                World Conservation 1/2003


   f           rom principle to practice:
               a case study from Viet Nam
               Megan Dyson

        IUCN has wasted no time in
        moving from the lofty debates
        on water policy at the 3rd World
Water Forum in Kyoto to putting policy
into practice in the Thua Thien Hue
Province, Viet Nam.
   On 27 March a Workshop was held on
River Basin Organizations (RBOs) in Hue
as a part of the IUCN VN WANI Huong
Basin Integrated Management Project.
The Workshop was held to discuss op-
tions for the establishment of an RBO for
the Huong River Basin. The Workshop
was chaired by Chairman Me, the Chair-
man of the Peoples’ Committee for the
Thua Thien Hue Province, together with

                                                                                                                                  IUCN/JOHN SCANLON
Mr Nguyen Minh Thong, IUCN Viet Nam
Country Representative.
   Following a week of meetings with
local officials and experts, a detailed
presentation on RBOs was made by the Shrimp aquaculture along the shoreline of one of the lagoons of the Huong (Perfume) River.
Head of the IUCN Environmental Law
Programme to facilitate consideration of
possible options for the Huong River           Five key criteria for successful RBOs
Basin. This presentation included an were identified during the Workshop.
overview of RBOs that have been Not surprisingly, the first criteria was
established in over 10 countries, both that successful RBOs are created in the
sub-national and trans-national.            context of the reality of existing condi-
   The presentation highlighted how tions – namely, it is important not to try
many RBOs have evolved and improved to comprehensively apply someone
over time, such as has been the case with else’s model.
the evolution of the Murray Darling Ba-        The other key criteria identified were
sin Commission (Australia) over the past the importance of a stable institutional
85 years. While the concept of RBO has and legal framework, a strong knowl-
been successfully applied around the edge base, integration across all natural
world, none are exactly the same due to resource issues and strong community
different administrative structures of the awareness and participation. There were
State, cultural and political traditions, many other issues addressed within the
the nature of demand and supply of context of these five broad headings.
water and the physical attributes of           Drawing upon agreed international
                                            principles and experiences from other      The 1971 Ramsar Convention on
the basin.
                                                                                       Wetlands is one of the world’s first
   Hence, there is no ‘model’ RBO, but parts of the world has helped contribute
                                 global conservation treaties and the
there are some good principles. Just as to the ongoing consideration of what is
                                                                                       only global instrument in force deal-
there is no ‘perfect’ RBO, only the best the best result for the Huong River Ba-
                                                                                       ing with water resources.
RBO in the context of the current politi- sin and its people in the context of local
cal, social, economic and environmen- laws and conditions.                             No. of Parties (1 May 2003): 136
tal circumstances. The underlying                        Megan Dyson is Chair of the   No. of sites: 1267
principles are known and need to be ap-           CEL Water and Wetlands Specialist    Total surface area: 107,473,745 ha
plied locally, drawing upon the benefit            Group of the IUCN Commission on
of comparative experience as necessary        Environmental Law, and Environmental
and appropriate.                                Law and Policy Consultant, Australia.

World Conservation 1/2003                                                                                                     15



16                                                    World Conservation 1/2003


    Environmental water scarcity
    Over 1.4 billion people live in river basins where high
    water-stress levels threaten the environment, illustrat-
    ing that we are abstracting too much water from our
    rivers, streams, and lakes. The 'global environmental
    water scarcity map' is the first effort to look at the re-
    quirements of freshwater ecosystems on a global
    scale. It shows where and to what extent water diver-
    sions impact on freshwater ecosystems downstream,
    and enables researchers to look at the trade-offs be-
    tween agriculture and the environment. The map is a
    product of a joint study by the International Water Man-
    agement Institute (IWMI), the World Resources Insti-
    tute (WRI), the Center for Environmental Systems
    Research of Kassel University (KU) and IUCN – The
    World Conservation Union.

World Conservation 1/2003                                                     17

 WATER            AND     BUSINESS

w                ater is everybody’s business
                 Ashok Khosla

         Does it take wartime TV images       national and the local level) to ensure
                                                                             indeed they have already done in huge
         of civilians waving fistfuls of      that everyone has access to his or her
                                                                             quantities with bottled water.
         money in the hope of purchas-        minimum requirements.             But efficiency alone is not enough to
ing a canteen of water for their dehy-           Public systems are not always effi-
                                                                             justify handing over such a resource to
drated children to arouse our collective      cient, and there is growing desire among
                                                                             an outside agency, unless it is willing to
consciences? How many of us recall that       economists and decision makers to
                                                                             take on a universal service obligation to
there is another war that has been going      hand over the responsibility of deliver-
                                                                             ensure that all basic needs are met, on a
on for quite some time – the war against      ing water to private companies. The
                                                                             transparent, accountable and perma-
chronic poverty, disease, hunger and          trouble is that the primary job of private
                                                                             nent basis.
thirst throughout the Third World? A war      companies is to make money, and they
                                                                                A whole new kind of public-private
that seems to go on without an end in         are not usually concerned about the
                                                                             partnership is needed, far more complex
sight, a war that no one seems to be win-     rights of individuals or of the need for
                                                                             than the simplistic solutions so far
ning – or even wanting to win.                equitable distribution of their products.
                                                                             mooted – mostly by vested interests.
   Water, particularly drinking water,                                          The organizers of the 2nd World Water
                                                 There clearly is good money to be
has to be seen as a basic human right.        made in delivering water, and the private
                                                                             Forum (WWF2) in 2000, recognising the
As such, it is unquestionably the respon-     sector is ready and willing to add this
                                                                             importance of involving the corporate
sibility of governments (both at the          vital resource to its range of products, as
                                                                             business sector in their deliberations,
                                                                             organized a panel of CEOs representing
                                                                             11 large companies involved in water
                                                                             management. At the recent WWF3, the
                                                                             Panel stated that “water lies at the heart
                                                                             of protecting the global environment,
                                                                             promoting social progress and nurturing
                                                                             economic growth”, and presented a
                                                                             number of water-related projects.
                                                                                Naturally, their pronouncements are
                                                                             met with some scepticism in the envi-
                                                                             ronment and development communi-
                                                                             ties, where they are seen as disguising
                                                                             the business community’s real agenda:
                                                                             to deregulate the water sector and treat
                                                                             water as an economic good subject to
                                                                             the laws of supply and demand and
                                                                             profit-making, rather than as a human
                                                                             right and environmental necessity.
                                                                                If the CEO panel, through the actions
                                                                             of their companies, can demonstrate
                                                                             that businesses can be environmentally
                                                                             and socially responsible in regards to
                                                                             this ultimate natural resource, and they
                                                                             are willing to commit themselves to the
                                                                             long haul, there may be some possi-
                                                                             bility for the kinds of partnerships
                                                                                Changing corporate policy is one
                                  thing, setting up a socially equitable and
                                                                                            UNEP/EDUARDO AUGUSTO MUYAERTA

                                                                             ecosystem approach to water manage-
                                                                             ment in practice is quite another.

