Finding their own way towards sustainable water governance

Posted by on January 21, 2014 in CADWAGO blog | 0 comments

Finding their own way towards sustainable water governance

This is the second blog about the Italian case in the Arborea district where Pier Paolo Roggero and his team at NRD are working with stakeholders to develop governance strategies.

“In a very recent flooding event (some 400 mm rain in a few hours) in the neighbouring municipalities of Terralba and Uras people died and huge damage was caused to infrastructure. The Arborea community, which was not flooded thanks to the continuous maintenance of the drainage canal network, was very proactive in providing assistance to their neighbours. Climate change was a central topic in the press after this event and local stakeholders already asked us to contribute to this discussion.

In this region the team at NRD works with entrepreneurs and regional and province authorities to reflect on their awareness of climate and water issues and on their effective and future engagement. This is a first step in the construction of future scenarios where politicians and entrepreneurs as well as the other stakeholders are aware of their role in defining governance strategies.

Involving the wider community is considered strategic to support effective change at district level. The aim is to integrate communication in the context of “public events” organized for other purposes, in order to capture the attention of a wide range of stakeholder. This will help to facilitate social learning and the development of win-win adaptive responses to climate change. Stakeholders are encouraged to find their own way towards sustainable water governance. Researchers also aim to verify stakeholders’ awareness about climate change; how much they are already developing adaptive strategies and how strong they are motivated; their capacity to develop actions in order to take advantage of climate change; their ability to create networks and partnerships; their willingness to invest in terms of money, time and engagement. In other words, participants are involved because they are recognized as those who create the conditions for shaping adaptation strategies.

In this context, our team actively participated at a round table on 9 November 2013. The round table was organized by a grass-roots movement (called “No al progetto Eleonora”, born to fight a methane drilling project in Arborea), and the top managers of the Cooperativa Produttori and Cooperativa 3A were invited. Before the meeting, a workshop was organised among the invited speakers to introduce ourselves and explain our role in that context. During the public meeting, Pier Paolo Roggero steered the conversation into a discussion about the strategies of adaptation to change. He asked cooperatives’ managers about their past experiences on implementing change adaptation. Our aim was to discover how managers had learned lessons from past good and bad decisions that constrained today’s choice. Moreover, we invited them to talk about their future visions.

At the community level, also in view of a high level stakeholder interaction in the context of the MACSUR project ( that will be held in Sardinia on 1 April 2014. A “socio-technical object” will be constructed around keywords such as water governance, nitrate pollution, rural development, climate change, adaptive management and near future scenarios around which collective reflections could emerge.

We are enthusiastic to work in an interdisciplinary environment that includes a.o. agronomy, hydro-geology, economics, sociology, ecology and climatology. Sante Maurizi, a Sardinian playwright and actor, is involved in the social learning process at the community level. He was already involved in the “Teatro dell’Acqua” (Water Theatre) a civil theatre event in the context of the SLIM project We really hope that our work might represent a first step in the creation of a shared framing where all stakeholders are aware of being important elements in the definition of strategies in a Governance perspective.

Our open questions at this stage are:

  • Will the engagement of a wider public be effective in constructing a community vision of future adaptation strategies to climate change? What is missing in our approach?
  • What kind of critical events could we design to trigger community discussion without the risk of speculating on the emotion of the recent flooding…?

If you have suggestions or other questions please leave a comment.”

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