In an increasingly deforested jungle community of Marques de Comilla, Chiapas, women walk far to fetch water. Villagers are organizing against a proposed dam, whose water will be used in the north of Mexico while causing social and environmental problems here in Mexico's south. Credit: Linda Mason.
While there are plenty of reasons to be discouraged by the state of the world’s water, this study offers good news for innovative watershed stewardship. The report explores cooperative arrangements among urban public water operators, municipalities, civil society organizations and the rural communities from where cities often draw their water. This paper — and the global conference on which it was based — investigates the common interest and practical collaboration for source water protection that exists between urban and rural communities in Latin America. Because of its instructive track record in working with upstream communities, the NYC-Catskills/Delaware Program was chosen as a departure point for discussion.
The Our Water Commons network recently published a report summarizing 22 commons-based water strategies from around the globe. At this moment as the economic, climate and water resource threats loom large, it is critical that we learn from and build on successful community-based strategies.