Topic: Policy, governance and institutions - International Riversymposium | Brisbane | September 2017
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Topic: Policy, governance and institutions

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River Management in the context of CBNRM: An Australian Story
Kathleen Broderick
Broderick and Associates, Australia

Impacts and outcomes of water policy reform for irrigation intensive regions: A grass-roots look at the implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan
Perin Davey
Murray Irrigation Limited, Australia

The Oregon Model: A Grassroots Approach to Watershed Health
Tara Davis
Willamette River Initiative, United States

Deliberative Water Governance
John Dore
DFAT, Australia

Enhancing Cooperation through Water Diplomacy and Multilevel Stakeholder Engagement: Learning’s from IUCN Experiences in Asia
Raphaël Glémet, Archana Chatterjee (presenter) and Vishwa Ranjan Sinha
IUCN

How can learning be enhanced in water policy, governance and institutions?
Jess Schoeman, Catherine Allan and Max Finlayson
Charles Sturt University, Australia

Shared Basins –Contested Benefits: Need for an alternative diplomacy paradigm for improving formal trans-boundary water instruments between India and Nepal
Shawahiq Siddiqui, Shilpa Chohan and Tira Foran
Indian Environment Law Organization, India

Orinoco Report Card: A Tool for Improving and Maintaining Basin Health
Cesar Suarez, Saulo Usma, Luis German Naranjo, Simon Costanzo, Sarah Freeman and Michele Thieme
WWF, Colombia

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Tuesday 13 September
10:30 – 12:00

How can learning be enhanced in water policy, governance and institutions?

Jess Schoeman, Catherine Allan and Max Finlayson
Charles Sturt University, Australia

Managing the world’s great rivers and sharing their benefits is largely dependent on human values and knowledge, expressed through policy, governance and institutions. Stakeholders often have divergent knowledge about rivers and value their benefits differently. How can these conflicting understandings be reconciled? The water governance literature advocates engaging stakeholders in social learning processes to encourage the convergence of goals, co-construction of knowledge and mutual understandings of problems and solutions. A focus on learning is paramount if water governance systems are to adapt to rapid social, ecological and climatic changes associated with the Anthropocene.

The research presented here employs an interpretive qualitative approach to unpack aspects of policy, governance and institutions that enhance or constrain learning in a case study of adaptive water management in the Lachlan catchment, Murray-Darling Basin, Australia. Data from interviews with key managing and policy stakeholders (n=19) and content analysis of Government water policy documents (n=190) identified four institutional processes that influence (enhance or constrain) learning in water institutions: routines, rules, regimes and relationships, which are reinforced by rhetoric.

Learning was happening in this case study; however, some ‘bones of contention’ remain between different stakeholders who have conflicting knowledge about the river. Learning was enhanced by the institutionalisation of adaptive management, consistent enforcement of a diverse range of rules (tradeable property rights, planning and regulation) and the development of trusting relationships. The top-down push for efficient and uniform water management in Australia was percieved to be restricting the efforts of catchment stakeholders to learn and adapt management approaches to local conditions. The document analysis explored support for different water management concepts such as adaptive management, ecologically sustainable development, resilience and ecosystem services in water policy, and showed a low level of climate change policy integration. The presentation will discuss why words matter for people managing rivers.

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About the author

Jess Schoeman is a final year PhD student at Charles Sturt University, Albury, Australia studying the human and institutional dimensions of governing water within complex social-ecological systems. Her current research is investigating how institutional processes enhance or constrain learning, and the implications of this managing water in the Anthropocene.

Impacts and outcomes of water policy reform for irrigation intensive regions: A grass-roots look at the implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan

Perin Davey
Murray Irrigation Limited, Australia

In 2012 Australia signed into law arguably one of the most comprehensive Basin water management strategies in the world. The Murray-Darling Basin Plan was developed to integrate water management across four states and one territory. The driving factor behind its development was to identify the average long-term Sustainable Diversion Limit for the river system and an environmental watering plan to improve environmental resilience across the Basin while maintaining social and economic conditions.

The NSW Murray region is home to Australia’s largest privately owned irrigation infrastructure company and the region historically produces 50 percent of the national rice harvest, 20 percent of the milk production for NSW, 75 percent of the State’s tomatoes and 40 percent of the State’s potatoes to name just a few of the commodities produced in the region.

This presentation will investigate the impacts of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, perceived and real, as well as what adjustments have occurred in the NSW Murray to ensure continued sustainable industry and the longer term outcomes of a new way of thinking about water management.

