Water governance incorporates systems-political, social, economic, and administrative-to develop and manage water resources and delivery to different members of society. Elements of a strong water governance program should include mechanisms and processes through which all involved stakeholders communicate their needs, exercise their legal rights and mediate their differences to develop fair and equitable water programs.
Agriculture is a major water user and is therefore likely to be impacted by potential future changes to water allocation and access. Issues of great importance to the cotton industry include:
o Allocation of water resources for application in agriculture and industry (textile processing)
o Access to efficient water delivery and irrigation systems
o Increased regulations or reporting
A strong governance program would guide the
decision-making process, regulation creation, and execution, operation, and
monitoring of all aspects of a water program. Water governance can exist at a
local (watershed) level, national level, or regional (transboundary) level. The
interconnections between these different governance programs should be
considered to optimize their effectiveness and integrity. Communities may
benefit from having a national Integrated Water Resource Management system that
considers and addresses all aspects of a water program.
It is important to establish the water governance systems and mechanisms in the short-term because it will likely be more difficult and contentious as resources become more scarce, demand increase and lesser reliability of weather patterns (rainfall) due to climate change.
In future blogs, I will continue to explore water governance with a focus on introducing tools and systems that can be used to develop water governance programs and system.
- What, if any, efforts are being made within the cotton industry to evaluate, improve or develop water governance programs that protect the cotton industry's water allocation and rights?
- What are examples of strong governance programs that address local watersheds but work within a defined national or regional water governance framework?