                                                                                                                            Ashok Khosla is the founder and Director
                                                                                                                             of Development Alternatives Group, and
                                                                                                                                  a former IUCN Regional Councillor.
Is water just another commodity, to be priced according to the laws of supply and demand?                                                      Visit

18                                                                                                                                        World Conservation 1/2003


c           alling all sectors!
            Peter B. Spillett

        The 3 rd World Water Forum in
        Kyoto was notable for organized
        protests against the role of the
private sector in water management.
This is ironic when you consider that
private sector involvement represents
less than 5% of the global water market.
Further, the challenge to meet the mil-
lennium goals on access to clean water
and public sanitation will require huge
resources and innovative thinking from
all sectors of society, including the
private sector.
   Many people confuse public-private
partnership (PPP) with full blown priva-
tization of water, including ownership of
the assets. In fact PPP represents sev-
eral forms of partnership including serv-                  The shelduck Tadorna
ice contracts, management contracts,                            tadorna is one of
lease contracts, build-own-operate or                           many waterbirds
                                                              which has found a
build-operate-transfer and concession                           refuge in greater

                                                                                                                                         JONATHAN LEACH/WWT
contracts, with full privatization at one                    London, thanks to a
end of the spectrum.                                        partnership between
                                                                  Thames Water,
   The private sector can play an impor-                        Berkeley Homes
tant role – in strong partnerships with                     and the Wildfowl and
                                                                  Wetlands Trust.

                                                the public sector – if requested to do so. Thames has focused on wetland creation
                                                National and local governments should and biodiversity for which it has received
                                                have absolute freedom to decide several awards.
                                                whether or not to involve the private         The jewel in the crown, perhaps, is the
                                                sector.                                    Barnes Wetland Reserve in S.W. London.
                                                   Private sector participation (PSP) can Created after a complex of four storage
                                                make a powerful contribution to meet- reservoirs became redundant, it is a
                                            THAMES WATER

                                                ing the needs of a community for water prime example of how the private sec-
                                                and sanitation at a fair and affordable tor can generate benefits for society and
                                                price. The strengths of the private sec- the environment. Thames sold off a frac-
The Barnes Wetland Reserve is a 40-ha
nature reserve created by Thames Water          tor include sharing risks, securing tion of the complex to a private housing
and managed by the Wildfowl and Wetlands        investment, providing managerial ex- developer to fund the creation of a 40 ha
Trust.                                          pertise and obtaining scientific and nature reserve which is managed by the
                                                technical resources. These strengths, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.
                                                however, are compromised without              Four years on, nearly 200 species of
                                                sound institutional, regulatory and fi- bird have visited the site and Barnes is
                                                nancial frameworks. Creating these home to several endangered species as
                                     well as threatened mammals like the
                                                frameworks requires a multi-sector ap-
                                                proach and capacity building. Local water vole. Barnes Wetland Reserve is
                                                communities must be involved, but the largest man-made urban wetland
                                                many water problems have to be ad- reserve in Europe, not much more than
                                                dressed on a larger scale.
                                            THAMES WATER

                                                                                           a stone’s throw from central London!
                                                   Thames Water has a long history of
                                                working in partnership with regulatory       Peter B. Spillett is Head of Environment,
The reserve is home to threatened mammals       bodies, NGOs, and local governments Quality and Sustainability, Thames Water.
including the water vole Arvicola terrestris.   for environmental gain. In particular,                  Visit

World Conservation 1/2003                                                                                                           19


                                                                                                                                  UNEP/SAM KITTNER
p           aying for water services
            Stefano Pagiola

         Water is valuable – even vital – countries are experimenting with such imposition of such fees, but the alterna-
         but most users pay little or noth- systems, many with World Bank assist- tive is often the loss or degradation of
         ing for it. Worse, those who man- ance.                                      their water services – which are usually
age lands that help regulate hydrological      Though the theory is simple and com- far more expensive than the amount of
flows get no compensation for the water pelling, putting it into practice is not the fee.
services their land generates. Vegetation easy. The process begins with a clear          The monies collected must then reach
cover and management practices affect identification of the services being the land users in ways that influence
infiltration, runoff, and evapotranspira- sought. Domestic water supply systems their land use decisions appropriately.
tion rates, thus affecting the quantity, require a constant flow and high qual- Such payments must usually be continu-
quality, and timing of waterflows. But ity, but hydroelectric power producers ous and open-ended, as the incentive
land users have no incentive to take with reservoirs usually prize total vol- effect only lasts as long as the payment.
these effects into account in making de- ume and care little about water quality We have seen time and again that these
cisions about land use. The result is that except for the absence of sedimentation. problems cannot be solved with one-
these valuable services are often lost.     Next, the relationship between these shot, short-term projects.
   The “payment for environmental services and upstream land uses needs                  For all this to happen, supporting in-
services” (PES) approach addresses this to be understood. Both qualitatively and, stitutions need to be in place, including
problem by paying land users for the organizations that fulfill roles such
                                            especially, quantitatively, we often know
environmental services they generate, less about how land uses affect water as collecting payments from service us-
thus aligning their incentives with those services than we think we do.               ers and making payments to service pro-
of society as a whole.                         A means must then be devised to cap- viders, and clear ‘rules of the game’ such
   The central principles of PES are that ture part of the service users’ willingness as clearly defined property rights.
those who provide environmental serv- to pay for the service. For example, the
ices should be compensated for doing so town of Heredia, in Costa Rica, charges        Stefano Pagiola is Senior Environmental
and that those who receive the services its water users an ‘environmentally-                      Economist in the Environment
should pay for their provision. Several adjusted’ water fee. Users often resist the               Department of the World Bank.

