Through action in the field, WANI has applied Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) in different river basins across the world. Working from national to local levels the WANI project results showcase IWRM across Asia, Africa and the Americas.
On El Salvador’s dry Pacific slope, IUCN-WANI sponsored community pilot projects to deliver immediate tangible benefits while institutions were being developed for long-term sustainable water management. Delivering immediate results engages local people for the long haul. Working with the national government, WANI scaled up the community efforts to the basin level and, ultimately, to serve as a model for a national plan.
Because good water basin managers must understand the ecological linkages between upland and lowland areas, WANI’s Himal-Hindu Kush project began with a survey of the environmental flows in each of the six countries in this remote Himalayan region. Based on this scientific assessment, WANI helped develop alternate policy roadmaps for discussion at a regional dialogue on water resource management.
India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, China and Bhutan
By measuring the “environmental flows” in rivers, WANI showed stakeholders alternate ways of allocating water among users while protecting downstream ecosystems and the services they provide. When WANI coordinated a rapid environmental flows assessment in the Huong River Basin, it brought together public officials, engineers and scientists in an action research project, which set off a process of learning and scaling up to the national and regional levels.
In areas with a semi-arid climate, high rainfall variability and frequent severe drought, such as the Komadugu Yobe River in northern Nigeria, conflicts over the life-giving source of water can be intense. Previously, the region had no mechanism to manage conflicting demands until WANI helped catalyze a dialogue among riparian states and then helped develop a “water charter,” which laid out a framework for cooperation.
Poverty, conflict, refugees and rapid urbanization were some of the problems affecting Central Africa’s Lake Tanganyika. WANI convened stakeholder meetings that led to a convention among the four countries bordering the lake. The convention formed a basin authority with a workplan to reduce poverty and promote sustainable management of the lake.
Burundi, Congo, Tanzania, Zambia
In Southern Africa’s Limpopo River Basin, WANI showed managers how to assess how much water could be made available for different uses while keeping the river ecosystem healthy. Professional training, exchange programmes, and demonstration projects built the capacity of local water managers and, eventually, the project spurred cooperation throughout the entire Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region.
South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mocambique
Construction of large dams in the Upper Mekong led to major changes in river flows affecting the livelihoods of downstream villages. Throughout the Mekong basin, decision-making is state dominated and strongly centralized. WANI followed a strategy of mobilizing grassroot communities to become more involved in decision-making, whilst facilitating multi-stakeholder dialogues bridging local and regional levels.
China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia
In Botswana’s vast Okavango Delta, it was especially important to build community support for a comprehensive water management plan. Community meetings were backed by a series of pilot projects, to address priority issues such as clearing weeds from navigation channels to improve transportation and fishing, increasing cultural tourism and managing waste to protect water quality. Community activists successfully pushed to incorporate gender, poverty and HIV/AIDS components as well.
Tanzania’s Pangani River is a vital resource for national economic development. However, it is under severe pressure due to the over-allocation of water, altered rainfall patterns and growing populations. Current uses demand more water than is available and streams that formerly flowed year round now run dry for parts of the year. WANI studied river flows and water uses, bringing people together to develop a wide basin management plan.
Moving from highly centralized governance to more democratic decision making was the goal of WANI’s work in partnership with the Organization for the Development of the Senegal River Basin (OMVS). A severe drought had forced riparian nations to work together, but they had failed to engage civil society. WANI facilitated dialogues in the riparian countries resulting in a “terms of engagement” document, which laid out a shared understanding of all parties’ responsibilities and expectations.
West Africa’s Volta River always seemed to have either too much or too little water to support the villages along its banks. WANI helped form water-user associations that linked communities across the Burkina Faso–Ghana border, as well as national-level committees. A Code of Conduct was developed between Ghana and Burkina Faso to manage shared waters .
Mali, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Cote d’Ivoire
Suchiate and Coatan Basins. The spectacular volcano Tacaná, on the Mexican-Guatemalan border, is the second highest peak in Central America. Several watersheds in the border areas flow to the Pacific supporting small communities. In the high tributary streams, WANI helped develop 12 micro-watershed committees, to manage their shared water and land resources. It also developed links among the committees and with higher-level institutions.
Mexico and Guatemala