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Congress: 2015
Author(s): Rene Montalba (Temuco, Chile), Lorena Vieli
Universidad de La Frontera1

Keyword(s): Sub-theme 8: Revisiting water paradigms,
AbstractThe region of La Araucania in Southern Chile was the last territory annexed to the Chilean State (1883). Currently, due to the history of the colonization process of this area different ethnic groups coexist (Chilean, European Colonizers, Mapuche-indigenous) (Montalba and Stephens, 2014). Although water resources are relatively abundant in the area, in the last 15 years the number of rural families with water scarcity problems for productive and domestic purposes increased significantly. This critical situation has been acknowledged by the political sector in its need to be addressed. Usually water scarcity is considered as a consequence of climate change. For this research we considered the premise that water scarcity is explained by a complex interactionbetween ecological, economical, sociocultural and political processes. A transdisciplinary and multi-methodological analysis (quantitative, qualitative and participatory) was used to assess causes of water scarcity and to investigate key factors that would allow sustainable governance of water resources within local communities. According to the results, water scarcity was not mainly a consequence of climate change. Rather, causes of water scarcity were a response to (1) processes of land use change, (2) the existence of a normative framework that doesn´t prioricewater supply for human consumption, (3) socioeconomic exclusion, (4) migration, and (5) loss of water quality for human consumption. The development of participative models of water governance is constrained by the normative framework with high levels of privatization and concentration of access to water resources, as well as poor social networks. Additionally, the ethnic/cultural origin of the farm systems in rural areas was correlated to different levels of social networks complexity and socio-ecological resilience of the agricultural systems. Thereforeit is and important factor in the search of a successful governance model. The reconstitution of social networks is a necessary condition for water governance by the local community. Local leaders should be trained with specific competences for governance and management of water resources. R. Montalba y N. Stephens (2014). Evaluating the “Ecological Mapuche” Idea: a historical sketch of the human ecology of Chile´s Araucania Region. Human Ecology 42 (4): 637-643.
2011 IWRA - International Water Resources Association - - Admin