-.4 : 1
I1-- I--I I
INTERAMERCAN DIALOGUE ON WATER MANAGEMENT
DIALOGO IlNTEtAMOCbANO SOBRE ADMINISTRACI6N DE AGUAS
DIALOGUE INERAM INCAI DE L'ADMINISTRATION DES EAUX
DIALOGO INTERAMERCANO DE ADMINISTRACAO DE AGUAS
Proceedings of the
Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management
Miami, October 27-30, 1993
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection
The Florida Water Management Districts
Interstate Council on Water Policy
South Florida Water Management District
gs of the Intewmnrica DiLogew a Water Maaagement, contain
onffece of the same name, held iafid pt Fida, Otober 27-30,
a forum f~t te'F ~S-tlci ad iadtitutdal
of sound and suatimne AiVOWiPra-W dtoes hgaIOt
SAlso, the Dialogue atemtlW' de consfisodt of an
pHatKlership seP~lld he6 Wxat Raarter^ ^ Bfrm ,
jxOnmidi Or cdpeeedom and ftrning a water
becHtedi te rh, Ca.ain South Ai*cEa asd the
140. w r mesawre probieas and solution, eeergi
sesity, wany papers were presented u tder tiem main
ift Aqc o~a iaTc s; 2) Waer Suply and Saitation
CV exts; ad 3) Water Goveance and Policy.
andeks of JBCBDIg Bado dwSitarise aad Pnaelists froa noo'
mtfnetuopm and eampowenaet. In
as hydrioogical and wetlands research, environmental impact
modeling, and water policy were discussed.
-i brOy of Congrs Cataloging Data
Vhe rten~d fta btljie on Water Management/sponsored by the water
A s of Florida, the Florida Department of Enirommental Protection and the
il o Water Policy; co-sponsored by the Organization of American States,
Aaly Authority, MacArthur Foundation, ... [et al.J, Miami, Florida, United
Ahica,- edited and published by the South Florida Water Management District,
bet al. (ed.)
huicires Table of Conatnts
%.. 1..Water Resources -Czogeses. 2. Water Resources -United Stas-Congreses.
aer Resoutces International-Congresses. 4. Environment -Congresses. 5. Enviromaet
B e&.Cengreses. 6. Environment -International-Cogresses. 7. Sttainable
-Congresses. 8. Sustainable Development -United States-Congresses. 9.
DIte-eltean -nternaioal-Congresses. I. South lorida Water Managemet
.. Intetate CoaiuMdi doe PtieP Icy. m. aviation of American States.
M atn contains selected pape and addresses from the conference taewnerican
Water Maxage"I--W ~ by case udies presened ri tho conference.
aipressed in 'the k O d studiesam diem of the afhors and are not
sh: ared by their rdqsteti iioyers i w o. organizations or the conference
to photocopy material for intthal o l use is granted by the South
Mianagemtni Daietict, M credit to this palcation
ambor are gi tG. l bulk
d be C. District, Office of
by South Florida Water ManagnIia District
(K .adi'.l [i -t ia l Ste ae .of .Aandca
K| ^ ^HIWl ..
The Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management constitutes an important initiative
to follow up on one of the critical themes of the Earth Summit of 1992. In the post-
Rio period, sustainable management of water resources is being seen as one of the
most demanding challenges confronting developed as well as developing countries.
The launching of a sustained practical dialogue on this subject between the countries
of the Western Hemisphere sets an important example for other regions around the
Kirk Rodgers, Director of the Department of
Regional Development and Environment,
Organization of American States
An Illusion of Plenty
In the quest for better living standards and economic gain, modern society
has come to view water only as a resource that is therefore the taking, rather
than a living system that drives the workings of a natural world we depend
on. Harmonizing human needs with those of a healthy environment will
require new ways of using and managing water. And it will require adjusting
our production and consumption patterns so as to remain within ecological
Taking heed of water's limits, and learning to live within them, amounts to a
major transformation in our relationship to fresh water. Historically, we have
approached nature's water systems with a frontier philosophy, manipulating
water cycle to whatever degree engineering know-how would permit. Now,
instead of continuously reaching out for more, we must begin to look within-
within our regions, our communities, our homes and ourselves- for ways to
meet our needs while respecting water's life-sustaining functions.
On Bread and Water
Living, as so many of us do, in cities, suburbs, and towns, we leave concerns
about food production to the farmers and irrigation problems to the
engineers. In an age of space travel, telecommunications, and high-tech
health care, it seems anachronistic to worry about something as simple as
having enough water to grow sufficient food for the world's people.
From Sandra Postel's Last Oasis.
- --- --
Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management 5
Table of Contents
by Tilford C. Creel .................. .. ... ...................... 9
Acknowledgements ...... .......................................... 11
Part I The Statement of Miami 13
Part II Background and Framework Documents 19
Sustainable Development and Resource Management:
Twin Strategies for a New Millenium,
by Stephen S. Light and Marsha Kirchhoff ............................. 21
Part m Case Studies 29
Case Study 1: Comparative Analysis of the Florida Everglades and the South
American Pantanal, presented by J.S. Wade, J.C. Tucker, R.G. Hamann ........ ..31
Case Study 2: Infrastructure for Water Supply and Sanitation in the Hemisphere,
presented by N.S. Grigg .................................. ..... 72
Part IV Plenary Presentations and Keynote Addresses 97
Keynote Address by the Honorable Rodrigo Carazo .......................... .99
Text of Address by Sandra Postel ..................................... 103
The Role of Environmental Education in Watershed Management, by John H. Baldwin .... 107
Water Resources as Eyewitness to the Health and Future of the Planet,
by Charles R. Goldman. ........................................ 108
Hydrometeorological Advances in Flood Forecasting in view of Lessons from
The Great Mississippi Basin Flood of 1993, by Michael D. Hudlow ............ 109
Part V Dialogue Roundtables 117
Report of the Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management
compiled by Alberto J. Palombo ................................... 119
Major Conclusions and Recommendations .............................. 123
Roundtable I Management of Aquatic Ecosystems ........................ 127
Background Paper: Management of Aquatic Ecosystems by Joseph Browder .......... 131
Background Paper: The Environmental Conditions in Latin America A Brief Overview
by Jaim e Incer .............................................. 133
Sub-track: Environmental Problems and Assessement
Nutrient and Sediment Retention in Andrean Raised-Field Agriculture,
by Heath J. Carney et al. ..................... .................. 136
Environmental Assessment and Restoration Planning for Sensitive Coastal Resources
in Isla Vieques, Puerto Rico, by Gerard A. Gallagher, III ................... 137
Adaptively Assessing and Communicating Complex Resources Issues,
by Lance G. Gunderson ........................................ 138
Environmentally Compatible Watershed Management in Venezuela,
by Freddy Hermoso and Martin Garcia ............................... 139
Lake Chapala and Rio Blanco: Two Cases of Environmental Problems in
Western Mixico, by Fernando Montes de Oca ......................... 140
6 Table of Contents
Environmental Sustainability and the Role of Stewardship ,
by D. W. Moody and E.T. Smith ................................ 141
Washington State Marine Waters Environmental Program: A Practical Use
of Environmental Assessment Science, by Maria Victoria Peeler ............... 145
Aquatic Weed Control in the Yarinacocha Pucallpa Lagoon,
by Olga Rios Del Aguila ....................................... 159
Sub-track: Protection and Restoration Strategies
The Role of Non-Governmental Organizations in Environmental
Assessment in the Pantanal Region, by Joaquim Rondon Rocha Azevedo .......... 160
Conserving Aquatic Ecosystems for Sustainable Development,
by Gonzalo Castro ......................... .......... ..... ... 162
Management of Aquatic Ecosystems The Pantanal Case,
by Agostinho Carlos Catella ..................................... 168
The Everglades Nutrient Removal Project,
by M ariano Guardo et. al. ...................................... 171
Lessons Learned from Five Decades of Wetlands
Restoration and Creation in North America, by Robin Lewis et.al. ............. 182
The Role of Wetland Filters in Ecosystem Restoration,
by David L. Stites ........................................... 195
Development of the Kissimmee River Restoration Plan: Lessons Learned
and Recommendations for Comprehensive Restoration Projects, by Louis A. Toth .... 199
Roundtable II Water Supply and Sanitation Infrastructure
in a Sustainable Development Context 215
Background Paper: Sustainable Water Resources Management: The Challenge
of the 21st Century, by Absal6n Vasquez, Arsenio Milian, and Vinio Floris ........ 219
Sub-track: Technological Aspects of Multipurpose Water Resources Projects
Water Resources in an Era of Sustainable Development An Integrated Economic,
Engineering, Environmental and Institutional Approach, by Harold J. Day ......... 229
A Hemispheric Network Development as a Vehicle to Ensure Education, Training
and Technology Transfer in Water Resources Projects,
by Hector R. Fuentes, V. A. Tsihrintzis and R. Jaffe ...................... 239
Priority Decisions in Latin America for Water Management,
by Phillip Z. Kirpich .......................................... 247
Hydrometeorological Networks and Data Management for Prevention of Natural
Disasters in Central America, by Medardo Molina, Eladio Zarate, and Nabil Kawas .257
Water Management for the 21st Century,
by Albert Muniz, J. I. Garcia-Bengochea, R. David G. Pyne and William B. Ziegler .264
Planning A Must in the Conservation of Natural Resources: The Puerto Rico Experience,
Sby Haraldo Otero-Torres and Maria C. Flores de Otero .................... 268
Appropriate Technologies of Wastewater Treatment for Sustainable Development,
by Ernesto Perez ............................................ 269
Sub-track: Economics and Financing
Water Markets and other Mechanisms to Decentralize Water Management,
by Bill Easter .............................................. 284
Financing Investments in Water Supply and Sanitation,
by Terence R. Lee ........................................... 293
Strategy for Developing a Competitive Infrastructure in the Small Islands Economies
of the Caribbean, by Jose Martinez ................................. 305
Designing Appropriate Financial Arrangements to Ensure the Proper Maintenance
and Operation of Water Supply Facilities, by Enrique Moncada and Vinio Floris ..... 311
Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management 7
Environmental Issues and Environmentally Related Restrictions from the Perspective
of the Borrowing Country, by Jos6 Ochoa-Iturbe ..................... .. ..317
Regional Plan for Investment in the Environment and Health,
by Horst Otterstetter ............................................ 320
An Investigation of the Barriers to Private Sector Participation in Water Resources
and Sewerage Services in Latin America, by Barbara Richard and Kenneth Rubin ..... 321
Roundtable Il Water Governance and Policy 323
Background Paper: Some Comments on the Challenges Facing Water
Management in Latin America, by Axel Dourojeanni and Terence Lee ........... 327
Sub-track: Water Related Decision-Making Processes
The Need to Integrate Environmental Ethics into Environmental Science, Law,
and Economics in Water Resources Decision-Making, by Donald A. Brown ........ 333
Negotiating Collaborative Solutions in Disputes Over Water Resources,
by Barbara Gray .............................................. 340
Rio San Juan Basin: A Case of Conflict in Management of a Bi-National Basin,
by M arco A. Gonzalez ......................................... 349
Water Quality as a Top Priority for the U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development,
by Steve Parcells, and Deborah Moore ............................... 350
The World Bank Water Resources Management Policy, by Francois-Marie Patorni ...... 353
The Issue of Equity in International Environmental Negotiations: The Perspective
of a Developing Country, by Diana Ponce-Nava ........................ 355
Integrated Conservation Planning in the Cuiabd River Basin, Mato Grosso, Brazil,
by William J. Possiel, Adalberto Eberhardt and Angela Tresinari ............... 358
Enhanced Decision-Making, by Warren Viessman, Jr ...................
