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WRC Lighthouse 5 - Freshwater Governance

At the interface of economics, politics and environmental protection efforts, the management and distribution of water resources is said to be one of the greatest global challenges of the 21st century. Scarcity of and inadequate access to water are exacerbated by pressures such as population growth, urbanisation, expansion of economic activities, and climate change. These sources of stress pose severe risks for the livelihoods and economic security of many segments of society now and in the future, particularly the poor. Numerous efforts have been made towards recycling, reusing and conserving water in many of its applications in industrial processes, energy generation and agricultural water use. However, demand continues to escalate and is already exceeding the available water supply in some areas. Although various technologies exist to enhance the availability of freshwater, such as desalination technologies and large-scale water transfer schemes, these options come at a high environmental and economic cost.

Decisions around access to water are largely dependent on how these resources are governed. Governance systems determine who gets what water, when and how, and determine who has the right to water and related services, who makes these decisions and at what level, who pays for it and who decides how much, what systems are in place to ensure equity and fairness in these allocation decisions and who is responsible for putting these systems in place and ensuring compliance and recourse. The relevant role players are not limited to ‘government’, but include the private sector and civil society. They also relate to a range of issues intimately connected to water, from health and food security to economic development, land use and the protection of the natural ecosystems on which our water resources depend.

The aim of the Freshwater Governance Lighthouse is to create robust dialogue related to governance, to contribute to local and international debates, to raise the level of awareness and discussion at local and international scales, to mobilise research partnerships to develop a comprehensive research programme covering all of the various aspects of governance, and to raise the profile of the WRC in this programme as a leading thinker in the field of governance research.

AJ Prost mentions that, unlike experts, knowledge products such as software, patents and CD-ROMs do not automatically create organisational capabilities. In most cases, their potential can be realised only through human action. Therefore, the 'fit' of acquired knowledge products is extremely important. New ideas and new knowledge can take effect only if they are at least somewhat compatible with the old. The less familiar a new idea is, the more likely that it will be rejected.

In response, the objective of the WRC KM Model is to follow a building block model (See Figure 6) to plan and integrate the activities within the WRC and the outreach from the WRC to have maximum impact.

The WRC will build its KM Model on three elements: (1) WRC knowledge use; (2) solutions exchange; and (3) knowledge brokerage

 
 
 
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