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Local groundwater governance in Yemen: building on traditions and enabling communities to craft new rules

Gouvernance locale de nappe au Yémen : construire sur les traditions et permettre aux communautés d’établir de nouvelles règles

La gobernanza local del agua subterránea en Yemen: construyendo sobre las tradiciones y permitiendo a las comunidades locales elaborar nuevas normas

也门当地地下水水政:建立在传统之上并保障社区制定新规定的权力

Governança local de águas subterrâneas no Iémen: fundada nas tradições e permitindo às comunidades o desenvolvimento de novas regras

Abstract

Local groundwater management in Yemen and the means by which stakeholders can work together to improve water governance are discussed. In the last few decades the discourse on groundwater management in Yemen has increasingly been cast in terms of crisis, triggered by rapidly declining water tables around cities and in the main agricultural areas. However, in some places in Yemen, communities have responded by implementing local rules that have reduced conflict and provided more reliable and equitable access to water. This trend towards development of local groundwater governance is described, and could make a major contribution in realizing the goals of national water-sector policies and strategies. Twenty-four cases have been identified from different parts of the country and five cases are presented in detail. The article discusses how the process of local management could be nurtured and how it could contribute to rebalancing water use in several parts of Yemen.

Résumé

Le management local de nappe au Yémen et les moyens avec lesquels les décideurs peuvent travailler ensemble pour améliorer la gouvernance de l’eau sont discutés. Durant les quelques dernières décades le discours sur le management de l’eau souterraine au Yémen a progressivement été diffusé en termes de crise, déclenché par l’approfondissement rapide de la surface libre de la nappe autour des villes et dans les principales régions agricoles. Toutes fois, en certains endroits au Yémen, des collectivités ont répondu en mettant en place des règles locales qui ont réduit le conflit et fourni un moyen d’accès à l’eau plus sûr et plus équitable. Cette tendance vers un développement local de la gouvernance de l’eau est décrit, qui pourrait représenter une contribution majeure à la réalisation des objectifs des politiques et stratégies dans le secteur de l’eau. Vingt quatre cas ont été identifiés dans différentes parties du pays et cinq cas sont présentés en détail. L’article discute comment le processus de management local pourrait être alimenté et comment il pourrait contribuer à rééquilibrer l’usage de l’eau dans plusieurs parties du Yémen.

Resumen

Se discuten el manejo local del agua subterránea en Yemen y los medios por los cuales los usuarios pueden trabajar en conjunto para mejorar la gobernanza del agua. En las últimas pocas décadas el discurso sobre el manejo del agua subterránea en Yemen se ha proyectado crecientemente en términos de crisis, disparado por una rápida declinación de los niveles freáticos alrededor de las ciudades y en las áreas agrícolas principales. Sin embargo, en algunos lugares de Yemen, las comunidades han respondido implementando normas locales que han reducido el conflicto y proporcionaron un acceso al agua más confiable y equitativo. Se describe esta tendencia hacia el desarrollo de la gobernanza local del agua subterránea, lo que constituiría una contribución mayor para alcanzar las metas de las políticas y estrategias de los organismos nacionales de agua. Se han identificado veinticuatro casos de diferentes partes del país y se presentan cinco casos en detalle. El artículo discute como el proceso del manejo local podría ser alimentado y como podría contribuir para un uso rebalanceado del agua en varias partes de Yemen.

摘要

本文对也门当地地下水管理及利益相关者提高地下水支配的合作手段进行讨论。在过去几十年里,由于城市周围及主要农业区地下水水位急剧降低引起的关于也门地下水管理危机方面的论述逐渐增加。然而,也门有些地区的社区通过实施降低冲突并能提供更可靠公平的水使用权的当地法规来回应。本文对地下水支配的发展趋势进行阐述,并对实现国家水部门政策及策略做出贡献。从来自全国不同地区的24个被验证的案例中选择5个详细说明。本文讨论了若干地区当地管理的运行过程以及用水再平衡在也门的部分地区如何做出贡献。

Resumo

Discute-se a gestão local de águas subterrâneas no Iémen e os meios com os quais os atores podem trabalhar juntos para melhorar a governança da água. Nas últimas décadas aumentou a discussão sobre a gestão dos recursos hídricos subterrâneos no Iémen, focada do ponto de vista de crise, e despoletada pelo rápido declínio dos níveis piezométricos à volta das cidades e das áreas agrícolas. Contudo, nalguns lugares no Iémen, as comunidades responderam positivamente, com a implementação de regras locais que acabaram por reduzir os conflitos e facultaram um acesso mais fiável e equitativo à água. Descreve-se esta tendência no desenvolvimento da governança das águas subterrâneas, que se pensa ser uma contribuição significativa de consciencialização dos objetivos das políticas e estratégias para os recursos hídricos nacionais. Foram identificados vinte e quatro casos de estudo em diferentes partes do país, sendo cinco deles apresentados em pormenor. O artigo discute como o processo da gestão local poderia ser incrementado e como poderia contribuir para restabelecer o uso sustentável da água em diversas partes do Iémen.

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Acknowledgements

This article is based on an earlier version presented by the authors at the National Conference on Management and Development of Water Resources in Yemen, January 15–17, 2011. The authors acknowledge suggestions of the Scientific and Presentation Committee of this Conference, including comments from Dr. Al-Hamdi and Dr. Christopher Ward. The documentation of the first eight cases (Table 1) was supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Sana’a and the NWO CoCoon Program ‘Groundwater in the Political Domain’, while cases from 9–20 (Table 1) were surveyed under the Yemen Water User Associations Study funded by the Groundwater and Soil Conservation Project.

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Correspondence to Frank van Steenbergen.

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Taher, T., Bruns, B., Bamaga, O. et al. Local groundwater governance in Yemen: building on traditions and enabling communities to craft new rules. Hydrogeol J 20, 1177–1188 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10040-012-0863-1

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Keywords

  • Groundwater management
  • Yemen
  • Irrigation
  • Regulation