Sub-track: Water Law and Institutional Arrangements
The Impact of Multilateral Financing on Costa Rican Water Law Institutions,
by Rodrigo G. Barahona ..................................
Legal and Institutional Aspects of Water Charges in Brazil,
by Benedito P.F. Braga, Jr ..................................
New Instruments to Improve Water Management in Mexico,
by Jaim e Collado ........................................
Organizational Structures for Interstate and International Coordination of
Water Management, by Julio C. Fossati ..........................
Sustainable Development and Management of Water Resources A River
Basin Approach, by Gerald M. Hansler .........................
Great Lakes Remedial Action Plans: Building the Institutional Capacity to
Restore Beneficial Uses, by John H. Hartig .......................
Integrated Water Management in Chile: An Ongoing Process,
by Gustavo Manriquez and Jaime Mufioz R., (presented by Carmen L. Gutierrez)
Part VI Concurrent Fora and Special Papers
Report of the Non-Government Organization Forum .........................
Binational Management of the San Juan River Basin: From War to Cooperation
by R. Hammann, T. Ankersen, J. Bloom, M. Gonzalez ....................
WATERDIALOGUE An Interactive Communication Link for Water Managers
Throughout the Hemisphere, by Jim Maclntyre ..........................
Interamerican Survey of Water Professionals
by the Global Tomorrow Coalition .................................
8 Table of Contents
Part VII Committee Lists 425
Honorary Committee ........................................... 427
Policy Council ............................................ .... 428
Planning Committee .............. .............................. 429
Dialogue Associates ............................................... 430
Part VIII Conference Agenda 431
Part IX List of Participants 449
Part X List of Exhibitors 483
Interameican Dialogue on Water Management
Those who attended the Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management in Miami,
know what a watershed event it was. It was not just another meeting of presentations and
a true dialogue of more than 400 natural-resource professionals and policy makers from
the Western Hemisphere. They came together to determine the future of water-related i
superhighway as we move toward the next decade, century, and millennium. The result m
the groundwork for the creation and development of the Interamerican Water Resource Ib
The creation of the Statement of Miami was the Dialogue's other major accompl
contains the guiding principles that participants themselves developed as they proceeded
groups during the Dialogue. As was expected, sustainable development was the guiding pri
While the Dialogue included eminent keynote speakers, plenary sessions, and twc
South Florida's Everglades with the Pantanal of Brazil, the actual "dialogues" occurred in
and their respective small group discussions. What was truly amazing was that on the fii
more than 200 people gathered -- on a bright Saturday morning -- to hear and react f
Statement of Miami. That is a statement of their commitment to the process they helped
The Interamerican Dialogue was more than two years in the making. It was an
Earth Summit in Rio and particularly the freshwater component (Chapter 18) of Agen(
question of the Dialogue was, "How do we take the Earth Summit results and begin to m;
Moving from the Dialogue to the Network, both successes we need to celebrate,
we learned. First, we ensured that all interested groups and individuals were involved. Nol
agencies participate, but the Dialogue had strong input from influential non-governmental o
quite effective in our recruiting and in maintaining open channels with these organizations e
of this ongoing network. Second, we kept all lines of communication open and active.
This Interamerican Water Resource Network will fill a much needed "institutional
emerging transnational view of environmental restoration and sustainable development. It
efforts that will result in a globally linked system of organizations that support sustainable
At its core, the water-resource network concerns building collaborative pat
understandings that transcend political and ideological boundaries. We must promote cross-
and respect for diversity, and not lose sight of this ethos as we create a charter and bylaw
begin its administration.
Ultimately, it is the quality of the people whom we attract, not the institutions to
will make the difference in the success of this network. We must thank the staff of the
Management District and its partners like Global Tomorrow Coalition for the work leading
the Interamerican Water Resource Network. We also must thank the Organization of A
leadership in taking the reins of the network to ensure its smooth transition as it grows
instrument for water management throughout the Americas.
Tilford C. Creel, Exei
South Florida Water 1
West Palm Beach, Flo
Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management 11
The organizers of the Interamerican Dialogue in Water Management are very much indebted to the
members of the different committees (the Honorary, Policy Council and the Planning Committees), to the
Chairpersons, Moderators, and Facilitators of the roundtable discussions; and to the contributors, for their efforts
and commitment that made the Dialogue such a successful event.
This initiative could not have been possible without the financial support of the many contributors at all
levels, but very especially to The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The World Bank, Organization
of American States, Tennessee Valley Authority, Blockbuster Video, and the South Florida Water Management
District. Also, very special thanks go to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, whose facilitation and process design
enabled the moderators to guide the roundtable discussions towards a definite and coherent direction, and to the
Together Foundation for Global Unity, the provider of the WATERDIALOGUE electronic network platform -- a
crucial component of the ultimate objective of the dialogue, the Interamerican Water Resource Network.
In the day-to-day preparation of this sizable undertaking, we appreciate the work and counsel of the Global
Tomorrow Coalition, our working partner, whose dedication and administrative involvement smoothed the road to
the Dialogue and subsequent follow-up to the conference.
The Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management was hosted by the South Florida Water Management
District and sponsored by the following organizations:
Florida Department of Environmental Protection,
Northwest Florida Water Management District,
Suwannee River Water Management District,
St. Johns River Water Management District,
South Florida Water Management District,
Southwest Florida Water Management District, and
Interstate Council on Water Policy.
The Dialogue sponsors gratefully acknowledges the generosity of the following co-sponsors, who made this
FOUNDERS ($10,000 and up)
South Florida Water Management
The John D. and Catherine T.
The World Bank
Organization of American States
Tennessee Valley Authority
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
PATRONS ($5,000 9,999)
National Geographic Society
University of Miami / North-South
Law Companies Group
City of Miami
Ecology & Environment, Inc.
Bums & McDonnell
Florida Power & Light Company
Boyle Engineering Company
Cargill Fertilizer, Inc.
Florida Nurserymen & Growers
Gulf Citrus Growers Association
Holland & Knight
FRIENDS (up to $999)
CH2M Hill, Inc.
Environmental Systems Research
Professional Translating Services
Smith Barney Shearson, Inc.
f n 41 f ....h
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Part I The Statement of Miami
L_~~ Iilll _"
Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management 15
Statement of Miami
Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management
Resolutions and Conclusions
October 30, 1993
All nations face a fundamental and critical challenge to create compatible environmental reform
and economic development in order to achieve true sustainable development. This was the driving theme
of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992. We
endorse this worldwide goal, recognizing that environmental reform and economic development depend
on each other so both can succeed.
Water, life's most basic necessity, is the most obvious and most abused natural resource. It is
the one we take most for granted. Because of its vital importance to both man and nature, water is
imbued with a public interest and is considered a public resource. Water also is a strategic resource and
a catalyst to generate wealth. A sufficient supply of water is a fundamental building block for healthy
economies. The "return on investment" for wise water management is an exponential increase in the
variety and value of the products and services water enhances or makes possible.
Water sustains the world's fish and wildlife and supports its natural systems and human
enterprises. It is an essential component for recreation and tourism, which contribute to many economies.
And, of course, water is required to propagate crops and to produce most commercial goods.
To advance the crusade for sustainable development and integrated water-resource management,
more than 400 professionals from throughout the Western Hemisphere convened in Miami, Florida, in
October 1993 for the Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management.
The meeting had two main objectives. One was to increase awareness and understanding of the
importance of sustainable development and integrated water-resource management.
Establishing an Interamerican Water Resource Network was the second objective. Nations have
managed resources separately in the past, but now we must manage them cooperatively across political
boundaries. To achieve the goals of sustainable development and water-resource management,
government, business, and other organizations must clearly define existing hydrologic and political
conditions, interrelationships and interdependencies.
II. STATEMENT OF CRITICAL ISSUES
A. Research and Educational Needs for Aquatic Systems
Nations must preserve biodiversity, manage ecosystems, and achieve sustainability to maintain
this planet for future generations. These efforts, together with individual, communal, and global
stewardship, also raise ethical and economic issues which all nations must address. Despite disagreement
on the exact meaning of "sustainability," Dialogue participants embraced a definition derived from "Our
Common Future" by the 1987 Brundtland Commission: ". We must meet the needs of the present
without compromising the capability of future generations to meet similar needs."
76 Part I Statement of Miami
Research for aquatic ecosystems should identify appropriate methods to assess impacts on these
systems; define approaches to managing them; conserve biodiversity within them; assess the economic
potential of eco-tourism; develop methods to manage trans-boundary watersheds, and develop monetary
and nonmonetary measures to express the energy and environmental costs of products and the value of
Educational needs for water resources should include demonstration projects; a workable means
to transfer information from one country to another (such a clearinghouse), and development of indices
which list available information and identify experts within specific fields. Timely and comprehensive
information must be available to assess the magnitude of environmental problems and the value of aquatic
resources. Educational programs should emphasize the value of wetland systems and the variety of
benefits they provide.
