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Commission for the Upper Cauca River Basin Recovery

Collaborative Governance for Sustainability and Water Security

14 April 2022


Authors: Luis Dario Sánchez Torres, Alberto Galvis Castaño, Mario Andres Gandini, Gloria Almario, Maria Victoria Montero, and María Virginia Vergara


Rivers are essential for life; there is an indissoluble relationship between the natural system and the human system. Aquatic ecosystems guarantee ecosystem services to the human system, on the other hand, the human system makes use of these services, and this generates effects on the natural system. An overuse of these services could adversely impact the natural system, therefore the recovery of rivers is a priority for the planet. This work describes the progress of the Commission for the Recovery of the Upper Cauca River Basin as a collaborative governance for sustainability and water security in the region. The upper basin is between the Colombian massif, in the Department of Cauca, and the municipality of Cartago in Valle del Cauca. It is an important natural, cultural, social, and economic resource of Colombia, but it presents a continuous deterioration of water availability, both in quantity and quality, limiting its use for human consumption and a reduction in biodiversity.

This work shows that the Commission for the Recovery of the Upper Cauca River Basin is a process in development. The Commission is made up of both public and private entities, arising from the failure of the current model of water resource management in Colombia. The central problem is how to transcend short-term planning in administrations, moving to long-term planning based on a shared vision. The need to achieve a shared vision across the watershed, with all actors involved, is clear.

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