The "Cultivating Good Water" is a set of social-environmental programmes of Itaipu together with over 2,200 partners, executed in the 29 cities that compose the Paraná Basin - Part 3 (BP3), in western region of Paraná. In each city, there is a steering committee with strong popular participation.

 

Among the main programme actions, there are the recovery of microbasins and environmental education in communities surrounding the Itaipu reservoir, as well as initiatives to support organic and family farming, aquaculture (fish farming), indigenous communities, collectors’ cooperatives of recyclable materials, cultivation of medicinal plants, among others.

After over a decade of its implementation, the programme is already at an advanced stage in approximately 30% of the territory of BP3, resulting in 206 microbasins worked.

 

PRACTICES RELATED TO THE PROGRAMME

 

Practice description 

 

1- BACKGROUND

In 2003, Itaipu promoted a wide-ranging review of its strategic planning. This change was due to the new political situation in Brazil and the understanding that Itaipu, for its strategic importance and enormous influence in the region, could become an important promoter of public policies of the federal government, such as those addressing the family farm, to combat poverty, among others. It resulted in an enlargement of institutional mission and strategic objectives of Itaipu, previously restricted to the energy use of the Parana River between Guaira and Foz do Iguaçu. The new mission now includes social-environmental responsibility and the development of new technologies and tourism, in a sustainable manner, in the plant's area of ​​influence. In Brazil, this area matches to the Paraná River Basin - Part 3. To address the environmental and social liabilities of that region, the programme "Cultivating Good Water” was created, which covers 20 programmes, divided into 65 interconnected actions, having as the main axes the management of river basins, the environmental education and the shared management with surrounding communities.

 

2 - PARTNERS

Shared management is one of the strengths of the CGW, which has more than 2,200 partners, including federal, state and municipal governments, cities halls, education and research institutions, NGOs, cooperatives and community associations. 

 

3 - GENERAL OBJECTIVE

The "Cultivating Good Water” aims to promote: 

- The quantity and quality of water, with protection, management and conservation of soil and water;

- The preservation, restoration and conservation of biodiversity, in particular through the restoration of riparian forests and creation of biodiversity corridors;

- The restoration of environmental flows;

- The strengthening of family farming;

- New local productive arrangements;

- The diversified and clean production systems, as agroecologic, resulting in food quality, in particular for use in school feeding;

- The inclusion of social and economically vulnerable segments (collectors, fishermen, indigenous population), dignifying their activities, with economic, social, political and technological inclusion;

- The formal, non-formal and informal environmental education permeating all actions and counting with more than 14,000 protagonists of environmental education (95% volunteers);

- New production and consumption patterns;

- The consolidation of water culture and ethics of care, establishing the close relationship between the challenge of global sustainability and the necessary local action, from a holistic, comprehensive and integrated view of man's relationship with his environment, where the sustainability is a result of new ways of being/feeling, living, producing and consuming;

Finally, the improvement of the quality of life of thousands people.

 

4 - METHODOLOGY

The main feature of the programme is in the involvement of communities and institutions/organizations. All projects and microbasins have management committees, which are composed ​​by basin’s social actors. The planning, execution, monitoring and evaluation of actions generate the commitment and shared responsibility required for programme sustainability. The deployment steps are:

1 – Microbasin selection.

2 - Awareness. 

3 – Formation of Management Committees: Integrated by Itaipu representatives, from several local, state and federal agencies presents in the region, cooperatives, companies, unions, social organizations, universities, schools and farmers, in the widest possible participation.

4 - Accomplishment of Future Workshops (Paulo Freire's method): It happens in three stages:

a) Wailing Wall: The community is encouraged to express their criticism and perceptions of local problems;

b) Hope Tree: Every dream is discussed and voted on, and goes to the hope tree;

c) Way Ahead: Inspired by the Earth Charter, it is a work plan for the microbasin. 

The community defines the corrective actions of the problems identified, undertakes to assume new approach, based on the ethics of care, fraternal coexistence between it and its surroundings. 

5 - Water Pact: Celebration moment for the water care, when the community symbolically signing the Charter of the Water Pact, document generated from the Future Workshops in which the community reveals its problems, its dreams and the steps to be taken from that time in order to ensure its sustainability in the "Agenda 21 do Pedaço". 

6 - Covenants: They are formal and legal instruments of participative management, signed between Itaipu and other institutions.

7 - Implementation and Workshops "The Future in the Present”: Itaipu and partners implement the activities and collectively monitor the results. 

 

5 - ACHIEVEMENTS

In 10 years of the programme, more than 250 of the Future Workshops, totaling about 10 thousand participants, were held throughout the territory, what mobilized communities to the solution of environmental liabilities in 197 microbasins; the recovery of 22 hectares of arable land before degraded; the readjustment of 700 km of rural roads that were contributing to the erosion and rivers contamination; and the protection of about 1,300 linear kilometers of riparian forests in the rivers and streams of the region. About 1,200 region farmers converted (or are in an advanced conversion process) their properties for organic production. Approximately 70% of the food used in school meals in 29 cities in the region is organic and locally produced. The programme already has more than 19,400 educators and environmental education managers directly involved in the actions and 720 people trained as basins managers.  

  

6 - TRANSFER

Inspired by CGW methodology, several institutions are in phase and/or implementation of similar initiatives, such as:

a) Eletrobras System: various system companies promoted visits to Itaipu to see how CGW works.

b) Federal Government: The National Department of Water Resources is developing a plan to recover river basins using CGW methodology.

c) Paraná Government: the government began to implement a basin restoration programme that incorporates CGW principles and methodologies.

d) Others river basins in Paraná, Mato Grosso do Sul, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul has been providing technical exchanges with Itaipu.

e) Through the Knowledge Centre and Socio-Environmental Care of Prata Basin, methodologies and programme initiatives, especially in the field of environmental education, have been disseminated in the five countries of the Basin.

f) Through the International Centre for Hydroinformatics, based in PTI, Itaipu and the CGW have contributed to the UNESCO Hydrological Programme.

g) With IUCN, Itaipu and its partners are conducting studies on environmental flows in the CGW region.

h) In cooperation with the binational Yacyretá (Argentina-Paraguay), Itaipu helped to create the "Cultivando Y Porã", similar to the CGW programme.

i) In November 2013, Itaipu partnered with Spain and six other Latin American countries to share the CGW methodology with those governments. Currently, four pilot projects are under implementation in Guatemala.

 

7 - LESSONS LEARNED

The main problem was to break with paternalism idea of ​​Itaipu company in the region. The solution was to create a state of share responsibility by means of a new governance, in which everybody form part of the solution for social and environmental problems.

It was also necessary to change the themes and the outdated mentality of relationship they have with the environment. To resolve this, resources were invested mainly in environmental education and training of different actors, by first taking a global-local systems view.

The lack of investment by public institutions in environmental projects and actions was approached from the awareness of public officials and the implementation of Municipal Management Committees and community awareness on emerging issues. 

 

 

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