A multi-disciplinary approach is essential to assess, protect, and restore aquatic ecosystems.
Natural watershed boundaries, rather than political borders, should be used to define the problems and
identify the solutions. Early integrated resource planning and an adequate assessment of the
environmental impacts of water-resource projects are necessary to avoid inadvertent, yet catastrophic,
destruction or the need for costly restoration of these resources.
We need new institutional approaches. Public and private entities, including non-governmental
organizations, should implement joint ventures. Existing institutions should be strengthened.
Indeed, it is not always the absence of law that results in the degradation of the environment.
It is the absence of political will to enforce the laws designed to protect the environment. In this regard,
it is vital that informed citizens become involved in this decision-making process at all levels of
government. An inter-American institution would promote the transfer of information for water
managers, planners, technicians, and the public. As such, this institution also could foster a political
commitment throughout the hemisphere to environmental protection and enforcement and could help
strengthen the laws of many nations.
B. Water Supply and Sanitation
We need an inter-American commitment to address water-resource problems, especially in the
realm of drinking water supply and sanitation. A multi-national effort also will promote water efficiency,
economic development, and environmental protection. Nations should pursue the relationship of land use
to water planning, including the implementation of soil conservation practices to protect water quality.
Developing and developed countries all have knowledge to share. Because of the interdependence
of nations, educational efforts throughout the hemisphere should include an exchange program in which
water-resource professionals could gain experience in other countries.
Nations must strive to use resources more efficiently and to prevent the critical consequences of
waste, mismanagement, and overuse. Because of the range of issues involved to achieve sustainability,
public and private institutions -- including nongovernmental organizations -- must be involved in a
meaningful way in cooperative problem solving. Such efforts are particularly necessary regarding
transboundary watersheds and ecosystem management.
Local communities, especially in rural areas, need financial assistance to operate and maintain
water supply and sanitation services. Governments should decentralize the planning for water supply and
sanitation, and where compatible with the public nature of water resources, they should consider
privatizing these two services.
Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management 17
Governments also need a regulatory framework to protect water resources through enforcement.
Multi-lateral lending institutions can ensure adequate financing for the necessary infrastructure by
adhering to priorities set by each nation according to their needs and economic and social realities.
C. Governance and Policy
Poverty and overconsumption are the enemies of sustainable water-resource use and management
in North and South America. Decisions relating to sustainable resource use depend on public education
and participation. In some areas, public control of water resources should be implemented to ensure the
public's interest is fulfilled (although some areas would benefit from privatization). Specific legal
frameworks, appropriate institutions, and decision-making processes do vary from nation to nation.
However, public entities can best make decisions within the context of integrated ecosystem management,
by using the watershed as the fundamental planning unit and ensuring that all interests are represented.
Water-management professionals should foster the sustainable development of water resources
by encouraging increased public participation in water-related planning and decision making. They
should also develop mechanisms to exchange national and international information, experiences and
expertise, as well as to promote increased public awareness, and to espouse and adhere to an ethic for
sustainable development in water-resource management.
Several desirable communication approaches exist to increase the effectiveness of existing and
proposed water policies. These include newsletters; existing electronic networks; curriculum development
for public education; training in technical communication; public participation and interaction; an
increased capacity to disseminate information; an improved accessibility to technical assistance (in pricing,
S water-use efficiency, legislation, and legal issues), and funding.
III. GUIDELINES FOR ACTION
A. Promote an understanding of the nature and character of aquatic systems;
B. Stress ecosystem planning and management, using principles of watershed management;
C. Use resources more efficiently, and avoid misuse, abuse, and overuse of water;
D. Encourage communication, the sharing of knowledge and experience and inter-American
E. Explore and promote principles of environmentally responsible privatization in water-
resource development to the extent that is consistent with the inherently public character
F. Develop mechanisms to value water appropriately and to protect and preserve that value;
G. Strengthen the capabilities to manage the inherent complexities of multipurpose, long-
term water-resource management, and improve the ability to respond to uncertainty in
a flexible, adaptive manner;
H. Encourage broad involvement in decision-making by encouraging public participation,
empowering all stakeholders, and responding to the views of all affected parties, and
I. Adhere to the principles of comprehensive, long-term, integrated, transboundary water-
8 htaI rtI SMwaa Mle of aWmi
IV. THE IMANSttE ETORK
A primary goal oi the Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management was to launch a vital, active
network that would combine exiso g mou ces throughout the hemasphere. It would provide
oppetaitis to sa e lnormaton ad tuclmlogy, foster innovative pfNrshipb, ad provide internship
ad tmming oppounities free of natiasMand political constraints.
Sto ppoet c dllefrnsnlo t' and lntegrited
Ullk4:.tJ~~pcik ldsoals anc d to Bt the "LAgeuad41" pincigpo frqm the 1992
.4 "A'~ilew b uinkmt thmslai nt e confrees Agreed to help establish
an lsteramaicu Water Resource Network. It is their hope this network will do the following:
A Clrariwy ..reoa ,eed and priorities at the emisheric level;
B. BWiltmMyirwm.na pie sote# o s Anmk*a l preemas aad enable people
to pool existing resources and mobiis ailppii reQoa.s a native ai efficient ways;
C. Build shaved understaaos around basic values that transcend national and ideological
D s. seinteanwatseria aw ti* au ipde n e. r ca gcite rsiauas d eseoife gi; s
a stake in 9'1dvhliikedt deadit" fii mot6 influence, additional
responsibility, ai gWanter accatitability over poiley inati ;
E. Increase benispheric access to it. Knotiedge asd strategies fot Watr-inanagement
problem solving ail support for the development pf new organizational forms that will
foster new cooperative attitudes and capacities for sustaqable use of water;
F. Promote crosscultural bonds of trust and respect ior diversity, especially where
misunderstanding or aproheions already exist;
G. Eqhance awar s of e history and vital role of water in sustaining natural and social
syltims Aileak e~ and
H. E coA I~ e't ie fte dMired iars a Well as div~tfty in language,
dutue, ,ef iaooft c elhrati~ t~k ih order to advancb and maintal the
hemisphere's capacity to manage water in a sustainable manner.
_ Part II -
Background and Framework
; ------- --
*'- r ?I
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Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management 21
Sustainable Development & Resource Management;
Twin Strategies for a New Millennium
Stephen S. Light, Ph.D. and Marsha Kirchhoff1
In February of this year Frank Popoff, CEO and President of The Dow Chemical Company, speaking
before the Economic Club of Detroit, said that the overarching challenge to the industrialized nations is to make
environmental reform and economic development compatible (Popoff, 1993). The underlying theme of the Rio
Earth Summit -- sustainable development -- was based on the recognition that there can be no environmental
reform without economic development, and no economic development without environmental reform. Popoff
referred to this tandem symbiotic relationship as the "...New Gemini -- twin issues, interrelated and inseparable in
policy and in fact -- for all of us."
This world view is a radical departure from the traditional "business" stance of the 1970s and 1980s --
which completely separated environmental issues from the larger production processes of society. Defenders of that
status quo dismiss the New Gemini as "magic" -- eco-rhetoric -- an unrealistic world view that is inflating
government and forcing business to spend billions of dollars on unnecessary environmental costs (CE Roundtable,
1992). Fortunately, conventional wisdom has moved beyond that shortsighted view of the world, to a fundamentally
new way of thinking, not just about the results of human activity, but also about our individual and collective
relationships to nature, and to one another.
In many ways, civilization is in the midst of a metamorphosis -- changing in spite of itself from a collection
of discrete, often isolated cultures to a shifting amalgam of communities which are interlinked on a myriad of
levels: by economics; and the elements of the "global commons," the air, land and water resources upon which
all life is dependent. This metamorphosis into a post-Cold War, post modern era is in many ways driven by a new
kind of enlightened self interest which recognizes that all peoples' fates are intertwined.
Yet this new era is still in its infancy -- struggling to emerge from a cocoon made rigid by the tendency
of humanity to resist change and avoid unfamiliar, untried paths. Today, we all live in a world in transition, a
world that is disordered and unpredictable, where distinctions between foreign and domestic threats or opportunities
are shadowy, or ill defined. The end of the "Cold War" has been the most visible, and therefore the most
recognized symptom of this change. But more subtle, and perhaps more powerful changes in the global "balance
of power" are also occurring.
We face a new class of problems that require different solutions than the military and economic threats we
faced in the post-WWII era. In fact, many of the solutions we developed during the Cold War to achieve a
shifting, yet stable "balance of power" (weapon arsenals, large militaries, war-based economies) now stand in the
way of global security, where power must be drawn as much from sharing finite resources, and sharing the
responsibility for their protection.
National interests now span the globe, often ignoring political, geographic and cultural borders which once
strictly defined them. Centuries of local and regional exploitation of resources have created worldwide problems.
Excessive greenhouse gases are thinning the earth's protective ozone shield, fueling changes which could be
disastrous. Rampant human development has changed the face of our planet. Unique habitats and ecosystems
worldwide have been altered or destroyed, bringing accelerating rates of species extinction and the loss of
biodiversity. Even renewable resources such as freshwater and forests have been harvested at reckless rates which
could negate their ability to recover. The causes of these environmental problems are complex and multifaceted,
and their manifestations are both local and half-a-world away. The environment has become our global commons,
and its preservation and restoration a global responsibility.
Stephen S. Light, Ph.D., Policy Director; and Marsha Kirchhoff, Senior Public Communications Officer,
South Florida Water Management District, West Palm Beach, Florida, USA.
22 Part II Background and Framework Documents
In 1919, at the Versailles Peace Conference, President Woodrow Wilson foresaw this need for a shift
in humanity's relationship to the world -- to what Popoff called the "Gemini" era. Wilson still reminds us that we
are participants in the life of the world. What befalls other nations is our concern as well. We are inevitably all
partners our fates are intertwined in a global destiny.
Now, it seems obvious that sustainable development will be a central feature of international affairs in the
21st century. The end of the 20th century presents us with an unparalleled opportunity to launch the Gemini era,
to internalize the lesson that human development does not and cannot occur apart from nature, that there is a subtle
but critical balance between short-term individual human needs and the long-term needs which will shape our
The Global Importance of Wise Water Management
Today's new, world class environmental threats are introducing even more uncertainty into an already
uncertain realm of water resource management. Joyce Staff, chairman of the Global Water Summit Initiative for
the United Nations, predicted that water will soon become as politically charged as oil has been, and become one
of the most important foreign policy issues of the coming decade. This is already true in parts of the Middle East.