20                                                                                                  World Conservation 1/2003


Rina Rosales
                   t Kanla-On:
                   bearing the costs

         Ecosystem watershed services         its diverse flora and fauna is classified as
         are known to be critical compo-      threatened, critical or endangered.
         nents of the water supply chain,         Located within the Park is the Bago
yet planners and developers have rou-         watershed, which comprises 75% of the

                                                                                                                                                              JOEL AMPILOQUIO/SIERRA TREKKERS
tinely failed to account for their true       Park’s total area.
value. The resulting sub-optimal use              Around 3000 families lay claim to ten-
and allocation of water resources have        ure within the Park. Their extraction of
had social, economic and environmen-          non-timber forest products and forest-
tal costs. It makes economic sense to in-     clearing activities threaten the water-
vest in the natural ecosystems that           shed, which supplies water to around
underpin our water supply. One inno-          158,500 ha downstream – some 27% of
vation is the introduction of market-         total alienable and disposable land of                              Two views of Mt Kanla-On: Makawiwili peak
based instruments to ensure that              the whole province of Negros Occidental                             (top) and Samoc lagoon.
landholders are rewarded for maintain-        – and several commercial operations in-
ing natural ecosystems.                                                         One solution has been offered by the
                                              cluding a large mineral water process-
    Mt Kanla-On Natural Park is one of                                       Park’s Protected Area Management
                                              ing plant run by SMC-Viva just outside
the Philippines’ ten priority protected       the Park’s boundary.           Board (PAMB), composed of govern-
areas. Located mid-west of the country,                                      ment and non-government representa-
                                                  Safeguarding these water supplies
it covers some 24,500 ha and its highest                                     tives. Through the National Integrated
                                              will require a mechanism to encourage
peak reaches 2,435m. Its dense/closed                                        Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act of
                                              the upstream communities to shift
canopy montane rainforest turns into                                         1992, the board may charge fees from
                                              towards more environment-friendly
dwarf forest at higher altitude. Most of      land-use practices.            both extractive and non-extractive users
                                                                             of the Park’s natural resources.
                                                                                An economic valuation study based
                                                                             on the concept of ‘economic rent’ (i.e.
                                                                             the value of unpaid natural resources
                                                                             which is captured in excess profit) de-
                                                                             termined that SMC-Viva could rightly be
                                                                             charged the equivalent of US$4,000 –
                                                                             18,000 per year in watershed protection
                                                                             fees. This sum could serve as a tremen-
                                                                             dous source of financing for the Park’s
                                                                             programmes and projects, and used to
                                                                             compensate the community residents
                                                                             for any ‘opportunity costs’ incurred as
                                                                             they shift their land use towards conser-
                                                                             vation objectives.
                                                                                This case is typical of watersheds all
                                                                             over the world, where downstream ben-
                                                                             eficiaries of watershed protection serv-
                                                                             ices get to enjoy the benefits at highly
                                                                             undervalued prices while poor upland
                                                                             communities bear the costs. Let us hope
                                  that Mt Kanla-On soon becomes an ex-
                                                                             ample of how payments for watershed
                                                                             protection services can be used to com-
                                                                             pensate providers of the environmental
                                                                                             UNEP/LITO C OCAMPO

                                                                                                                       Rina Maria P Rosales is Coordinator,
                                                                                                                             IUCN Regional Environmental
                                                                                                                             Economics Programme, Asia.
Intangible values: Philippino devotees bathe in the falls of Banahaw mountain, whose water
is considered holy.                                                                                                 Visit

World Conservation 1/2003                                                                                                                                 21


t         he unavoidable current:
          mainstreaming gender in the water sector
          Lorena Aguilar

         Participants in the 2 nd World
         Water Forum (WWF2) in 2000
         recognised that the water sector
 has largely been technology-driven and
 focused on engineering solutions. It has
 tended to ignore the social context of
 resource use, particularly the differing
 roles of women and men, poor and rich
 communities, and minority and major-
 ity cultures.
    Moreover, it has failed to value or
 even acknowledge women’s contribu-
 tions to the management, knowledge
 and use of water and other natural re-
 sources. As a result of this discrimina-

                                                                                                                                                            IUCN/GER BERGKAMP
 tion and ignorance, women have been
 left powerless and without access to re-
 sources, credit and markets.
    The agricultural sector is a case
 in point. Water management for agri-                              A woman weaving baskets in the Okavango Delta. Women play an important role in the use
 culture is generally poor and wasteful,                           of natural resources derived from freshwater ecosystems.

                                           contributing to environmental degrada- ä Public agencies and water service
                                           tion. New large-scale developments of-       providers should account for their
                                           ten diminish common resources, such as       services to both male and female
                                           rivers and wetlands, that may provide        heads of households.
                                           the only livelihood for the very poor.
                                                                                     No more excuses
                                           This is a gender issue because more than
                                           70% of the world’s poor are women.        Despite some progress, still not enough
                                              Now that we recognise the problem is being done. We have failed to trans-
                                           what can we do about it?                  late theoretical concepts about gender
                                           ä We need to change our fundamental into action and measurable change.
                                              attitudes toward water resource man-      The UN Millennium Summit 2000
                                              agement. We need a more holistic ap-   and the World Summit on Sustainable
                                              proach that emphasises gender, social Development 2002 launched the 21
                                              justice and human rights. It should century with a challenge and a promise –
                                              be based on a better analysis of pat- to halve by 2015 the proportion of peo-
                                              terns of use, knowledge and skills re- ple without access to sanitation and also
                                              garding conservation and sustainable to halve the proportion of people who
                                              use of the resource.                   are unable to reach or afford safe drink-
                                           ä Governments should involve interest ing water. Realizing this promise will de-
                                              groups in all levels of decision mak- pend in part on how successfully we
                                              ing and policy making, and facilitate empower women to manage and benefit
                                their communities’ water resources.
                                              the participation of all stakeholders,
                                              particularly women.                       Gender can no longer be considered
                                            IUCN/HANS FRIEDERICH

