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Understanding the New Nicaraguan Water Law: How Rules and Players Interact and Affect Implementation?

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Novo, P.; Garrido, A.
Conference: Sustaining Commons: Sustaining Our Future, the Thirteenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Hyderabad, India
Conf. Date: January 10-14
Date: 2011
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/7393
Sector: Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: Central America & Caribbean
Subject(s): water management
social-ecological systems
institutional analysis
Abstract: "This paper provides a diagnosis about the Nicaraguan Water Law, enacted in September 2007, by identifying the major factors that may impede or delay its future implementation and enforcement. Its empirical underpinning is provided by 41 in-depth interviews among a sample of representative policy actors and stakeholders. The analysis is approach from a social-ecological systems perspective, taking into account the patterns of interaction among water, institutions and the country-specific setting. The results show that the law’s potential for solving water conflicts is yet to be seen in practice. For example, the institutional remapping grants new roles to old actors as well as old roles to new entities. In addition, sugarcane mills, rice, and coffee lobbies have presence in the legislative and block the appointment of managers in the newly created institutions. Interaction patterns related to deliberative processes, networking activities and conflicts of interest may explain to a large extent the delay in the law implementation. A disaggregate analysis reveals that stakeholders have different perceptions about what are the major barriers for an effective law application. This paper argues that at the root of the problems is the inconsistency of setting advanced water objectives which land on weak institutions. Although this study focused on the Nicaraguan case, the approach adopted in this study could yield useful results in other countries and challenge the setting of complex and imported water laws in countries with a great plurality in organizations, institutions, ecosystems and water management objectives."

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