The Discussion to Implement Charging for the Use of Water Resources: Challenges in Participatory Management

Monday, July 14, 2014: 5:30 PM
Room: Booth 65
Oral Presentation
Sara FREITAS , Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil, São Paulo, Brazil
Ana Paula FRACALANZA , Procam, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
The participatory institutions appear as one of the greatest innovations occurred in Brazilian democracy since the 1980´s, and have as a principle the joint action between state and civil society and the sharing of responsibilities in the design and management of public policies. São Paulo State´s Water Resources Policy has the premise that water management should be decentralized, integrated and participatory, through the Watershed Committees. One of the tasks of the Watershed Committees is to establish the charging for the use of water, the economic instrument of water resources policy, which aims to encourage the rational and sustainable use of water. This study aims to analyze the discussion for the implementation of charging for the use of water in the Basin Committee of the Upper Tietê, located at the Metropolitan Region of São Paulo, in the period 2006-2010, in order to examine how the participatory process was and how the participation of the state, municipalities and civil society occurred. This article aims to identify the specificity of the participatory process through the analysis of Watershed Committee meeting´s minutes and to compare it with a theoretical reference. The hypothesis is that the state failed to provide igualitary conditions for the representation of participants in the Watershed Committee of the Upper Tietê in the drafting and implementation of water use charging. Furthermore, the inaction of state institutions may have contributed to the slowness of the process. The evaluation of the discussing process for water charging in the Upper Tietê Basin corroborates to the debate about the actual influence of participatory institutions in public policies and the prospects for improving the existing relationship between government and civil society and the conditions for the exercise of democracy in environmental issues.