                                           ä Governments and other public sec-       an emerging issue. There have already
                                              tor organizations, businesses and been too many compromises and delays.
                                              NGOs need to demonstrate a greater It is high time to deliver on our commit-
                                              commitment to environmental sus- ments with action and change.
                                              tainability, gender equity and social                          Lorena Aguilar is
Large-scale development often diminishes
the common resources on which the poor –      justice in integrated water resources             IUCN Special Advisor, Gender.
most of whom are women – depend.              management.                                Visit

22                                                                                                                            World Conservation 1/2003


                                                                                                                                              PHOTOS: ROB KOUDSTAAL
Tidal River Management (TRM) in Bangladesh: destruction of a dam will allow tidal flows to dredge the area (left). TRM allows a mixture of
small-scale subsistence livelihoods – fishing (centre) and agriculture (right) – to co-exist with commercial agriculture and aquaculture.

b              eyond participation:
               negotiated river basin management
               Danielle Hirsch

         The 3 rd World Water Forum             environmental impact analysis of its            Water Resources Management Plan for
         (March 2003) recognised locally-       proposal for a high-tech, large-scale           the area.
         rooted water management strat-         regulator. CEGIS soon discovered that              This case illustrates how the active
egies as sustainable, pro-poor options          the regulator-approach would fail to            involvement of local water users can
for solving the growing water crisis. In        meet the needs of the people living in the      generate major changes in water man-
daily practice, however, these ap-              area. It set out to develop a management        agement, particularly when unimpeded
proaches continue to be seen as mar-            alternative in close cooperation with the       by disabling government policies.
ginal add-ons to top-down water                 local population.
management approaches.                             The result was a decentralized, low-
                                                                                                Participation calls for negotiation
   The project ‘River Basin Manage-             tech solution known as Tidal River Man-         Case analyses demonstrate that negoti-
ment: A Negotiated Approach’ – a joint          agement (TRM) which depends on the              ated approaches should not be equated
effort of Both ENDS and Gomukh – sets           tidal regime to drain the area. Whereas         with participatory approaches. First and
out to demonstrate that locally-rooted          the proposed regulator would have               foremost, negotiated processes also re-
initiatives are realistic alternatives to to-   largely benefited the surplus agricultural      quire an enabling policy environment
day’s mainstream, centralized, infra-           and aquaculture sectors, TRM allows a           that allows for conscientiously designed
structure-driven water management               mixture of small-scale subsistence live-        decision-making processes. Such proc-
strategies.                                     lihoods – fisheries and agriculture – to        esses have to be supported by capacity-
   The unifying premise of the project is       co-exist with commercial agriculture            building to enhance local actors’ ability
that negotiation is the essential element       and aquaculture activities.                     to negotiate effectively. In addition, a
for equitable and sustainable ap-
proaches to water management. Where
mainstream approaches often mar-                    The TRM concept has proven itself the best strategy to address
ginalize local actors, bottom-up initia-            the issue of water-logging in the Ganges Delta, thanks largely to
tives intentionally set up basin-level              the involvement of ‘water committees’ in every village.
negotiations that include all relevant
actors: men and women, urban and ru-                                       – Ashraf-ul-Alam Tutu, Coordinator, Coastal Development
ral people, up-stream and down-stream                                                         Partnership (CDP), Khulna, Bangladesh
An example from Bangladesh                         Extensive analysis of socio-economic,        truly negotiated process calls for local
In order to resolve a severe problem of         institutional and environmental consid-         actors to develop a clear, broad vision
water logging in Kuhlna-Jessore, one of         erations favoured the TRM alternative.          that reaches beyond their micro-
the most densely populated coastal              The ADB and the Bangladesh Govern-              watersheds.
areas of Bangladesh, the Asian Develop-         ment concurred, and the plan is cur-
ment Bank (ADB) asked the Centre for            rently being implemented.                                   Danielle Hirsch is Programme
Environmental and Geographic Infor-                At the moment, nine Water Manage-                                   Officer, Both ENDS.
mation Services (CEGIS) to conduct an           ment Associations are finalizing the                              Visit

World Conservation 1/2003                                                                                                                    23


 a              wise investment
                Will Darwall

          Our new century presents a criti-
          cal challenge to the world com-
          munity: to provide safe drinking
water and sanitation for all. Construc-
tion of the inland water systems required
to meet this challenge, along with the
hydroelectric facilities needed to power
economic growth, can have severe im-
plications for freshwater biodiversity.
    Many communities depend on fresh-
water species for their basic needs. This
fact of local life requires much greater in-
tegration of biodiversity considerations
into development plans for inland
waters. But so far the international

                                                                                                                                               IUCN/WILL DARWALL
community has largely neglected
biodiversity as a factor, in its rush to
build dams and channel rivers.
    The result has been an alarming loss
of habitat and perhaps the greatest rate       Gillnet fisher on the Mekong River near Huay Xai, Lao PDR. Small fish such as these form the
                                               mainstay of many local fisheries.
of reputed species extinctions within any
ecosystem in current times.
    How can we rectify this sad situation?        Filling this knowledge gap is the goal
Since it results largely from a lack of in-    of the IUCN Freshwater Species
sight into the functions and values of         Biodiversity Assessment Programme.
freshwater ecosystems, a good place to            For example, we have a new project
start is by making relevant information        underway in Eastern Africa – a region
on species available to planners and           noted for its high level of human de-
policy makers. But in spite of the fact        pendence on food products and income

