As we seek to better understand what circumstances local alternatives for democratic, equitable and sustainable control of water Commons are working best, water justice activists in the North and South continue to rediscover the wealth of alternatives in the indigenous societies that so-called “modernization” has effectively neglected, excluded and degraded. We find ourselves marveling at the amazing diversity of culturally-specific economic and political traditions around water that both exist and are being created.
These living experiments, present in both indigenous and non indigenous societies, help us redefine the meaning and practice of the water Commons and of water justice.
Toward exploring such positive solutions, this report draws together 22 “tools” or cases of local action that emphasize local control of the water Commons for equitable access and sustainability. This collection is by no means complete. In fact, this is the strength of the alternatives out there: there is a true wealth of them. These tools are meant to provoke discussion and dialogue, and to raise further questions and answers.
View each case study by clicking the links on the left column of this page, or download a PDF of the full report.
Urban Water Utilities and Upstream Communities Working Together
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.