It will look at how water is managed in the NSW Murray catchment and the different regulated water entitlements designed to match the variable water availability of Australia. We will also investigate the maturing water market and the new products enabling farmers and the environment to have more flexibility and opportunity.

Finally the presentation will consider the rise of ‘reconciliation ecology’ and its incorporation on and off farm. We will discuss how both irrigation infrastructure and productive use of water can complement environmental outcomes and the changing attitudes from environmentalists and traditional farmers that is allowing this to happen.

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About the author

Perin Davey is the Executive Manager, Corporate Affairs and Stakeholder Engagement at Murray Irrigation – Australia’s largest private irrigation infrastructure company. She has worked in the irrigation industry, Perin has a sound understanding of water legislation and the role of state and Federal governments in water and natural resource management. She has worked with Government agencies and community organisations during the development and implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan to highlight issues and opportunities. Perin has a background in government relations and issues management and has worked in a range of positions from rural journalism to an international government relations firm. Perin has a Graduate Certificate in Public Relations from the University of Southern Queensland. Perin is currently Director of the NSW Irrigators’ Council and a member of the NSW Primary Industries Ministerial Advisory Council and the federal Agricultural Industries Advisory Council.

River Management in the context of CBNRM: An Australian Story

Kathleen Broderick
Broderick and Associates, Australia

Over the last forty years, the Australian Government has invested in, and supported the development of Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) to deliver regional resource management outcomes, including but not restricted to, conservation of biodiversity, healthy rivers, and sustainable agriculture.

In Australia, the National and many of the State Governments are increasingly looking to the intensification of water development with a view to increasing agricultural productivity, expanding agriculture producing areas, and potentially opening new areas for agriculture development with a view to increasing overall food and fibre production and increasing prosperity.
This paper will provide an overview of the history of CBNRM in Australia through key policy changes. It will focus on what has been learned about CBNRM and the role it has played in water and river management. The paper ends with 3 suggestions and 3 questions about the role of CBNRM in meeting current and future challenges.

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About the author

Kathleen Broderick has over 20 years’ professional experience in using social and economic information and research in water management. Kath’s experience combines research and practical contributions to management of Water Quality Improvement in the Great Barrier Reef Catchments, irrigation development in the Tasmanian Midlands, and salinity management in the Collie Catchment. Kathleen has published several key papers examining governance of natural resources and community participation (CBNRM) in resource management. Her current focus is on meeting future challenges in water management and maintaining healthy rivers and wetlands and is exploring the contribution that CBNRM may play in that future.

The Oregon Model: A Grassroots Approach to Watershed Health

Tara Davis
Willamette River Initiative, United States

In the United States, Oregonians have an outstanding reputation of caring for local streams, rivers, wetlands and natural areas through participation in the grassroots “watershed council” model. The 1995 Oregon Legislature unanimously passed guidance in establishing watershed councils making it clear that formation of a council is a local governmental decision, with no state intervention. Councils offer local residents the opportunity to independently and scientifically evaluate watershed conditions and identify opportunities to improve water resources, always in a holistic manner working across jurisdictional boundaries and agency mandates. The “Oregon Plan” is the overarching document guiding voluntary restoration. Over sixty councils in major tributaries across the state receive river restoration support from the Oregon Lottery.

Through the councils, trust and partnerships between residents, local, state and federal agency staff and private industry is developed. Resources are kept local benefiting community economies through jobs and restoration services. Over 80 million dollars per year of state lottery and partner match funds are invested annually. In 2010 and 2011, the state funder reported improvement of more than 2,900 road/stream crossings and removal of 180 barrier dams in streams to allow migratory salmon and other native fish to access 4,500 miles of habitat. Projects addressing water quality included livestock fencing and planting of native species along 6,000 miles of stream. This work included 70,000 reported local volunteer hours. Watershed councils are nimble and can adapt quickly to emerging issues such as water scarcity, climate change issues, dynamic political climates, and urban growth pressures. The leveraging capabilities and its non-regulatory nature make this model quickly accessible and attractive. Two Oregon watersheds- Siuslaw and Willamette- won the International River Foundation’s “Thiess RiverPrize” for river restoration excellence in large part because of Oregon’s watershed council model. An evaluation of this model is presented for replication potential.