Water is wealth which can no longer be taken for granted. It is a strategic resource and a catalyst for
generating additional wealth in any society. Water in sufficient quantity and quality is a fundamental building block
of any healthy economy. Water repays for its wise management over and over again in the sheer variety and value
of other products and services it enhances or makes possible. Water helps to stock and maintain the world's fish
and wildlife, supporting natural systems and the human enterprises most directly dependent on functioning natural
systems. It provides opportunities for recreation and tourism, and is at the very backbone of the propagation of
crops and the production of most goods. Potable drinking water is one of life's most basic necessities.
In the western hemisphere, we are blessed with 42% of the world's freshwater supplies, yet only 14% of
the world's population. Even with this abundance, there are huge disparities between demand and supply. For
example, according to a recent National Audubon Society report (Nelson and Sandell, 1992), per capital water
availability in Mexico is half that of the United States. The Mississippi River carries more water than all of
Mexico's rivers combined. Close to 15% of worldwide rainfall is deposited within the Amazon, while in Iquique,
a Chilean desert, no rain fell for 14 years! Similar disparities exist at smaller scales throughout this water-rich
Freshwater is a precious resource which is becoming increasingly scarce as a direct result of pollution
and/or wasteful use. Only 3% of the Earth's water supply is freshwater, and 90% of the world's population rely
on that limited supply. (Approximately 10% of the world's population relies on desalination or other costly water
treatment technologies.) Already, 20% of the world's population has minimal or no access to adequate and/or
safe water supplies.
The world's population is expected to double -- from 5 to 10 billion -- in the next 25 years. But the supply
of water will remain constant, or will continue to decrease through degradation and mismanagement. In addition
to the soaring food and housing needs represented by human population growth, and increased demands on water
resources from burgeoning industrial development, unenlightened water management practices and inefficient uses
add to the stress on available water supplies.
Our wanton exploitation of local, regional and global water resources is having another devastating side
effect. Critical sources of biodiversity such as wetlands and rainforests --which also store, purify and mediate
excess flows -- are being lost at staggering rates. The time is now for the emergence of cross-scale strategies for
dealing with these local problems which are also becoming global resource issues.
Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management 23
From Stockholm to Rio: A New World Vision Unfolds
To paraphrase Gus Speth (1992), recently appointed Administrator of United Nations Development
Programme, the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse in our lifetime are: nuclear arsenals; widespread suppression
of human rights; global poverty; and the unrelenting assault on the environment. The first two appear to be in
retreat in most parts of the world (though individual examples are still all too common), while the latter two loom
larger than ever. In recognition of these issues the United Nations (June 1972) held a conference in Stockholm,
Sweden on the Human Environment. The initial intent was to focus on "local" environmental problems. The 1972
agenda was reportedly heavily influenced by modern intellects like Paul Ehrlich and Garrett Hardin (Hecht and
Cockburn, 1992) -- who blame increased population for environmental degradation and the destruction of commonly
shared resources. While the developed countries still held to the hope for a "Green" technological revolution, the
message from the developing world was quite clear and beautifully articulated by Indira Gandhi -- "Poverty is the
The Stockholm conference acknowledged states' sovereignty over national resources -- but married that
sovereignty to the belief that states also have a responsibility to ensure that activities within their jurisdiction or
control do not cause damage to the environment of other states, or of other areas (Haas, et. al, 1992). The United
Nations Environmental Program was established, and conventions on marine pollution, and world cultural and
natural heritage sites were signed. As a final testament to its success, over two-thirds of the international
environmental treaties in existence today have been signed since the Stockholm conference (French, 1992).
In the 20 years since this first UN environmental conference, the framework for a global environmental
and developmental ethic has become more sensitive to local cultures and ecosystems, and to indigenous knowledge.
The Brundtland Commission report in 1987 (Our Common Future) sharpened the vision by placing more emphasis
on issues of equity and the critical need to eliminate the artificial separation of environment issues from economic
production (Strong, 1992). Authors of "Our Own Agenda" and "Compact for a New World" helped raise
awareness of the problems of sustainable development that relate directly to the Americas.
The Rio Conference
In 1989, the United Nations agreed to host a Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (June,1992) to: (1) celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Conference on Human
Environment; (2) extend the international dialogues on the continuing deterioration of the worldwide environment
and (3) encourage sustainable development in countries on the verge of repeating the mistakes of developed
countries. According to Maurice Strong (1992), the Secretary General for the conference, UNCED's purpose was
to elaborate strategies and measures to halt and reverse the effects of environmental degradation in the context of
environmentally sound development in all countries, to raise standards of living worldwide without harming world
This conference, more than any of the past, recognized that environment and development were really "two
sides of the same coin" -- a dual, yet symbiotic entity -- which should not be treated separately. In actuality, the
use of the term "conference" in this instance was misleading. The Earth Summit, as it has become known, was
in reality an international negotiating process, spanning the globe with two years of intense formal and informal
discussions involving representatives from non-government organizations (NGOs) as well as government officials.
The Rio Earth Summit reportedly attracted 130 heads of state and delegates from over 170 nations.
Thousands of journalists attended. In addition to the formal meetings, an Alternative Global Forum was held in
downtown Rio. It is estimated that thousands of representatives of NGO groups participated in this dialogue -- from
165 different countries. Overall, as many as 250,000 people participated in the meetings, performances and
In line with this more holistic approach to the twin concerns of environment and economy, the Earth
Summit also embraced the segment of society most associated with cooperation, caretaking and nurturing -- women.
Although only two dozen women took the podium during several hundred speeches at the Summit, thousands of
women worked at the Women's Planet tent at the Global Forum. A full chapter of the Conference
recommendations (Agenda 21) focuses on women's economic and social needs. In addition, one of the 27 principles
24 Part II Background and Framework Documents
in the Rio Declaration pledges commitment to women's participation in all environment and development work
The Rio Earth Summit, the largest assembly of world leaders ever held, resulted in three non-binding
agreements: the Rio declaration in environment and development; Agenda 21; a statement of forest principles as
well as two binding agreements on global warming and biodiversity. Maurice Strong, the UNCED General
Secretary, summarized the Conference by focusing on new beginnings and not conclusions -- "The Earth Summit
is the first step on a pathway to our common future" -- a pathway that puts development and environmental
objectives on a par with international political and security commitments (Haas, et al., 1992).
Agenda 21 is a blueprint for a global partnership to integrate environment and development into the 21st
Century. It is a key product of the Earth Summit and a point of reference for governments, NGOs and the public
at large. It is also a remarkable expression by the world's leaders calling for fundamental reform in our economic
behavior -- based on a new understanding and awareness of the impact of human activity on the biosphere. Agenda
21 is a mandate for global environmental security, with security defined as the maintenance and support of
economic and environmental values. The document is a 600-page non-binding agreement that covers a broad range
of conservation and natural resource topics including combating deforestation, promoting sustainable agriculture and
rural development, the conservation of biodiversity, managing fragile ecosystems and the protection of freshwater
Of special interest to the Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management, Chapter 18, entitled the Protection
of the Quality and Supply of Freshwater Resources, sets forth objectives, activities and means of implementation
in seven distinct program areas:
Integrated Water Resources Development and Management
Water Resources Assessment
Protection of Water Resources, Water Quality and Aquatic Ecosystems
Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation
Water and Sustainable Urban Development
Water for Sustainable Food Production and Rural Development
Impacts of Climate Change on Water Resources
Implementing Agenda 21
"The challenge after Rio is to maintain the momentum of commitment to sustainable development to
transform it into policies and practice and to give it effective and coordinated organizational support." (U.N.
Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali) What has happened since Rio? At the United Nations, the General
Assembly established a Commission on Sustainable Development to oversee Agenda 21 implementation; to monitor
its follow up; and to ensure that UN programs share this common commitment to sustainable development. Some
view this Commission as a transitional organization that will eventually be succeeded by an "Environmental Security
Council" (French, 1992).
Other institutions that were inspired by or embrace this philosophy include the Business Council For
Sustainable Development, Geneva, Switzerland; the Earth Council, San Jose, Costa Rica; and the International
Institute For Sustainable Development, Manitoba, Canada.
Individual states are being encouraged to establish national coordination structures responsible for the
follow-up to Agenda 21; and are also being invited to prepare national action plans and reporting mechanisms.
Recently United States President Clinton established a President's Council on Sustainable Development. Its mission
is to develop an overall strategy for implementing Agenda 21 in the United States (Barron, 1993).
Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management 25
The need for regional and subregional cooperation was highlighted at the Conference. Specifically,
organizations that advance technical and economic cooperation were seen as contributing to the process by promoting
capacity building, the integration of environmental policies and cooperation on trans-boundary issues at the regional
Finally, NGOs were recognized as partners in the implementation of Agenda 21. Organizations
representing scientific and technical communities, the private/business sector, women's groups, and others were
encouraged to contribute to sustainable development and to establish relationships with the United Nations system.
Less formal alliances, which reach beyond outdated social structures, politics, ideologies or economics are likely
to be as important as the more traditional alliances in fulfilling a vision of global prosperity and ecological well-
Moving Beyond the Earth Summit
The international networks which embody the "new organization" are sometimes described as being without
boundaries. But this characterization can be misleading. A true international network functions more like nature's
untamed rivers than like human-engineered waterways; forming natural and constantly evolving borders that follow
the elemental contours of "problemsheds." The networks or groups' shape should change as problems change,
because problemsheds like rivers, lakes and deltas neither see nor are they moved by political boundaries.
To succeed or problem-solve like a river, we must let go of our isolated, human-centered view of the world.
Our Native American leaders prescribed this kind of functional vision by maintaining a healthy respect for and
interdependent relationship with the world.
From a water management perspective, the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, under the United Nations' aegis,
helped advance the labor of many water related activities before it, particularly the action plans adopted at the Mar
del Plata (1977) and the Dublin (1992) conferences. The 1992 Earth Summit challenged the peoples of the world
to recognize this defining moment.
