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Ensuring long-term water security is essential in the pathway towards climate change adaptation, inclusive growth and sustainable development in Argentina. In a country with such a large territorial and hydrological diversity, managing water risks and ensuring universal access to drinking water and sanitation, requires effective multi-level governance and planning. The macroeconomic context as well as key megatrends related to climate, demography and urbanisation pose serious challenges to current and future water availability and demand. But they also provide a unique opportunity to set the right incentives towards greater water use efficiency and to transition from crisis to risk management, in a shared responsibility across local, basin, state and national levels.

Over the past year, the national Secretary of Infrastructure and Water Policy of the Ministry of Interior, Public Works and Housing of Argentina and the OECD, in co-operation with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), have engaged a multi-stakeholder dialogue to assess the strengths and weaknesses of Argentina’s water governance against the OECD Principles on Water Governance, and to enhance national and provincial capacity to deliver effective, efficient, and inclusive water policies. This policy dialogue involved over 200 representatives from public, private and non-profit sectors (Annex A). It was based on a robust data collection process and benefited from peer-reviewers from Australia, Brazil, the Netherlands, Spain and the United States. The report Water Governance in Argentina summarises the key findings and recommendations from this dialogue. It includes an evidence-based analysis of the multi-level governance, basin management and economic regulation of the sector. In addition, four case studies depict the distinctive challenges faced at basin, metropolitan and provincial scale to manage water resources (Mendoza and the Inter jurisdictional Authority of the Limay, Neuquen and Negro River Basin) and deliver water services (Metropolitan Area of Buenos Aires and Santa Fe) in Argentina.

Water policy has recently gained higher profile in Argentina’s national agenda, especially after the launch of an ambitious National Water Plan in 2016 aiming for water resilience, climate change adaptation and universal access to water services, and the creation of a dedicated Secretary of Infrastructure and Water Policy. Moving forward, the report identifies three areas of action to make water policies fit for the future: i) a stronger multi-level governance system that reconciles national and provincial priorities; ii) a more functional approach aligning administrative and hydrological boundaries to manage water at the right scale; and iii) an effective regulatory framework to provide better quality water services. With such actions, Argentina will be equipped to design and implement better water policies for better lives.



Pablo J. Bereciartua

Secretary of Infrastructure and Water Policy, Argentina



Lamia Kamal-Chaoui

Director, OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities

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