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Successfully scaled-up water management strategy for Guatemala

© IUCN, 2012

Guatemala

The watersheds of the Tacaná volcano cover a transboundary area in the middle of the border area of the Department of San Marcos in Guatemala, and the State of Chiapas in Mexico. These watersheds are of great strategic importance for both countries since they supply water to a large number of residents in the cities located downstream and are the main source of irrigation water for agriculture. In the lower reaches, fishing is an important source of income.

However, deforestation and degradation of the upper watersheds and of river banks had led to erosion, flooding, and reduced capacity of the watersheds to absorb water.

14 micro-watershed councils successfully engaged with the municipal authorities to develop a coordinated alliance of government and non-governmental organizations at the subnational level. They combined pilot projects to improve livelihoods with bottom-up integrated governance of water resource management; there were also numerous community pilot projects to improve livelihoods through environmental conservation projects. The success of this coordination led to replication in other municipalities and ultimately to the creation of a national micro-watershed commission in Guatemala.

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