OECD Studies on Water

2224-5081 (online)
2224-5073 (print)
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Water is essential for economic growth, human health, and the environment. Yet governments around the world face significant challenges in managing their water resources effectively. The problems are multiple and complex: billions of people are still without access to safe water and adequate sanitation; competition for water is increasing among the different uses and users; and major investment is required to maintain and improve water infrastructure in OECD and non-OECD countries. This OECD series on water provides policy analysis and guidance on the economic, financial and governance aspects of water resources management. These aspects generally lie at the heart of the water problem and hold the key to unlocking the policy puzzle.

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Water Resources Governance in Brazil

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02 Sep 2015
9789264238121 (PDF) ;9789264238114(print)

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Water is abundant in Brazil, but unevenly distributed across regions and users. Remarkable progress to reform the sector has been achieved since the 1997 National Water Law, but economic, climate and urbanisation trends generate threats that may jeopardize national growth and development. The consequences are particularly acute in regions where tensions across water users already exist or are likely to grow. The report is the result of a policy dialogue with more than 100 stakeholders at different levels in Brazil. It assesses the performance of Brazil’s water governance and suggests policy recommendations for strengthening the co-ordination between federal and state water policies and for setting up more robust water allocation regimes that can better cope with future risks. The report concludes with an action plan, which suggests concrete milestones and champion institutions to implement those recommendations.

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  • Foreword

    Brazil holds 12% of worldwide freshwater, but water scarcity due to severe weather conditions in recent years has triggered a debate about how water resources can be managed effectively in a "water-rich" country. Water availability needs to be monitored and managed locally, and robust institutions and policies are required to make the best use of available water, now and in the future.

  • Acronyms and abbreviations
  • Executive summary
  • Assessment and recommendations

    The report focuses on two questions that have been at the core of the policy dialogue with Brazilian stakeholders over the past 18 months: 1) how is the multi-level governance system performing in terms of co-ordinating state and federal water policies and priorities? 2) are current water allocation regimes robust enough to cope with future water risks?

  • Setting the scene

    This chapter introduces basic facts and data on the main characteristics, challenges and uses of water in Brazil, linking with economic development, public health and welfare policies. It pays particular attention to the water-energy nexus and to regional disparities in terms of water availability, quality and access, as well as institutional capacity to address those challenges. The chapter also covers the impacts of climate change and the difficultly in dealing with uncertainty.

  • Water governance in Brazil

    This chapter analyses water governance achievements and challenges in Brazil, in the light of major reforms carried out over the past 17 years. It provides an institutional mapping of who does what across ministries and levels of government, and assesses how interdependencies across multiple stakeholders, public authorities and policy areas are managed. The analysis emphasises multi-level governance gaps and suggests policy recommendations to bridge them, building on international experience.

  • Advancing Brazil's National Pact for Water Management

    This chapter focuses on the National Pact for Water Management as a multi-level governance contract aiming to strengthen states’ capacity to manage water resources in an integrated manner. Building on an international review of experiences in contracts across levels of government, the chapter highlights the key features and advantages of the National Pact for Water Management, as well as possible bottlenecks to its implementation, and concludes with recommendations to reap the full benefits of this governance instrument in support to the National Water Resources Management System.

  • Water allocation as a policy instrument in Brazil

    This chapter discusses how water is being allocated in Brazil and highlights some of the main achievements thus far. While acknowledging the diversity of contexts and arrangements across the country, the chapter also identifies several weaknesses, which need to be addressed so that water effectively contributes to broader policy objectives in Brazil in the fields of economic development, social equity and environmental performance.

  • Action plan for strengthening water governance in Brazil

    This chapter sets a tailored action plan to put the suggested policy recommendations in practice through concrete milestones and clearly identified champion institutions. It is organised around the three dimensions of the policy dialogue: water governance, the National Pact for Water Management and water allocation. The action plan suggests practical steps, potential indicators and relevant OECD experiences.

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