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About the author

Tara has worked in conservation for fourteen years focusing on river restoration as well as non-profit management and fundraising. A fourth generation native to the USA’s west coast, she received a Bachelor’s Degree from Santa Clara University, California in Environmental Science and a Masters in Water Resources Management emphasizing watershed health in developing nations from the University of New Mexico in 2006. Tara completed a River Restoration Professional Certificate from Portland State University, Oregon in 2011. Tara has worked with several diverse civil society organizations including affordable housing, federal wilderness area designation, private land protection, and river restoration. After a decade as executive director of a NGO in the Thiess RiverPrize-Winning Willamette Basin, Tara has recently become an independent contractor partnering closely with multiple foundations and NGO’s to coordinate the Willamette-Laja Twinning Project.

Orinoco Report Card: A Tool for Improving and Maintaining Basin Health

Cesar Suarez, Saulo Usma, Luis German Naranjo, Simon Costanzo, Sarah Freeman and Michele Thieme
WWF-Colombia

Basin Report Cards have been used to drive awareness of the status of river basins and prompt action to improve the condition of impacted watersheds. In Colombia’s Orinoco River we are testing how report cards can be used to improve and also to maintain system health. The Orinoco River flows from Colombia and Venezuela into the Atlantic Ocean and is the fourth largest river, by discharge, in the world. The Colombian portion of the basin is characterized by high ecological, biological and cultural diversity. Comprehensive baselines do not yet exist, however, for many parts of the basin and the pressures and threats facing the region are fast evolving and highly heterogeneous. Early results reflect both the wide array of values for stakeholders in the basin and the varied state of resources across it.

The Orinoco Basin Report Card is serving as a rich testing ground to understand the impact that Report Cards can have under different levels of information availability and of threat. In particular, there are three objectives that will be investigated related to outcomes from the report card. The first is how the report card can be used to galvanize improvements in baseline understanding of the basin, particularly as this pertains to information on biodiversity, management, and governance. We will also assess the report card’s utility for improving ecological conditions, particularly in areas such as the headwaters of the Meta, Guaviare and Arauca Rivers that already experiencing severe impacts. Finally, we will assess the ability of the tool to help safeguard current ecological integrity while not compromising development objectives, such as in the case of the Bita River, Colombia’s first protected river.

The Colombian Orinoco Report Card, issued in July 2016, will be the first report card to be completed in South America.

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About the author

Cesar Suarez is the Geographic Analysis Coordinator for WWF-Colombia. Cesar is a geologist and engineer with fourteen years of experience applying geographic information tools to support conservation planning and land use sustainable management. He holds a degree in Cartography, GIS and Remote Sensing from Alcala de Henares University (Spain). He has worked extensively on landscape analyses and providing solutions for wildlife and ecosystem services conservation.

Wednesday 14 September
08:30 – 10:00

Enhancing Cooperation through Water Diplomacy and Multilevel Stakeholder Engagement: Learning’s from IUCN Experiences in Asia

Raphaël Glémet, Archana Chatterjee (presenter) and Vishwa Ranjan Sinha
IUCN

Enhancing cooperation for sustainable management of shared water resources and ecosystems is central to achieving water security and regional stability. With international rivers covering half the land surface of the world and accommodating over 40 per cent of the world population, trans-boundary water management has gained significant importance in the governance of water regimes across the globe. This, however faces several challenges, due to differences in the sociopolitical-cultural setup, administrative units and ideological framework of the different countries.

An approach which brings together diverse stakeholders to map issues within the shared ecosystems, to formulate joint knowledge and research, and to look at options for management will therefore be crucial. Experiences from IUCN’s trans-boundary water governance programmes have led to development of methodologies and tools to enhance cooperation . ‘Water diplomacy’ through multilevel engagement has emerged as an effective mechanism to foster cooperation among stakeholders, with examples from Ganges Brahmaputra Meghna as well as 3S river basins (Srepok, Sesan and Sekong). Experience from 3S basins indicates that a clear legal framework based on the internationally accepted water law principles, agreed by the stakeholders from across the border, is successfully creating spaces for dialogue and opportunities for leadership development to support water diplomacy and transboundary cooperation. The “joint research” approach involving experts/institutions from the riparian nations followed by joint multi stakeholder dialogues has helped facilitate the development of common understanding and filling critical knowledge gaps . This approach was successfully used for catalyzing Hilsa fisheries management in India and Bangladesh through a set of policy recommendations emerging from the joint research.

Training and capacity building of media persons, mid level policy makers and young water professionals through an interactive ‘Water Futures’ module, for example, has helped provide insights to promote a deeper and nuanced understanding of transboundary water governance issues and opportunities.

