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Decision Making and Social Learning: the Case of Watershed Committee of the State of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

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Water is an essential element to life, and must be available to meet the basic needs of human beings. One of these needs is the production of food, emphasizing the relevance of agribusiness agents in the management of this natural resource. This study discusses how the management of water resources is being conducted by Committees of Watersheds in the State Rio Grande do Sul, focusing on decision making and in social learning. This is an exploratory study, supported by predominantly qualitative analysis. The results showed that the formation of the Committees of Watersheds in the State of Rio Grande do Sul depends on local decisions that are distinct in each region of the State. Evolution in the learning process of the members of the Committees occurs from the existence of conflicts. The conflicts emerge from issues concerning the use of water due to the multiple interests involved and provide discussions and solutions that lead to learning. Decisions taken in the Basin Committees are generally operating and relating to the quantity or quality of water. Social learning is promoted by actions of technical and relational nature offered by the exchange of knowledge and experience among stakeholders and other agents involved.

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Brazil, Ministry of Education, Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES).

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Correspondence to Melissa Watanabe.

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Watanabe, M., da Rosa Gama Madruga, L.R., Yamaguchi, C.K. et al. Decision Making and Social Learning: the Case of Watershed Committee of the State of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Water Resour Manage 28, 3815–3828 (2014).

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  • Water resource
  • Social learning
  • Conflicts
  • Agribusiness