                                                                                                                                               IUCN/WILL DARWALL
that freshwater ecosystems provide an          derived from inland waters. The project
immense array of goods and services to         will set up a local network of experts and
local communities, this basic informa-         train them in biodiversity assessment
tion about species is sadly lacking.           tools. It will also carry out direct assess-
                                                                                              Ucayali River, Peru. The fisherman is carrying
                                               ments of species conservation status
                                                                                              Arapaima gigas, local names Paiche or
                                               and distributions in Kenya, Tanzania,          Piraruccu. This species, which is reputed to
                                               Malawi, Uganda and Burundi.                    grow up to 250 kg, is a popular food fish and
     Did you know...                                                                          is caught in the small lakes adjacent to the
                                                                                              main river. It is listed on Appendix II of
                                               Diversifying our                               CITES.
     ●   Species-rich areas such as
                                               ‘biodiversity portfolio’
         the Paraná watershed, as
         well as much of the Amazon,      An estimated 45,000 species have been         I like to compare freshwater species
         the Congo, and almost all        described to date that rely on freshwa- conservation to investing in the stock
         the basins in India, China,      ter habitats. But what are the benefits of market. Financial advisers will tell you
         Southeast Asia, and Papua        conserving so many?                        to spread your risk through investing in
         New Guinea, have less than          When making the case to develop- a wide range of stocks. By the same prin-
         5% of their area protected.
                               cipal we must conserve the maximum
                                          ment planners, we should emphasise
         (Revenga, 1998)                  that freshwater species provide the prod- number of species to help ensure against
                                          ucts upon which many of the poorest the impacts from environmental
     ●   The richest areas of the
                                          communities depend. We should point change.
         world for fish species are the
                                          out the economic value of ecosystem
         Amazon with more than
                                          services provided by wetlands, by clean-       Will Darwall is Freshwater Biodiversity
         3000, the Mekong with over
                                          ing water supplies and buffering the Assessment Officer for the IUCN Species
         1200, and the Congo with
                                          impacts of extreme events such as floods                 Survival Commission (SSC).
         700 (IUCN/WRI, 2003)
                                          and droughts.                                         Visit

24                                                                                                            World Conservation 1/2003


   f             reshwater fisheries:
                 maintaining the flow
                 Patrick Dugan

         As efforts to conserve freshwater       best to influence these. In particular, we
         biodiversity increase, so each          need to assess what information is useful
         year sees more eloquent writing         where. While in some cases a full assess-
and forceful conference presentations            ment of the value of freshwater
extolling the value of these resources and       biodiversity will be useful, only rarely
the threats they face.                           will the funds be available. In many cases
    Yet if we use the World Summit on            more focused analyses of key resources
Sustainable Development (WSSD) or the            are likely to be more effective.
3 rd World Water Forum ( WWF3) as                   For most of the world’s tropical rivers

                                                                                                                                                               IUCN/LUCAS CHAMBERS
indicators of progress, there is little          the most important of these resources is
indication that this investment has done         fish. This is spectacularly evident in
more than strengthen the concern and             places such as the Inner Niger Delta
conviction of those who were already             where heavily laden canoes testify to the
aware of the need to manage water to             annual catch of some 100,000 tonnes, or
sustain aquatic biodiversity.                    on the Mekong where the bulging nets                             flow requirements, and to engage with
     Crucially there are few signs that the      of the Dai fishery alone catch up to                             policy processes where decisions on
wider constituency of farmers, water             20,000 tonnes per year. But the fisheries                        future water use will be made.
managers, politicians and development            of small rivers are equally important for                           Better understanding of these policy
agencies – key stakeholders in the grow-         the people who live on their shores and                          processes, supported with better infor-
ing debate on water management – have            who depend on these resources for their                          mation on the value and water require-
been engaged effectively so far. As we           livelihoods.                                                     ments of river fisheries, will play a
move on from WWF3, achieving such                   As for other aquatic resources, these                         central role in helping to maintain these
engagement is the main challenge for             river fisheries, and their contribution to                       water flows and so sustain the aquatic
those concerned about freshwater                 livelihood and food security, are highly                         resources and livelihoods dependent
biodiversity.                                    dependent upon the flooding regime. If                           upon them.
    Meeting this challenge will require          they are to be sustained, however, in the
much better understanding of the                 face of competing demands for freshwa-                           Patrick Dugan is Deputy Director General
policy-making processes governing                ter, we need to work with fishers and                             for Africa and West Asia, The World Fish
freshwater management, and in turn               other key stakeholders to build wider                                            Center (formerly ICLARM).
greater clarity and realism about how            awareness of their importance and their                                      Visit

                                                                                                                      Did you know...

                                                                                                                      ●   In Asia, the fishery of the
                                                                                                                          Lower Mekong Basin totals
                                                                                                                          approximately two million
                                                                                                                          tonnes annually for a total
                                                                                                                          retail value of some
                                                                                                                          US$2 billion.
                                                                                                                      ●   Africa’s larger floodplains
                                                                                                                          including the Inner Delta of
                                                                                                                          the Niger, the Sudd of the
                                                                                                                          Nile, and Lake Chad, each
                                                                                                                          yield up to 100,000 tonnes
                                                                                                                          per year and generate
                                                                                                  PATRICK DUGAN

                                                                                                                          annual income in excess of
                                                                                                                          US$20–25 million.

Fish market in Mopti, Mali. The fisheries of Africa’s rivers and wetlands are crucial resources                                         – Patrick Dugan
for the people who live on their shores.

World Conservation 1/2003                                                                                                                                 25


b            ridging the gaps: communicating science
             for coastal management
             Don Alcock

         Convincing people who use land
         and water resources of the value
         of longer-term, strategic coastal
planning and scientific analysis is not
always easy. Nor is training researchers
to understand the short-term needs of
farmers, fishers or business owners.
Building the long-term relationships
needed to solve common problems re-
quires breaking down the cultural barri-
ers that divide these groups.

