P2P Foundation

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Call for Case Studies on Commons-based Rural Water Management and Governanc

Via Daniel Moss danielmoss9@gmail.com


*Call for Case Studies on Commons-based Rural Water Management and

Outline due December 15, 2011, Paper due February 15, 2012

We are seeking to compile a number of case studies about innovative rural
water management work with two objectives in mind? 1) to fortify Reclaiming
Public Water?s rural water work ? contribute to their existing body of
(largely urban) case studies; and, 2) based on the cases, we seek to draw
out advocacy lessons that can be used for the upcoming World Water Forum 6
and over the years that follow.

The case studies will be distributed and presented at FAME and the World
Water Forum 6.

We are interested in innovations in rural water management and governance
in which, ideally: 1) the water is treated as a commons or public good and
subscribes to some or all of the principles of the water commons ? see
below for a list of principles, 2) the innovations offer lessons to others
in other part parts of the world, 3) there is upstream and downstream
coordination along a watershed; and, 4) the innovations can be scaled up.
Of course not all cases will necessarily have all these components - and
that is fine.

Work for improved rural water management and governance takes place within
a daunting context, including among others, tremendous thirst and poor
sanitation, deepening impacts of climate change (including drought and
flooding), deepening impact of misuse of water for industrial (including
extractive industries) and agricultural (including agrofuels) purposes,
privatization and a situation in which urban areas receive more resources
than rural areas. At the same time we know there have been important
advances in establishing democratic, community-led rural water management
systems. We want to know both about the context in which you work and the
innovative solution on which you are working.

There is an urgent need to lift up positive examples of commons-based rural
water management and governance and disseminate those successes. The World
Water Forum 6 is soon upon us, offering an excellent opportunity to
advocate for improved policies and practices. The World Water Forum is just
one of many advocacy opportunities, the great majority of which are of
course local or national in nature. At the same time, we want to get a
sense of all of your advocacy objectives and strategies ? from local to
international ? to see where solidarity and collaboration may be possible.
If together we can have an impact on national and international policies,
it may open up space for local change.

We are looking for brief case studies (5 to 10 pages) organized around the
following questions -

  1. What is the problem/challenge you are facing in managing rural water
  as a commons? The threats?
  2. What is the solution that you are proposing or have put into place?
  3. Tell us a little about the context in which your work takes place ?
  how does that context constrain your work and what opportunities does it
  4. Which if any water commons principles does your work subscribe to? ?
  please see Annex A ? water commons principles (below)
  5. What lessons does your case offer to others? ? especially in the
  areas listed below ? Annex B.
  6. How do you facilitate or encourage coordination between upstream and
  downstream actors along the watershed?
  7. What would be most useful to learn to improve your work?
  8. Power mapping ?
     - Who are your advocacy targets? Who has the power to make the
     changes you seek?
     - What specifically do you want these advocacy targets to do?
     - Who are your key allies?
     - What have been effective and ineffective advocacy actions you have

Annex A. Please refer to these water commons principles (drawn from Maude
Barlow?s publication, *Our Water Commons)*:

  1. Affirm water as a commons, that is, it belongs to everyone and no
  one, passed onto future generations in sufficient volume and quality
  2. Ensure that the earth and all of its ecosystems enjoy rights to water
  for their survival
  3. Conserve water as society?s first course of action (enforced by law),
  including suggesting drastic changes to industrial and agricultural
  4. Treat watersheds ? the source of water - as a common as well and not
  simply the water itself
  5. Encourage local, community management while legally binding
  communities to respect upstream and downstream neighbors? rights
  6. Forge or affirm trans-boundary agreements that respect water
  sovereignty for both communities and nations
  7. Provide water as a basic principle of justice, not as an act of
  8. Ensure public delivery and fair pricing of water
  9. Promote enshrining the right to water in nation-state constitutions
  and laws
  10. Employ innovative legal tools to protect water and manage water as a
  commons, including through public and community trusts

Annex B. We are particularly interested in the ways in which your case
illuminates one or more of the following elements of rural water management

  - Satisfies potable water needs
  - Satisfies irrigation needs ? without overdrawing aquifers
  - Curbs overuse of water by extractive industries
  - Opposes large dams and/or advocates for appropriately-sized dam
  - Protects collective water rights
  - Encourages upstream and downstream coordination
  - Overcomes austerity and water privatization pressures
  - Offers example of innovative community governance
  - Offers example of coordination between civil society and public
  utility or water authority
  - Encourages water conservation
  - Offers water storage solutions
  - Deals with sewage treatment
  - Obtains adequate financing for infrastructure improvements
  - Applies appropriate technology
  - Offers insight into application of payment for ecological services
  - Is based on fair pricing scheme
  - Adapts to or mitigates climate change to reduce watershed vulnerability

Questions and submissions to Daniel Moss danielmoss9@gmail.com, Our Water

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