We can choose to perpetuate business as usual and ignore the growing disparities within and between
nations, the worsening of poverty, hunger and the deterioration of the ecosystems on which we depend. Or we can
decide to change course, to assume personal and collective responsibility for the welfare of all mankind and our
No nation or international institution can achieve this alone. No set of edicts, treaties, and laws -- no
matter how well written or well-meaning -- can blaze the trail toward global ecologic and economic equity. This
path is one that must be marked and cut out in small parcels, beginning at the grassroots and continuing in the
interactions between scientists,citizens and politicians. These are solutions that need to be constructed from the
ground up, by people who are familiar with the view. That's a large part of the reason why we are gathered here:
to start the needed groundswell, and to establish a support system for individuals, agencies or work groups, regions
or nations -- for the people who are a part of the Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management.
Building an International Water Resource Network
To implement the UNCED Agenda 21 principles, the conferees of the Interamerican Dialogue on Water
Management have assembled to help fashion an international network. This network can provide the support,
energy, and cross-scale collaboration needed to build bridges between existing institutions and emerging
transnational organizations; to link action at local and regional levels with other efforts and resources at larger
geographic scales; and advance the cause of sustainable development and integrated water resource management.
The major objectives of the Interamerican Water Resources Network must be defined. The following is
an initial offering for the conferees of the Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management to consider.
26 Part II- Background and Framework Documents
Clarify water-resource needs and priorities at the hemispheric level.
Build collaborative partnerships to solve problems that are technically complex and uncertain.
Enable people to pool existing resources and mobilize new untapped resources in creative and
Build shared understandings around basic values when dealing with divisive issues that transcend
national and ideological boundaries, so that we may learn from each other's successes, trials and
Seek ways for institutions to create structures/processes which give individuals and identifiable
groups a stake decision-making -- more influence, responsibility and greater accountability over
policy making. Help institutions and governments to actively involve their constituencies?
Increase hemispheric access to skills, knowledge and strategies for water management problem
solving. Support the development of new organizational forms that build new cooperative attitudes
and capacities for the sustainable development of water resources.
Begin to build cross-cultural bonds and a sense of trust and respect for diversity, especially where
misunderstandings or apprehensions already exist.
Enhance awareness of the history and vital role of water in sustaining natural and social systems
in the hemisphere.
Encourage cross-cultural appreciation and respect for diversity in language, culture and other
sociologic variations -- to advance the hemisphere's capacity to manage water in sustainable
Goals, Objectives and Key Questions for the Dialogue
The goal of the Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management is to launch a continuing network that
couples existing resources in the hemisphere for sustained information sharing, project review, technology
cooperation, as well as internship and training. There are two major Dialogue objectives. One is to increase the
awareness and understanding of the importance of sustainable development and the management of water resources.
The second is to find ways in which water management policy makers, practitioners and NGOs can develop and
enhance communication and cooperation leading toward the sustainable development and management of water
The following questions will be the focus for participant discussions, case study presentations, panels,
papers and keynote presentations. By the conclusion of the Dialogue on Saturday, the conferees will provide
answers to the following questions.
1. What are the most important problems and priorities that need to be addressed to move toward
sustainable development and improved management of water resources?
(WHAT SHOULD WE BE DOING, AND WHY?)
2. What has experience taught us about the problems and obstacles, and the opportunities and
successes in sustainable development and management of water resources?
(WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?)
3. What can water management policy makers, practitioners (businesses, engineers, scientists and
other professionals), NGOs and others do to improve communication and cooperation in their
quest for sustainable development and more effective management of water resources?
(HOW CAN WE HELP ONE ANOTHER?)
Interameican Dialogue on Water Management 27
An Interview with Gro Harlem Brundtland. "The Road from Rio." Technology Review, April 1993, pp. 61-65.
Barron, Tom. "EHS Manager Heads New Clinton E-Panel." Environment Today, July 11, 1993, p. 80.
CE Roundtable. "Business and the Green Theology." September 1992, pp. 62-74.
Esserman, Lauren. "Earth Summit: Women Break Into the Process." Ms., September/October 1992, pp. 14.
French, Hilary F. "From Discord toAccord: International Environmental Governance and the New World
Order." National Forum, Fall 1992, pp. 37-39.
Haas, Peter M., Marc A. Levy and Edward A. Parson. "Appraising the Earth Summit: How Should We Judge
UNCED's Success?" Environment, Vol. 34, No. 8, pp. 7-33.
Hecht, Susanna and Alexander Cockburn. "Rhetoric and Reality in Rio." The Nation. June 22, 1992, pp.
Kirschner, Elisabeth, Ronald Begley with Rik Turner. "Beyond the Earth Summit: Industry Says It Can Guide
the Way." ChemicalWeek, June 24, 1992, pp. 18-19.
Light, Stephen S. "Extraordinary Times, Uncommon Opportunities: The Need for an Interamerican Network
on Water Management. Prepared for the Interamerican Dialogue in Miami, Florida on October 27-
30, 1993, pp.6.
Martin-Brown, Joan. "Rethinking Technology In the Future." Environment Science Technology, Vol. 26,
No 6, 1992, pp. 1100-1102.
Michaelis, Dr. Anthony R., ed. "The Earth Summit Environment and Development, Hopes and Fears."
Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 1992, Vol. 17, No. 2, pp. 97-99.
Nelson, Kisanne and Cathie Sandell. Population and Water Resources. The National Audubon Society,
1992, pp. 65.
Popoff, Frank. "The New Gemini: The Economy and the Environment." Executive Speeches, February-
March 1993, pp. 26-28.
Sachs, Ignacy. "Transition Strategies for the 21st Century."
Scheer, Hermann. "Will It Do More Harm Than Good?" The Nation, April 20, 1992, pp. 522-524.
Speth, James Gustave. "On the Road to Rio and to Sustainability." Environment Science Technology,
Vol. 26, No. 6, 1992, pp. 1075-1076.
Strong, Maurice F. "Environment and Development: The United Nations Road from Stockholm to Rio."
Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 1992, Vol. 17, No. 2, pp. 112-115.
Thacher, Peter S. "Evaluating the 1992 Earth Summit An Institutional Perspective." Security Dialogue,
1992, Vol. 23, No. 3, pp. 117-126.
"The Global Partnership for Environment and Development: A Guide to Agenda 21." UNCED, Geneva,
Worcman, Nira Broner. "Local Groups Think Globally." Technology Review, October 1992, pp. 36-40.
28 Dee b*wftu
Part III Case Studies
_ _i_~___ ~_~_ 1;_
Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management 37
Case Study 1
Comparative Analysis of the Florida Everglades
and the South American Pantanal
Jeffry S. Wade, John C. Tucker, Richard G. Hamann
Center for Governmental Responsibility
University of Florida College of Law
Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management
Miami, Florida, USA
October 27-30, 1993
A. Ecosystem Structure and Impacts
Though the Pantanal and Everglades share important physical and biological characteristics, there are
significant differences in the structure and ecological functioning of the two systems. Both are large,
internationally significant freshwater wetland systems, though the Pantanal watershed is several times
larger than that of the Everglades. Both systems are dependent on larger watersheds. The Pantanal
receives direct rainfall and water from many riverine systems and is drained by a major river. The
Everglades, in addition to rainfall, is dependent on a single river and lake system which historically
supplied sheetflow to the system. It drained, in turn, to a dependent estuary. The differences in elevation
and degree of natural sedimentation rates from surrounding uplands are much greater in the case of the
Pantanal. The Everglades developed as an oligotrophic ecosystem, more vulnerable to slight increases
in nutrients. Variability in the sub-basins of the Pantanal make generalizations difficult concerning that
system. It appears that the Pantanal evolved with higher nutrient levels associated with sedimentation
Soils in the upper basin of the Pantanal appear to be more susceptible to erosion than those in the upper
basin of the Everglades. Generally, soils in the lower basin of the Pantanal are less organic than those
in the Everglades lower drainage areas. Yearly and wet season rainfall totals appear to be approximately
equivalent in each system. Both ecosystems depend on water regimes with yearly wet and dry cycles,
however the Pantanal experiences greater differences in water levels between dry and wet seasons.
Historically, the relative abundance of wildlife in the two systems appears to have been roughly
equivalent, though diversity may have been greater in the Pantanal. Currently, the Pantanal supports
much more diversity and abundance of wildlife.
32 Part III Case Studies
Some of the more significant impacts to the water regime in both Pantanal and Everglades ecosystems
involve planned or existing large scale water development projects. Since the 1880s, a government-
subsidized process of dredging, draining and channelization within the Everglades watershed has
profoundly altered the quantity, quality, timing, rate and distribution of water flows to that ecosystem.
Impacts on ecosystem functioning have included the significant loss or degradation of native plant
communities, the loss or destruction of wildlife habitat, including that of threatened and endangered
species and estuarine-dependent fish, and the loss of hydrostatic pressure in fresh water aquifers.
For many years, the natural resources of the Upper Paraguay Basin have played an important role in local
economies. Large scale water development projects have not been attempted in the Basin, due in large
part to its remoteness and lack of national economic importance. However, the planned Paraguay-Parana
Waterway (Hidrovia), being promoted by international development interests, has the potential to cause
significant disruption of ecosystems in the Pantanal. As currently promoted, the first phase of the project
would involve the dredging of a large percentage of the Paraguay River below Corumba, with possible
negative impacts oh wetlands ecosystems in the Pantanal. The second phase of the project appears to
include major water control structures, dredging and channelization above Corumba, with potentially
significant negative effects on ecosystem function and extensive secondary impacts.
There are very large soybean, sugar, rice and corn plantations in the highlands (planaltos) of the Pantanal
watershed. Deforestation of the region, including loss of gallery forests and other vegetation along rivers,
as well as poor water management practices on farms, appear to be contributing to extensive
sedimentation of rivers in the Pantanal plain. The intensive agricultural techniques used in the relatively
poor upland soils include the application of large amounts of agrochemical pesticides, fungicides and
fertilizers, a significant percentage of which may be entering the Pantanal lowlands, primarily during
periods of higher rainfall and flooding. Cattle ranching on the plains (planicie) is dispersed, however
impacts to vegetation from burning and grazing have been noted and the introduction of non-native
grasses with low survivability leads to sedimentation.