                                                                                                                                     COURTESY COASTAL CRC
   There are several ways to do this.
Workshops are useful for sharing knowl-
edge, planning management action and
communicating results. Moreover, be-
cause different stakeholders use knowl-
edge in different ways, it is a good idea to
                                             A recent Coastal CRC project helped set freshwater targets for fisheries produc-
provide a mix of communication products
                                             tivity. The project team, working with commercial and recreational fishers, deter-
and activities – newsletters, reports,
                                             mined the population of barramundi, a popular estuarine fish species, and found
displays, databases, websites, seminars,
                                             regular flooding increased the survival of juveniles in the Fitzroy River basin. Tar-
conferences and media campaigns.
                                             gets have now been set to release freshwater from a dam (pictured) for environ-
   Ultimately however, the most effec-
                                             mental reasons. The barramundi fishery can now be sustained for the future.
tive way to achieve results is by creating
strong formal and informal networks at
the local level between scientists, organizations to manage projects. Each
government and community decision project usually includes a mix of ecosys-
makers. Using such principles, Austral- tem health monitoring and assessment,
ia’s Cooperative Research Centre for decision frameworks, modelling, envi-
Coastal Zone, Estuary and Waterway ronmental planning, data management
Management (Coastal CRC) provides and citizen science activities. Projects
decision-making tools and know-how and project teams are jointly developed
for improving the health of coastal with local stakeholder advisory groups.
catchments and waterways. Its research          In the Fitzroy River catchment of cen-
and development programme – a joint tral Queensland, for example, local
venture between the Australian govern- stakeholders work with CRC researchers                Did you know...
ment and several public sector and pri- to determine community attitudes and
vate organizations – comprises assess the values of waterways, under-                        ● Freshwater ecosystems
multi-disciplinary research projects at stand biochemical and physical dynam-                    worldwide provide an
selected coastal catchments using par- ics of estuaries, and allocation of                       estimated annual benefit
ticipatory approaches with stakeholders. freshwater for urban use and habitat                    of US$ 8700 billion.
   Participating organizations share protection (see photo).                                     (Constanza, 1997)
project management, funding, in-kind            Scientists are often criticised for          ● An estimated 50% of all
support, equipment and expertise to working on pet projects in isolation, and                    wetlands were lost over
address key issues such as the
                                             failing to communicate results to the               the last century. (Myers,
of increasing population on the coastal public. Collaborative applied research                   1997)
zone. Wherever possible, project teams networks can bridge the gaps between
include a wide gamut of ‘knowledge us- scientists and the community – and
                                                                                             ● 3011 freshwater species
                                                                                                 are currently listed as
ers’ such as local natural resource plan- between science, policy and planning.
                                                                                                 threatened or endangered
ners and managers, farmers, fishers,
                                                                                                 in the IUCN Red List of
conservationists and industry leaders.         Don Alcock is Communication Manager               Threatened Species.
   The Coastal CRC also acts as a                                       at Coastal CRC.
knowledge broker between interested                        Visit

26                                                                                                     World Conservation 1/2003


 l         ake Öreg: where nature
           and culture coexist
           András Bõhm and László Musicz

          The Hungarian town of Tata, can combine to enrich the lives of eve-
          home to 25,000 people, is situ- ryone who lives beside or near the lake.
          ated on the shores of Lake Öreg     Many of Tata’s residents became in-
where humans have lived for 50,000 volved in the process of transforming
years. Today the area is known for its their town. As a result, awareness of the
outstanding natural assets, its economic natural values of the wetland greatly in-
and cultural history, and its attraction creased. This became visible when citi-
as a tourist destination.                   zens and the Local Government voted
   In spite of being almost completely against the construction of a golf course
surrounded by the historic town, and right in the middle of the most impor-

                                                                                                                                         LÁSZLÓ MUSICZ
measuring barely 2 km2, the lake is one tant resting and feeding area of the
of central Europe’s most important win- geese. And recently, stakeholder groups
tering areas for waterbirds, and has joined together to sponsor the establish-
been designated as a wetland of inter- ment of a visitor centre.                        A visitor centre to be built next to the bird-
                                                                                        watching tower will help stimulate interest in
national importance under the Ramsar          Although the townspeople have be- the lake’s natural values.
Convention.                                 gun to feel emotionally bound to their
    Today several groups of people use magnificent lake, much remains to be
the lake, resulting in threats to its water done. Not all the town’s leaders have
quality.                                    been convinced to forsake rapid
   Afer Hungary’s political transition in economic development in favour of
the 1990s, local people began to con- environmental and aesthetic considera-
sider ways to exploit the lake economi- tions. We must remain vigilant and con-

                                                                                                                                         LÁSZLÓ MUSICZ
cally. Unfortunately, nature-lovers were tinue our efforts to further increase
unable to convey a corresponding mes- environmental awareness through
sage about the natural values and eco- effective communication.
                                                                                        The 2001 communications project
logical importance of the lake. As a                                                    culminated in Tata’s Wild Geese Festival.
result, a communication programme for             András Bõhm is Zoological Officer,
the wetland was carried out in 2001 with          Ministry of Environment and Water
the help of the IUCN Commission on                                    (project leader).
Education and Communication capac-             László Musicz is Environment Officer,
ity development project.                      Tata Municipality (local project leader).
   Fortunately, the project did not have
to operate in a vacuum. Town leaders
had already started to realize the impor-
tance of the area’s outstanding natural
environment. They decided that the       
best way to capitalize on this feature
would be to transform the town into a
centre for festivals and cultural events.
The project was also able to build upon
some earlier public awareness activities.
   The project included special events
to which almost every user group was
invited. Lake Öreg is particularly known
for its large number of wintering geese,
so these activities culminated in the
Wild Geese Festival, where all aspects of
the lake’s resident goose population
                                                                                                                                         LÁSZLÓ MUSICZ

(ecological, cultural, artistic, culinary,
economic, etc.) were demonstrated.
This event illustrated to all concerned
how environmental and cultural values Lake Öreg’s popular geese.

World Conservation 1/2003                                                                                                           27

  WATER            AND     DAMS

                                                                                                                                          IUCN/OLIVIER HAMERLYNCK
 A dam in Mauritania. The experiences with artificial flooding in Mauritania show that different management regimes can reduce
 environmental and social impacts. Pilot floods in the Diawling delta increased fish catches by 1300% and birds by over 400%.

