Community participation and implementation of water management instruments in watersheds

  • Tadeu Fabricio Malheiros Escola de Engenharia de São Carlos da Universidade de São Paulo (USP)
  • Mariza Guimarães Prota Faculdade de Saúde Pública da USP
  • Mario Alejandro Perez Rincon Instituto CINARA - Universidad del Valle
Keywords: Water resources management, river basin committee, participatory process, Tiete - Jacare Basin (Brazil)


The current model of water resources management in Brazil is decentralized, participative and integrated, and adopted the river basin as a planning unit. It is based on the performance of watershed committees; each committee has its own composition and rules of procedure, governed by its statute. The basic principles of this management have been established by the Brazilian Constitution of 1988 and detailed by the National Water Resources Policy in 1997. At the State level, São Paulo enacted its water resources policy in 1991. This paper examined the participatory process in basin committees of the São Paulo State and its implications in the implementation of the instruments of water management, based in a case study of the Tiete - Jacaré Watershed Committee, using questionnaires filled by the Committee’s members (2009 - 2011). Engagement and integration among the stakeholders was observed. Still, the interviews’ results have shown that the Committee’s statute should be reviewed due to differences between the Federal and the State legislation, mainly regarding the participating sectors and representatives. It also showed a need for more information about water resource issues in this basin and in the State of São Paulo, as a whole. At the same time, it is recommended that representativeness of the institutions within the water council management be improved and that the work produced by the technical chambers be recognised at the committee decision-making level.