Agricultural development in the Everglades is concentrated in areas just south of Lake Okeechobee, but
is also present in several areas near Everglades National Park. Extensive diking and drainage were
necessary to expose the muck soils which support many thousands of hectares of sugar cane just south
of Lake Okeechobee. Rock plowing, intensive use of agrochemicals, and massive groundwater
withdrawals are necessary to support winter vegetable and citrus production in areas farther south near
Everglades National Park. In addition, a long history of dairy farming in regions around the Kissimmee
River contributed to the eutrophication of Lake Okeechobee. The cumulative negative impacts on the
hydrologic regime and on water quality in the Kissimmee/Lake Okeechobee/Everglades (KLOE)
ecosystem have profoundly altered the functioning of the Everglades.
Mining and industrial operations represent important manipulations of the water regime of both
Everglades and Pantanal ecosystems. The extent of various extractive industries and specific impacts of
gold mining in the Pantanal watershed appear to have greater total negative consequences than those of
extractive industries in the Everglades.
At present the consequences of urban development are more significant in the Everglades than in the
Pantanal, with population pressures still very high. However, urban development pressure is increasing
within the Pantanal watershed. A very low percentage of households in the region receive advanced
sewage treatment, and control over other associated urban effluents is inconsistent. Continuing population
influx will require infrastructure development, and careful planning and regulatory response.
Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management 33
Current conditions in the Pantanal and historic conditions in the Everglades represent what might seem
to be virtually unlimited opportunities for exploitation of wildlife. In the case of the Everglades, fish,
alligators and deer were taken by subsistence and commercial hunters beginning early in the history of
human occupation of the area, at generally sustainable levels. However, the killing of tremendous
numbers of wading birds from the 1870s to 1930s to satisfy the fashion industry's need for plumes was
unprecedented. Millions of birds were taken before public opinion, changing styles and new legislation
ended the slaughter. Several rookeries were completely extirpated and many have never recovered.
Though by the 1960s, the alligator had been placed on the endangered species list for protective purposes,
by the 1980s, populations had increased significantly. The controlled hunting program for alligators now
in effect is a measure of the current success of the species. Other species have experienced serious
declines in population for reasons only partially related to hunting, and authorities have been generally
unsuccessful in helping those species recover.
Biological, social and economic conditions in the Pantanal roughly approximate those of the Everglades
much earlier in its history. The sheer numbers of fish and other wildlife offer seemingly limitless
opportunities for commercial and recreational harvest. Historically, the Pantanal ecosystem was used for
subsistence level hunting and fishing by relatively small populations of indigenous peoples, whose
activities had little impact on ecosystem functions. Currently, commercial overfishing has become a
serious problem, essentially mining fish from the system at unsustainable rates. Though illegal, the
taking of caiman for hides and many species of birds for the pet trade also continues to reduce
B. Legal and Policy Response
The regulatory and enforcement tools available to agencies with jurisdiction over the Pantanal and
Everglades share some similarities and differences. Though the Brazilian Constitution includes clearly
articulated environmental rights, and specifies additional protection for the Pantanal as part of the
"national patrimony," the federal and state laws intended to implement those protections do not adequately
address all potential threats and are inconsistently applied. The establishment of Everglades National Park
placed protective boundaries around the lowest sections of the Everglades, but other related parts of the
watershed have received very little specific protection. Regulatory exemptions, lack of coordination
between agencies, and gaps in legislation have allowed continued degradation of the KLOE ecosystem.
Only recently have issues concerning water resources for the Park and other sections of the Everglades
been given the priority that is necessary in order to restore and maintain ecological functions.
There are very large differences in the physical, technical and monetary resources available to regulatory,
research and planning institutions in the two ecosystems. Federal, state and regional agencies in Florida
have access to sophisticated technical equipment, with relatively good research, monitoring and
enforcement capabilities. The Brazilian economic crisis, combined with a general ambivalence toward
environmental regulation, has resulted in a lack of institutional capability for most institutions in the
Pantanal. In the past, a centralized approach to governmental regulation gave more authority and
resources to federal institutions, while state agencies suffered. Recent changes in institutional emphasis,
combined with a growing cultural appreciation of the need for environmentally sustainable development,
have translated into increased resources for state level institutional development and greater regulatory
authority. However, there is still a crucial need for funding to support adequate research, planning,
permitting, monitoring and enforcement for environmental purposes in Brazil.
The problem of political will affects agencies in both ecosystems. For many years scientific information
34 Prt III Case Studies
on the Everglades has documented a system in environmental decline, yet despite debate, increased
regulatory authority and institutional capabilities, the degradation continued. It has taken near crisis
conditions, and a federal lawsuit, to force responsible parties toward an effective response. A low level
of perceived environmental threat to the Pantanal, combined with politically powerful development
interests and a national drive for economic growth have allowed for ill-advised agricultural, industrial and
mining operations to be permitted in the Pantanal watershed, particularly in the highlands.
II. ECOSYSTEM DESCRIPTIONS
The Pantanal, or "swampland" in Portuguese, is an immense alluvial plain within the Upper Paraguay
River Basin in western Brazil, eastern Bolivia, and northeastern Paraguay. (Fig. 1) The Upper Paraguay
Basin, including all associated upland areas, contains 496,000 square kilometers (191,500 square miles),
of which approximately 80%, or 396,800 square kilometers (153,200 square miles) lie within Brazil,
primarily in the states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul (SEMA, 1993). The Pantanal itself
includes only the 140,000 square kilometers (54,000 square miles) of alluvial plain or plantcie, but a
complete understanding of the ecology and management of the Pantanal requires consideration of the
associated highlands, or planaltos. Altitudes range from 80-150 m (260-490 ft.) on the plains, to over
250 m (820 ft.) on the planaltos (Ferreira, 1992), with some isolated peaks over 1000 m (3250 ft.)
southeast of Corumbd (Scott and Carbonell, 1986).
Though the Pantanal is one of the largest wetlands in the world, it is more properly characterized as a
related series of river floodplains. Principal rivers in the basin include the Paraguay, Miranda, CuiabA,
Sdo Lourenco, Negro, Taquarf, and Aquidauana, all originating in theplanaltos. (Fig. 2) The Paraguay
River is the major north-south watercourse in the Pantanal, extending 2800 kilometers (1735 mi.) from
its source in the northern highlands of Mato Grosso, Brazil to Corrientes, Argentina, where it joins the
Parand River. Situated at the interface of three major South American ecosystems, the Pantanal includes
characteristics of Amazon rainforest, cerrado scrub forests of central Brazil, and the chaco vegetation
of nearby Bolivia and Argentina. Within the watershed, ten different ecological subregions have been
identified (Addmoli, 1992). The area is dominated by a matrix of seasonally-flooded savanna, streams,
rivers, ponds, lakes and marshes. Principal vegetation consists of scrub forest and savanna characterized
by native grasslands interspersed with gallery forest, humid semi-deciduous forest and wetland vegetation.
Total yearly rainfall in the basin is approximately 1100-1500 mm (43-59 in.), 80% of which falls from
November to March (Scott and Carbonell, 1986). Beginning in November, up to 70% of the 450
kilometer long Pantanal basin is slowly inundated, turning it into a vast, shallow inland sea, interspersed
with higher areas which do not flood. The lowland plain slopes from north to south at about two
centimeters per kilometer, allowing only very slow movement of flood waters. Depending on local
elevation, flooding lasts from three to nine months. Maximum water levels in the northernmost reaches
of the Paraguay River normally occur during January and February, and in the southern areas during May
and June. Within several months after peak floods, evaporation, evapotranspiration, absorption and
outflow transform the area into a huge savanna, including rivers and tributaries, open grasslands, isolated
pockets of cerrado forest vegetation, and many shallow waterbodies with large numbers of trapped fish,
attracting wading birds and other wildlife.
Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management 35
Location of Pantanal Watershed Within Brazil
H ) N
I Pantanal Watershed
Map of the Pantanal Region
Source: Bucher et al., 1993.
Jo Part ll Case Studies
I - -
Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management 3/
The Pantanal supports a great diversity and abundance of wildlife. Over 650 species of birds have been
identified. The region is one of the world's largest breeding grounds for wading birds, an important
migratory bird stopover point, and probably the most important area in South America for wetland birds
(Mittermeier et al., 1990). Over 260 species of fish have been identified, with about 10-12 species
caught for commercial purposes. Large numbers of other species of wildlife exist in the region,
encompassing approximately 80 mammal species, 50 species of reptiles and over 1,000 species of
butterflies. Some of the most unique animals in the world inhabit the Pantanal, including the giant
anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), giant river otter (Pteronura brasiliensis), maned wolf (Chrysocyon
brachyurus), capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris), tapir (Tapirus terrestris), jaguar (Panthera onca
palustris), puma (Felis concolor), caiman orjacar6 (Caiman crocodylusyacare), swamp deer (Blastocerus
dichotomus), howler monkey (Alouatta caraya), blue hyacinth macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) and
the jabini stork (Jabiru mycteria) (Mittermeier et al., 1990).
The Everglades is a system of shallow sawgrass marshes, tree islands, wet prairies and aquatic sloughs
that historically covered most of southeastern Florida (Davis, 1943). (Fig. 3) Formation of the
Everglades began over 5000 years ago as organic matter and sedimentary deposits accumulated in a
limestone depression which underlies much of the southern tip of Florida (SWIM, 1992a; Parker and
Hoy, 1943). By the end of the 19th century wetlands covered about 10,000 square kilometers (3,900
square miles). The original Everglades extended from the south shore of Lake Okeechobee to the
mangrove estuaries of Florida Bay, and were over 64 km (40 mi.) wide and 160 km (100 mi.) long
(SWIM, 1992a). The Everglades is an integral part of the larger Kissimmee/Lake
Okeechobee/Everglades system, which covers much of south and central Florida below the City of
Orlando. They are bordered on the east by the Atlantic coastal ridge and on the west by the Immokalee
rise (SWIM, 1992a; Parker and Hoy, 1943).