r           ivers of contention
            S. Parasuraman

        People have used dams for thou- and cultures, and the inequitable shar- help avoid repeating past mistakes and
        sands of years to manage and ing of costs and benefits.                    show how things might be done better
        store water for household use          Proponents of large dams point out in the future. Perhaps its most impor-
and irrigation, and to control flooding. that dams have generally performed well tant recommendation was the inclusion
More recently, dams have supplied as an integral part of water and energy of non-state actors such as affected com-
hydropower and water for cities and in- resource development strategies in over munities and groups in all key decision-
dustries. Large dams – the larger the 140 nations, and have provided an making stages.
better – became national symbols of indispensable range of water and energy           Multi-stakeholder groups – consisting
wealth, status, technological know-how services. Opponents contend that better, of representatives of industry, multilat-
and human dominance over nature. cheaper, more benign and more equitable eral institutions, local communities,
They were systematically promoted as options for meeting water and energy NGO networks, governments and others
the best way to meet the water and needs exist but have been ignored.              – are now being formed at the river ba-
energy requirements of growing popula-         In its report of November 2001, the sin level, in every major and minor river
tions and modernizing economies while World Commission on Dams ( WCD) basin across the world, to apply the eco-
stimulating regional development, job drew attention to the lack of information system approach to meeting water and
creation and economic growth.               on the impacts of large dams. It found energy needs.
   The benefits seemed so obvious and that poor and vulnerable groups tend to         History will document the foresight of
indisputable that hardly anyone stopped bear a disproportionate share of the so- these stakeholders for having had the
to consider the social and environmen- cial and environmental costs without courage and vision to establish the dams
tal impacts. This began to change to- gaining a commensurate share of the commission, whose prescriptions for the
ward the end of the 20th century, as economic benefits. It found there is far future altered the course of thinking on
green movements, human rights cam- greater variability and unreliability in the dams and development.
paigns and localized oppositions gained performance and economic viability of
the strength and voice needed to draw large dams than was generally assumed.             S. Parasuraman served on the WCD
attention to the ‘down side’ of dams – the Some have even brought greater vulner-   Secretariat, and is currently working with
debt burdens, cost overruns, displace- ability to flood hazards and in some              ActionAid as its Asia Regional Policy
ment and impoverishment of whole cases worsened flood damage.                      Coordinator based in Bangkok, Thailand.
communities, destruction of ecosystems        The point of the WCD exercise was to   Visit;

28                                                                                                            World Conservation 1/2003

                                                                                 WATER AND CLIMATE

a            dapting to uncertainty
             Brett Orlando

         If I were to write what we know
         for certain about the future im-
         pact of climate change, it would
make a very fast read.
   Scientists say we can generally expect
increasing instability of water and at-
mospheric cycles and more intense cli-
mate fluctuations. What are considered
extreme events today are likely to be to-
morrow’s norm. And it appears that the
water crisis faced by people in many
parts of the world today is destined to
get even worse.
   We can already see many of the signs.
Melting glaciers, thawing permafrost
and changing rainfall patterns are caus-

ing widespread damage, as the recent
floods in regions as far apart as China,
Europe and Southern Africa have
shown. How much change we experi-
ence depends in part on how much we
reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the
main culprit of climate change.
   This is no longer a time of certainty.
When even the experts are not sure of
the magnitude and rate of climate
change, all we can do is ‘prepare to
adapt’ to whatever the future brings. For
that we need coalitions of politicians,
scientists, managers and civil society to
assess risks and identify responses.
   At the 3 rd World Water Forum in
Kyoto, Japan (March 2003), IUCN

launched a report Change: Adaptation
of water resources management to cli- Comparison of snow and ice cover on Mt Kilimanjaro between 1993
mate change (see page 32). Based on (top) and 2000.
regional dialogues in Central America,
the Mediterranean, South-east Asia,
Southern Africa, and West Africa, it high- Dutch initiative to link coastal defences consumption and encourage efficiency.
lights the actions being taken by water to nature conservation. Excess water By means of a newspaper, radio
professionals and suggests how others will be stored in low-lying areas to sup- and television campaign coupled with
can follow suit.                            ply water for industry, agriculture and market incentives, the initiative en-
   The report makes it clear that adap- human consumption, create a habitat courages people to assume individual
tation requires much more than special- for important species and provide rec- responsibility for sustainable water
ized knowledge and technology. It reational opportunities. This plan com- management.
                                 This work illustrates how water
demands no less than a transformation bines the long-term aspects of adapting
of society, and the investment of effort to climate change with direct, short- managers are finally beginning to look
and resources into building the adaptive term benefits to society.                   beyond their models and sluices and talk
capacities of people and institutions. It      Another example is from Costa Rica, to the people who live with water and
demands flexibility and the ability to a country 98% dependent on hydro- depend on it.
apply innovative solutions to local power and thus particularly vulnerable
situations.                                 to changes in rainfall. The country’s                    Brett Orlando is IUCN’s
   Examples are within our reach, how- Electricity Institute has developed a              Policy Advisor on Climate Change.
ever. One is “Growing with the sea”, a nationwide strategy to reduce energy               Visit

World Conservation 1/2003                                                                                                  29


 a     balancing act
       Ger Bergkamp and Jean-Yves Pirot

                                                              protect invaluable ecosystems. Some of
                                      In terms of water resource
                                                              these encouraging examples are
                                      management, the gap between
                                                              reflected in this special issue of World
                                      policy and practice seems to be
                                      widening.               Conservation.
                                 This year’s 3 rd World Water Forum,
                                                                  This was a step forward from the
                                                              World Summit on Sustainable Develop-
                              held in Kyoto, Japan, which brought to-
                                                              ment in 2002, which seemed to only fo-
                              gether 12,000 experts who invested
                                                              cus on water supply to the world’s poor.
                              months of time in this event, underlined
                              the variety of complementary ap-However, the Ministerial Declaration
                                                              that emanated from the political repre-
                              proaches and practices for improving
                                                              sentatives at the 3rd World Water Forum
                              water management. They spotlighted
                              the many countries which have begun
                                                              seems to be another step backwards on
                              to review their governance systems and
                                                              the path to sustainable development.
                              strengthen their water management or-
                                                              Instead of offering practical ways for-
                              ganizations, to encourage water demand
                                                              ward to support implementation of In-
                              management measures, to foster dia-
                                                              tegrated Water Resources Management,
                              logue for mitigating the impacts of
                                                              the Declaration is widely criticised as
                              existing and proposed dams, and to
                                                              weaker than many national policies cur-
                                                              rently in place. As such it will have very
                                                              little impact in the field.
                                                                  Nevertheless, this is no cause for de-
                                                              spondency. By their nature, policy state-
                                                              ments propose what is politically
                                                              acceptable and feasible, and do not nec-
                                                              essarily reflect what is being achieved at
                                                              the vanguard of innovation. Statements
                                                              may carefully avoid references to the
                                                              environment and its ever-increasing
                                                              degradation, or omit words like dams,
                                                              people’s livelihoods, wetlands, transpar-
                                                              ency, accountability, benefit sharing and
                                                              so on. But change does not just happen
                                                              at the negotiating table. It should also
                                                              happen at the national and local levels
                                                              where urgency is apparent and, indeed,
                                                              where action is being taken.
                                                                  The technical sessions of the 3rd World
                                                              Water Forum were far more inspiring
                                                              than the political negotiations, espe-
                                                              cially when they showed the practical
                                                              progress being made through a variety
                                                              of approaches to improving water man-
                                                              agement, and how these can be adapted
                                                              to local circumstances. The ecosystem
                   approach is now accepted as one of
                                                              these innovative approaches. This can
                                                              be considered a major step forward.
                                                                  One of the practical measures that
                                                              sparked great interest at the Forum was
                                                              ‘environmental flows’: a minimum
                                                                         UNEP/WIHAN KWANDEE