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About the author

Water governance experts from IUCN, Mr Raphaël Glémet (IUCN Asia Regional office, Bangkok) and Ms Archana Chatterjee (IUCN India Office) will be sharing these tools and methods adopted and tested by IUCN in the Asia region. Using practical experiences from projects, like the BRIDGE (Building River Dialogue and Governance) and E4L (Ecosystems for Life: A Bangladesh-India Initiative) the talk is expected to stimulate dialogue on what is working and what needs to improve in the Asia region. Mr Glémet is managing the BRIDGE Programme implementation in Asia and Ms Archana was the project manager for the E4L. Together between them they share more than 25 years of experience working on water related issues.

Shared Basins –Contested Benefits: Need for an alternative diplomacy paradigm for improving formal trans-boundary water instruments between India and Nepal

Shawahiq Siddiqui, Shilpa Chohan and Tira Foran
Indian Environment Law Organization, India

Water problems are shaped by many natural, societal and political interactions that create complex water networks. As population grows, economic development and climate change puts pressure on water resources, management of these networks becomes extremely complex. The Indo-Nepal shared river basins represent such complex networks that are home to millions of marginalized communities that are directly dependent on these networked ecosystems for their livelihoods and sustenance. These basins also face some of the world’s most difficult survival and developmental challenges, having dispropotionate impacts on women and girls. Further, these river basins are vulnerable to extreme and uncertain climatic events. The meaningful cooperation between the two countries is the key to improving lives and livelihood in the shared river basins between India and Nepal.

Due to the international water rights linkages, the waters in the shared river basins between India and Nepal have been negotiated and contested by the sovereigns based on the narrow constructs of engineering dominated conventional understanding of upstream-downstream benefits. wherein the acknowledgment of complexities and uncertainties of natural and societal systems, rarely finds an adequate space. Thus, there is a need for an alternative deliberative approach to water diplomacy that rejects the unquestioned authority of conventional and hierarchical governance structures. Therefore, the key question is-how can effective management of shared waters as a common pool resource be ensured, given that, natural forces responsible for its allocation and use cannot be controlled? The need is to evolve water diplomacy as a process of addressing and solving issues at every level – from designing a community toilet to treaty negotiations on a hydroelectric project by of a robust stakeholder engagement process.

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About the author

Shawahiq Siddiqui is an environment and development law practitioner and legal consultant based in New Delhi. He is partner at Indian Environment Law Offices. He specializes in international water law and bilateral water treaties between India and its South Asian neighbors. He was involved in preparing a model for the establishment of National Bureau of Water Use Efficiency under the National Water Mission and has drated water laws and policies for the Government of Meghalaya and Nagaland. He teaches hydro-diplomacy at the Foreign Service Institute, Ministry of External. Shawahiq has contributed immensely in national and international journals on water diplomacy and institutional frameworks. He can be reached at shawahiq.ielo@gmail.com

Deliberative Water Governance

John Dore
DFAT, Australia

Water governance and the pursuit of social justice are not only the province and responsibility of state actors. Across the Mekong Region there is much diplomacy, fact-finding and advocacy with multiple actors and coalitions operating to try to influence development directions and decision-making arenas. A deliberative water governance agenda is gathering followers and influence, creating and shaping arenas with an emphasis on constructive engagement, inclusive deliberation, critical analysis and institution-building. This is increasing the likelihood that important water resources development decisions will be the result of informed and negotiated processes that have assessed options and impacts, sought to fairly distribute rewards (material and non-material benefits), respected rights (noting that rights overlap and somehow need to be prioritised), accounted for risks (especially those being borne involuntarily) and acknowledged responsibilities (of state, private sector and civil society actors).

About the author

Dr John Dore’s academic work on deliberative water governance complement his day-to-day engagement in international water diplomacy. John’s recent publishing is on negotiation, deliberation and scale, unravelling transboundary water governance complexes and water diplomacy. His work includes a focus on constructive engagement in water governance arenas through promotion of processes that are inclusive, informed and accountable. John is the Senior Water Resources Specialist for Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), based in Bangkok, working primarily across East Asia and South Asia. Prior roles include leading the IUCN Asia Water Program and the M-POWER (Mekong Program on Water Environment and Resilience) governance network. John is an Associate Professor – Visiting Fellow at Australian National University (ANU) Fenner School, an associate of University of Canberra’s Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance and serves on the editorial board of Water Alternatives.