Historically, water from the Kissimmee river basin flowed slowly south toward Lake Okeechobee,
overflowed the Lake's southern rim, and moved as a shallow sheetflow through the Everglades and into
Florida Bay and adjacent coastal waters. Natural drainage of the Everglades occurred to the east through
a series of breaches in the coastal ridge, to the south through several sloughs, and to the west through
the Big Cypress Basin. In addition, as a result of direct connections between ground water and surface
waters in portions of the area, groundwater seeped through the porus limestone aquifer and discharged
as freshwater springs into coastal waters (SWIM, 1992a; Parker et al., 1955; Harlem, 1979). Rainfall,
evapotranspiration, and outflows to the sea resulted in a constant exchange of water between the
atmosphere, salt and fresh surface waters, and the aquifer (SWIM, 1992a; Davis, 1943; Parker et al.,
1955; Wagner and Rosendahl, 1987). The volume of water which flowed through the historic Everglades
system is greater than what occurs today (SWIM, 1992a), due to drainage and flood control discharges
to the sea.
Climate and weather patterns are closely tied to the hydrology of the region. Average yearly rainfall is
1350 mm (53 in.), about 75% of which occurs during the wet season (May to October) (SWIM, 1992a;
Shih, 1983). Rainfall during the wet season is typically in the form of convective showers which occur
almost daily, while winter rainfall is typically associated with winter frontal storms. Rainfall over the
region is characterized by considerable variability between seasonal and annual amount, and in area
distribution (SWIM, 1992a).
Map of Everglades Watershed (Historic)
Source: Light and Dineen, in press.
40 Part III Case Studies
0 1 32kmi
S 0 10 20mi
* Interamican Dialogue on Water Mawgwnwt 39
Elevations in the Everglades region are generally less than 6 m (20 ft.) above sea level. The ground
surface slopes gently from north to south with an average gradiiat of 2. cmt/kmn (.15 ft./mi.) (SWIM,
1992a; Parker et al., 1955). The predominant soils of the Everglades region are organic histasols (muck
or peat), overlying limestone formations. The mteI soils Have accunttulted in a layer of Up to 5.5 m
(18 f.) thick in the northern Everglades (SWIM, 1992a; Stephens and Johnson, 1951) where limestone
elevations are lowest, to about one meter (3 ft.) or less in the southern Everglades. Another dominant
soil type, calcitic mud, occurs in shallow peripheral marshes of the southern Everglades which undergo
shorter periods of inundation than where muck soils occur.
The interaction of climate, geology, and topography with surface water, which makes up the hydrologic
cycle; of the region, shaped the biological system which developed in the Everglades. Everglades
ecosystems evolved under conditions in which water availability varied from season to season and from
year to year. The systems depend on the annual pattern of wet summer and dry winter seatns, as well
as on a certain degree of variation in rainfall and the amount of sumface'water, for their continued
existence (SWIM, 1992a). Accordingl;the variability and diversity of the biological systems ate related
to the natural variability of the hydrologic system (SWIM, 1992a).
The original Everglades comprised about one million hectares (2.5 million acres) of freshwater marsh
(SWIM,.1992a). Major Everglades plant communities includethe periphyton (algae) community, the
sawgrass community, the wet prairie, aquatic sloughs, bayheads or tree islands, willow heads, tropical
hardwood hammocks, cypress forest, and coastal mangrove forest communities (SWIM, 1992a). The
Everglades were historically bordered by seasonal or short hydroperiod wetlands and upland pine habitat
The major habitat types found in the Everglades region include upland forests, wetland forests, marshes,
wet prairies, open water ponds and creeks, and mangrove forest (SWIM, 1992a). Most of the animals
utilize a variety of habitat types, in response to the drying out and flooding of various areas during the
annual water cycle.
Historically, wildlife species diversity in the Everglades was relatively poor, particularly compared to the
species rich Pantanal, though the ecosystem did support tremendous numbers of birds and alligators. The
majority of animal species, including the land mammals, and most of the breeding birds, reptiles and
amphibians, appear to have colonized from the temperate southeastern coastal plain (SWIM, 1992a;
Layne, 1984; Gunderson and Loftus, in press). The wetland and wading birds are dispersed throughout
the West Indies (SWIM, 1992a; Robertson and Kushlan, 1984). Animals endemic to the region include
the Everglades mink, the rice rat, the hispid cotton rat, the round-tailed muskrat, and the Cape Sable
seaside sparrow (SWIM, 1992a).
The relatively low species diversity found in the Everglades is probably due to a variety of factors,
including the young geologic age of the region, the lack of diversity in aquatic and terrestrial habitats,
and its peninsular location (SWIM, 1992a). At least 44 species of amphibians and reptiles (SWIM,
1992a; Duellman and Schwartz, 1958), almost 400 species of birds (SWIM, 1992a; Robertson and
Kushlan), and about 30 species of mammals (SWIM, 1992a; Schwartz, 1952; Layne, 1984) occur within
. the Everglades. About 60% of the bird species are wintering and migrant birds.
40 Part III Case Studies i
m. HUMAN USE AND DEVELOPMENT
The quality and quantity of water are key variables in the functioning of both the Pantanal and Everglades
ecosystems. Both systems are highly dependent on the duration, distribution and timing of water flows.
These characteristics, in turn, are subject to human interference through large scale water development,
flood control and navigation improvement projects. The Everglades has been most significantly altered
by such projects, but plans under consideration for development in the Pantanal may significantly alter
that system as well.
Water quality has also been affected by human activities in both the Pantanal and Everglades. In both
cases, there are significant threats from agricultural development in the watershed. Both systems are also
contaminated by mercury. In the Pantanal the source is gold mining in the watershed. The source of
mercury contamination of the Everglades is not yet known, but it has probably been transported by
atmospheric processes. In addition, the Pantanal also receives point source discharges from industrial
and urban sources.
Other key variables are the degree to which land cover has been altered through clearing, grazing or other
activities and direct utilization of fish and wildlife. Much of the Everglades has been drained and
converted to urban and intensive agricultural uses. The remaining Everglades is largely protected from
such alteration. It is highly susceptible, however, to an ongoing invasion of non-native plant species,
principally melaleuca (Melaleuca quinquenervia), Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius) and
Australian pine (Casuarina equisetifolia). Land cover in the Pantanal plains remains largely intact,
though it is subject to extensive grazing, limited logging and some clearing for. pasture improvement.
Many parts of the Pantanal highlands have been extensively cleared for agriculture and pasture.
The protected status of most of the remaining Everglades, and its relative lack of human habitation,
means that direct utilization of fish and wildlife have relatively insignificant impacts on their populations.
The commercial harvest of fish and the illegal harvest of several species of wildlife may have significant
impacts in the Pantanal.
Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management 47
A. Large-scale water development projects
The Pantanal ecosystem is based on an annual cycle of flooding and drought, including a multi-year
pattern involving occasional greater fluctuations, or pulses, in the cycle. The Pantanal plains absorb and
moderate the flow of water through the Paraguay River (Bucher et al., 1993). Though wildlife in the
region is adapted to the natural cycle of flooding and drought, extremely high water conditions can cause
loss of caiman nests, and restriction of habitat for capybara and many other non-aquatic wild and
domestic species (Ferreira et al., 1992). Conversely, extreme drought conditions can severely stress both
domestic animals and wildlife, and greatly restrict aquatic and wetland habitats.
A potentially significant interference with natural hydroperiods and flow patterns is the proposed
Paraguay-Parand Waterway (Hidrovia), a massive navigation project which would increase transportation
efficiencies for several products of the Pantanal and surrounding areas. The primary impetus for the
Hidrovia is an agreement among Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina to create a regional
common market, known as MERCOSUL or MERCOSUR (Andersen, 1992).
Though the proposal is at an early stage, there are concerns that the project could have serious negative
environmental impacts (Bucher et al., 1993; Ferreira et al., 1992). As presently configured, the Hidrovia
would include two modules or phases. The first is a short-term, fairly restricted project consisting
primarily of channel dredging from Santa Fe, Argentina to Corumbd, Brazil, as well as signposting from
Corumbd to Nueva Palmira, Uruguay. Currently, the Inter-American Development Bank is funding a
US$2 million study of potential environmental impacts of this phase, and close to US$8 million for
engineering and economic pre-feasibility studies. The second phase would include dredging, course
changes, channel straightening and stabilization, and construction of water control structures for
navigational purposes between Cdceres, Brazil and Nueva Palmira, Uruguay, including additional work
within the Pantanal (Bucher et al., 1993).
There are many direct and indirect impacts associated with the proposed works. Direct impacts from the
first phase of the project would include dredging and channel maintenance, deposit of dredged material
and the physical effects of increased barge and ship traffic on the river banks. Dredging destroys habitat
and organisms in the affected area, changes the composition of bottom material and increases water
velocity in the dredged channel (Bucher et al., 1993; Allen and Hardey, 1980; Rasmussen and Harber,
1981). Changes in stream velocity are associated with water quality impacts caused by increased turbidity
and suspended sediments. Depending on where dredged material is deposited, there may be direct
destruction of habitat for nesting fish or birds, spawning fish or other vertebrates (Bucher et al., 1993;
Allen and Hardey, 1980; Rasmussen and Harber, 1981). The single most potentially damaging impact
of the Hidrovia project would be the loss of the Pantanal's function in moderating and absorbing flood
waters on the Paraguay River (Bucher et al., 1993).
The hydrological regime of upper reaches of rivers can be significantly altered by construction and
maintenance of downstream navigation channels, if channel capacity is increased at points of natural
geomorphological constriction, increasing rates of drainage. In addition, channelization can exacerbate
downstream flooding by increasing peak flows in a river (Bucher et al., 1993). Channel dredging and
straightening can also affect the hydrological regime controlling wetland ecology. Though there is
relatively little technical understanding of the hydrologic functioning of the Paraguay Basin, researchers
have estimated that if the river channel were deepened by approximately 0.5-1.0 meter in that area, the
42 Part III Case Studies
extent of important floodplain wetlands might be significantly reduced in upriver regions which normally
flood to less than one meter (Ferreira et al., 1992).
Of particular concern are the long-term impacts that alteration to the hydrology could have on the flora
and fauna of the Pantanal. As evidenced in the Everglades, changes in water regimes can have many
substantial and unanticipated adverse effects, including disruption of nesting and feeding behavior of
wildlife, and changes in species composition and diversity. Ultimately, depending on the scale of the
alterations, water management projects can substantially change the character and integrity of freshwater
In addition to impacts from dredging and channel straightening, channel maintenance structures, water
control structures and the harbors and terminals that would be included in construction of the Hidrovia,
there is also concern that a related increase in agricultural, industrial and urban activity (Bucher et al.,
1993; Internave, 1992) would cause corresponding increases in pollution from agrochemicals, and
industrial and urban wastes (Bucher et al., 1993).