                                                              agreed amount of water is left in rivers
                                                              for downstream ecosystems and users.
                                                              It is an approach that has been success-
                                                              fully applied in several countries, and

30                                                                                            World Conservation 1/2003

                                                                                                     UNEP/HERBERT KEHRER
the time now seems ripe to apply it in knowledge, practical know-how, the will to advance conservation and sustainable
many more.                                 to work in teams, and a commitment to development. IUCN will continue to
   Another tested and proven approach make a visible difference quickly can all harness the power of its knowledge and
involves the protection of wetlands and add up to effective action.                   resources, and those of its world-wide
forests as natural habitat and water-         This is the best way to convert the network, to identify and implement
service providers. In the case of dams, approaches and test cases presented in practical innovations in sustainable
we have heard of considerable efforts Kyoto into a practical reality which water management.
made in Asia, Africa and elsewhere to benefits the poor and promotes
ensure the adoption of international sustainable development.                                Ger Bergkamp is Coordinator of the
guidelines for full assessment, compen-       It is also where IUCN is best suited to              IUCN Water & Nature Initiative.
sation and mitigation relating to the so- make a contribution, by providing
                                                                                                    Jean-Yves Pirot is Coordinator
cial and environmental impacts of dams. its technical expertise and bringing
                                                                                                    of the IUCN Wetlands & Water
The widespread application of all these together its networks to build coalitions.
                                                                                                           Resources Programme.
measures would indeed be a major step         Water, water resources and their man-
forward in our fight to protect ecosys- agement remain at the core of our work              Visit
tems, biodiversity and the many people
who depend on them.
   The main stumbling block now seems
to be the lack of adequate capacity and
resources to get to work. The Camdessus
report on financing water services aimed
to address that question, but focused
mainly on large infrastructure and tech-
nological hardware solutions. Many ar-
gue that large dams will not improve
water allocation and sanitation for the
rural poor and foster even more environ-
mental degradation.
   The Camdessus report and the 3 rd
                                                                                                                                     IUCN/ERIC BARAN & PHILIPPE TOUS

World Water Forum again lead to
questions on the usefulness of large
international meetings. It is far more
effective to build coalitions between
governments, civil society, NGOs and
professional organizations to work on
agreed programmes of action at the Joint planning and action of stakeholders in water resource management is necessary for
national and basin levels. This is where sustainable development. Pictured: a meeting of resource users in Guinea Bissau.

World Conservation 1/2003                                                                                                       31


All about
                                            Change: Adaptation of water
                                            management to climate change
                                            Ger Bergkamp, Brett Orlando and Ian
                                            A challenge facing water professionals is
                                            how to make decisions in the face of this
                                            new uncertainty posed by climate
                                            change. This book outlines a new man-
                                            agement approach that moves beyond
                                            technical quick fixes towards a more
                                            adaptive style that is inclusive and inno-
                                              ISBN 1-8317-0702-1, 2003; 250 x
                                            190mm, xii + 53pp.; £10.50, US$15.75.
                                            Order no. B1203
                                                                                         Vision for Water and Nature
                                                                                         World Strategy for Conservation and
                     Ecosystem Management:
                                                                                         Sustainable Management of Water
               Lessons from around the World
                                                                                         Resources in the 21st Century
                   A Guide for Development and
                     Conservation Practitioners                                          The ‘environment and ecosystems’ com-
                                                                                         ponent of the World Water Vision exer-
               Jean-Yves Pirot, Peter-John Meynell
                                                                                         cise of the World Water Council, this
                            and Danny Elder (eds)
                                                                                         represents the first meaningful attempt
A presentation of the ecosystem approach and                                             to fully integrate environmental issues
how the concept can be introduced into policies,                                         into the development of a comprehen-
procedures, practices and investment support. It                                         sive strategy for water resource manage-
draws together lessons learned in the past 10 years                                      ment at the global level. Developed by
from field projects, integrates theory with these                                        IUCN through extensive consultations,
lessons and translates them into practical actions                                       the Vision emphasises the crucial role of
for development and conservation practitioners.                                          ecosystems as the basis of our life sup-
   ISBN 2-8317-0542-8, 2000; 210 x 150mm, x +                                            port systems, without which security
123pp., figures, tables; £15, US$22.50. Order no.                                        cannot be achieved and sustained, and
B609. Available in the US and Canada from Island                                         proposes a Plan of Action for a sustain-
Press.                                                                                   able world in 2025.
                                            Coming soon!                                    ISBN 2-8317-0514-2, 2000; 279 x
                                            Watersheds of the World                      216mm, xii + 52pp., colour photos;
                                       This CD and website contain the most              £12.50, US$18.75. En, Fr and Sp. Order
                                       comprehensive database of the world’s             no. B547. Available in the US and Canada
                                       river basins. Launched during the 3rd             from Island Press and from the IUCN
                                       World Water Forum in Osaka, Japan, the            Canada Office.
                                       CD presents maps on twenty global is-
                                       sues, data and indicators of 154 basins,
                                       and an analysis of their state and the
                                       environmental goods and services they
                                          Produced by the “Water Resources
                                       eAtlas”, a collaborative effort of the
                                       World Resources Institute, IUCN, the
     Coming in June from IUCN          International Water Management Insti-
     Flow – the essentials of          tute and the Ramsar Convention.
     environmental flows                  ISBN 1-56973-548-8, 2003; US$125.
     Megan Dyson, Ger Bergkamp, John   Available from IUCN, WRI and on the       
     Scanlon (eds)                     web at:
                                       wani/eatlas/                                              bookstore

32                                                                                                     World Conservation 1/2003

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