Campesino community participation in watershed management
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A series of threats face campesino communities' water management practices in the Callejón de Huaylas (upper region of the Santa Watershed). Competition for water resources is escalating due to increasing demand, decreasing supply, and a rise in contamination levels, leaving campesino communities in a precarious state as a result of their marginalized position in Peruvian society. Competition for water resources occurs between upstream and downstream users and amongst sectors including mining, agriculture, hydropower, and domestic water users. The national government recently passed an integrated water resource management system to improve water governance. However, bureaucratic tendencies make it unlikely that campesinos will receive an adequate share of resources. Campesino communities in the Callejón need to adopt new strategies to improve their position vis á-vis other sectors and resist capture of resources. Campesinos are important to the discussion of water resource management because they have long established systems of self-regulated management and need to be included in the new system of watershed governance. This research first examines local water management strategies and integrated water management through four characteristics: 1) how is water framed, 2) is decision-making participatory, 3) is water management appropriate to the local and regional level, and 4) is it possible to monitor activity and impose consequences for unauthorized water usage. Interviews with campesino community members and leaders, local officials, regional representatives, and non-governmental organizations found opportunities to collaborate between groups and transfer some management responsibilities to a more regional watershed scale. Second, this research examines the opportunities and barriers to scaling up traditional management practices to meet regional needs while ensuring local water availability. Scaling decision-making is imperative for successful integrated water management and will allow campesino communities to continue to manage their water to meet local needs. Shifting the decision-making scale may facilitate more effective watershed governance with campesino community participation.