Water Disputes in the Educadorian Context Up to the Third Millennium: No State, No Market, No Common Property The transition of Santa Rosa (Tungurahua province)

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"In the Ecuadorian part of the Andes, irrigation is used on some 400,000 hectares; of which 320, 000 depend on private or community-based water management. State schemes, thus, only serve 80,000 hectares. In the 1970s-1980s, the state started taking over water administration by nationalizing all the water resources and granting concessions to the communities. In the beginning, the Instituto ecuatoriano de los recursos hidraulicos did useful work by modernizing the water rights system, but because of inter-community conflicts, local concessions were split up and community organizations became divisive. "After thirty years of 'hydraulic bureaucracy,' the last few governments have been trying to apply a new, liberal policy. During the last five years, the World Bank has been introducing a new legal framework, much like the Chilean model for water privatization. Resistance has come from many quarters. The politico-economic crisis during the last ten years has not facilitated the introduction and adoption of the new water law. The problem of water is now the focus of farmer organizations and the civil society, as well as professional circle, of course. "Since 1988 we have been studying a very complex slope of the Andes in the Santa Rosa region. This paper describes the problems facing the local society because it lacks the background needed for water management and conflict resolution. The communities of the region are divided, their state authority is weak, and they are unfamiliar with the new legal provisions needed for water management. Our example comes from the fight over water from an old canal between 1990 and1995 period when the State decided to allocate all the water to the communities residing along the canal. Today, the water dispute has taken a new, curious turn: the people are faced with no state, no market and no common links."
IASC, common pool resources, water resources, irrigation, mountain regions, Andes, resource management, conflict, institutional analysis