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"Participation and social capital for watershed management: Evaluation of Water Safety organisms in Lower Balsas (Michoacán)"

IWRA World Water Congress 2017 - Cancun Mexico
4. Water policy and governance
Author(s): Ana Burgos
Sara Medrano

Ana Burgos
Sara Medrano

Keyword(s): Social capital, social learning, water security.


"Participation and social capital for watershed management: Evaluation of Water Safety organisms in Lower Balsas (Michoacán)"

Sara L. Medrano and Ana L. Burgos Luke 1 Tornadú2
1ENES-UNAM campus Morelia, ant. Patz road.,
2CIGA - UNAM campus Morelia, ant. Patz road.,

Social capital, social learning, water security.

Since the water crisis is a crisis of governance, in basins of high marginalization and geographical isolation becomes important local organization to promote water security (WS) with self-help project. The water context of the area where this research was developed has the following characteristics: seasonal climate, pronounced relief, so that the occurrence of flood peaks during the rainy season generates material losses and isolation, and in the dry season are presented intra-seasonal drought (heat wave) and from November to June, precipitation generates almost no high water deficit. The region is inserted into an institutional context in which public policies and agencies responsible are hierarchical and are disconnected from society. So in 2013 an engaging experience and building social capital in the Hydrographic System Under infiernillo, Balsas (Michoacan) was promoted, constituting four Water Safety Local Councils (WSLC) sub-basin scale. The process was facilitated by a civil association (CA) Balsas Group and an academic core (CIGA-UNAM). The COLSHID followed the adaptive management cycle for water protection risks communities’ scale but agreed to sub-basin scale. Since there are few studies that show that a genuine process of social maturity, this research helps to have evidence that these processes can lead to the governance of water resources, and help to understand the mechanisms occurred by which produce and develop more effective interventions that promote a scientific approach from the strength of social networks. The objective was to characterize the process of building social capital, considering its water contexts (problems) and institutional (regulatory frameworks and support). For a year participants were followed in real time to the activities of the four COLSHID for problem definition, action planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation time. For analysis indicators of participation, social learning, community ownership of the process and collective action were generated.

It was obtained as a result that the participatory social learning process generated double loop as communities showed inclusion of uncertainty, reflection and sound decision making. The peasants held accountable for most of the budget exercised, increasing confidence and helping to strengthen institutional agencies. Activities increased solidarity, trust and reciprocity between communities within and between sub-basins. Attendance, punctuality indicated continued interest and participation; joint activities and inter-ejidales movements showed effective collective action, however detected it is necessary to strengthen the sense of importance in the evaluation process and analysis of the diversity of actors indicates it is necessary to increase the number of members of different sectors within each agency (women, youth and people do not own land). It is concluded that local initiatives are essential for the management of rural water basins with highly precarious. Given the severe weakness of the institutional context, the continuity of these initiatives is hampered without the presence of external actors. 

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