There has been extensive manipulation of water flows in the Kissimmee River-Lake Okeechobee-
Everglades system by federal and state government, beginning in the late 1880s. Efforts to drain the
region for agricultural purposes began as early as 1907, with the creation of the Everglades Drainage
District. Early efforts included construction of a canal between Lake Okeechobee and the Caloosahatchee
River, channelization of the Caloosahatchee and Miami Rivers, and digging of other canals through the
Atlantic Coastal Ridge to facilitate drainage from Lake Okeechobee to the Atlantic Ocean. By 1927, six
major drainage canals and many smaller canals had been built, including 440 miles of levees and 16 locks
Between 1926 and 1947, hurricanes and long periods of drought caused extreme fluctuations of water
levels in the region. While flood control had been the primary concern in the past, the region was now
faced with the additional problem of maintaining an adequate water supply for the rapidly increasing
populations on the lower east coast of Florida. In response, Congress initiated the Central and Southern
Florida Flood Control Project in 1947 to provide urban and agricultural flood control and to ensure
adequate water supply. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed a series of canals, levees, water
retention areas, pump stations, and water control structures that extended throughout the entire length of
the Everglades system. Today, this system includes over 2250 km (1,400 mi.) of canals, levees, water
retention areas, pump stations, and water control structures in and around Lake Okeechobee and the
Everglades. (Fig. 4)
Early drainage efforts had the desired effect, opening up much of the area to farming and other uses.
However, construction of early canals also resulted in a number of readily observed problems. Water
levels in Lake Okeechobee dropped from 6.7 to 4.6 meters (21.9 to 15 feet) above mean sea level
between 1889 and 1927 (SWIM, 1992a). Water tables were lowered 1.5 to 1.8 meters (5 to 6 feet) below
1900 levels, thereby stressing natural wetland systems (SWIM, 1992a). Other adverse impacts to the
system included muck soil loss of up to 1.8 meters (6 feet) in depth, loss of water storage capacity
(Davis, 1946), and uncontrolled fires.
South Florida Water Management District (Drainage Canals
and Surface Water Control System)
MST V EaLAOR11 EUP
1 OU1TH LORIOA WATE" MIANAOSUW
- VENaLAOSS NATIONAL PARCK AOUNOAXY
Source: Light and Dineen, in press.
Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management
44 Part HI Case Studies
During the 1960s, much of the Kissimmee River, the northernmost component of the KLOE system, was
channelized. Channelization efforts considerably altered the hydrology of the Lower Kissimmee Basin
and led to the loss of about 16,200 to 20,235 hectares (40,000 to 50,000 acres) of wetlands (SWIM,
1993). Drainage of the historic floodplain led to increased agricultural development (improved pasture
and intensive dairy operations) along the river. Channelization and destruction of floodplain marshes
reduced the natural phosphorus removal capabilities of the river. The reduced phosphorus removal
capability of the river coupled with runoff from agricultural operations led to increased phosphorus
loadings in Lake Okeechobee (SWIM, 1993; Lamonds, 1975; Federico, 1982). Channelization also
altered the rate and amount of water which enters Lake Okeechobee.
Efforts to drain the Everglades and to control flooding substantially altered the quantity, timing,
distribution, and rate of water flows in the natural system. These changes in the historic hydrologic
regime of the Everglades, in combination with other factors, have resulted in substantial impacts to the
biological components of the system, including significant loss or degradation of native plant communities
and loss or destruction of habitats of threatened and endangered plants and animals. Almost one half of
the original 1,619,000 hectares (4,000,000 acres) of wetlands in the Everglades have been lost to
agriculture and urban development. Various species of wildlife have been adversely impacted by changes
in natural flooding regimes. These changes have also contributed to problems associated with the
quantity, timing and discharge of freshwater into the estuaries of Florida Bay, Manatee Bay, and Barnes
Sound. Such changes have significantly reduced the ability of these estuaries to support fisheries at
formerly highly productive levels.
B. Agricultural development
In the past twenty years, primarily in response to national economic goals, use of the planaltos
surrounding the Pantanal plain has shifted dramatically toward intensive agriculture and cattle production.
Though the low quality and erosive tendencies of soils in the region was known at the time, the drive to
develop superseded concerns over the ecological functioning of downstream lowlands. The placement
of intensive agricultural operations in the highlands continues to threaten the Pantanal plantcie. Use of
massive amounts of agrochemicals and poorly planned water management systems have chronic long-term
negative effects on the biology and hyrology of the area. Though public attention has recently begun to
focus on the impacts of large scale agricultural operations, given the continuing economic crisis in Brazil
and traditionally low concern for environmental values (Guimaraes, 1991), it may be difficult to achieve
meaningful change in agricultural practices in the near future.
The program is not dissimilar to that pursued by federal and state authorities in Florida at the turn of the
century, when they officially supported and subsidized a program of drainage and agricultural
development in the Everglades region south of Lake Okeechobee. The resulting impacts on water quality,
quantity, timing and distribution to the rest of the Everglades have severely affected the functioning of
Most of the rivers and tributaries draining into the Pantanal have their sources in the surrounding
highland plateaus, or planaltos. In several regions, the planaltos are patchworked with extensive
agricultural operations, most dedicated to soybean production, but including sugar cane, rice and corn.
In the planaltos surrounding the Pantanal to the north and west, approximately 75% of the original
cerrado forests and savannas have been converted to agriculture or pasture. Soils are relatively poor,
Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management 45
yet intensive farming in these areas has been growing since the 1970s. To maintain soil fertility and
combat crop pests, farmers have increasingly relied on extensive use of a wide variety of agrochemicals,
including fungicides, pesticides, and fertilizers. Deforestation, including the clearcutting of vegetation
bordering rivers, and poor water management practices have resulted in extensive agrochemical runoff,
soil erosion and river sedimentation.
During the rainy season, extensive flooding, and some sedimentation and movement of river channels is
considered normal in several rivers entering the Pantanal. However, there is growing concern that
increased sediment load as a result of deforestation and farming on the surrounding uplands may be
worsening flood conditions in the lowlands during the rainy season. In Mato Grosso, approximately 14
metric tons of soil per hectare per year is being eroded from farms on the planaltos (Teixeira, 1993).
Higher sediment deposition in a river bed causes a decrease in flood storage capacity and a corresponding
increase in flooding and channel movement (Bucher et al., 1993; Alho et al., 1988; Ferreira et al., 1992).
The problem appears to be particularly severe on the Taquarf River, one of the major tributaries of the
Paraguay River. Approximately 1,800,000 hectares (4,446,000 acres) of the upper Taquarf River basin
have been deforested since the early 1970s, primarily for livestock pasture and intensive agriculture
(Bucher et al., 1993).
There is a question concerning the rate and effects of sedimentation on the Taquarf River, which runs for
more than 250 km (155 mi.), with a declivity of 10-15 cm/km (.65-.75 ft./mi.). Recent sediment loads
have been estimated at several million tons per year, however the Taquarf formed an alluvial fan of over
50,000 square kilometers (19,300 square miles) long before humans arrived in the area, and has shifted
its riverbed many times over its history (AdAmoli, 1992). Thus, a problem lies in determining just how
much this process has been accelerated by human activity and what corrective measures should be taken
to conserve the basin. Some researchers believe the Taquarf River alluvial fan was not active in historical
times due to dense vegetation which covered the entire basin, but has been reactivated by human-induced
sedimentation (Bucher et al., 1993, citing Tricart, 1982).
Sediment loading changes the process of river movement across a floodplain, causing the river to break
through surrounding natural berms more easily, thus creating large distributary channels and flooding
areas not normally flooded. In attempts to eliminate such channels and increase total grazing area,
several ranchers in the Pantanal have closed off breaks in the berms containing the Taquarf River. These
actions have interfered with the migration and reproductive behavior of many water dependent species
as the waters recede, occasionally stranding large numbers of fish in areas which eventually dry.
Widespread action of this sort would also raise questions concerning impacts to temporary lakes and
wetlands, and effects on ecosystem functioning on a regional basis.
Another major problem related to the intensive agriculture in the planaltos is the widespread use of
agrochemicals and their migration into the lowlands. There is growing evidence indicating that
agrochemical pollution may be an important factor in the Pantanal, though actual magnitudes and impacts
have yet to be evaluated systematically (Bucher et al., 1993; Alho et al., 1988; Ferreira et al., 1992).
Herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers, as with sediments, enter the Pantanal primarily by way of
stormwater runoff and seasonal floods. However, agrochemicals, particularly those with higher
persistency, will tend to travel much farther on flood waters. Dilution and degradation by natural
processes are additional factors in estimating the degree of harm ultimately posed by agricultural
chemicals (Adamoli, 1992).
In addition to intensive farming in the highlands, another activity with potential impacts on ecosystem
46 Part III Case Studies
function in the Pantanal is cattle ranching. Roughly 95% of the Pantanal plains has been divided into
privately owned cattle ranches, known as fazendas, owned by approximately 3500 fazendeiros. The
tradition of cattle ranching in the Pantanal goes back approximately 200 years. Thefazendas averaged
100,000 hectares during earlier periods, though now many have been subdivided into smaller ranches of
5000 hectares or less. The fencing required for these partitions tends to restrict the movement and
migration of animals, and may have negative effects on some wildlife populations, particularly during
flood periods when access to isolated higher areas is important to survival.
Though cattle densities are relatively low, there are questions concerning the effect that grazing has had
on natural vegetative communities and sedimentation rates, and the systemic effects of manure from the
large number of cattle raised in the Pantanal. An estimated three to eight million head of cattle in the
watershed produce many millions of pounds of manure per day. Relatively low animal densities are
thought to have prevented significant adverse effects on water quality, but no studies have been attempted
which would evaluate the total effects on ecosystem functioning. Similarly, low densities are thought to
have prevented significant deterioration of vegetative communities from grazing, but research is lacking.
It is worth noting that on a government owned research fazenda in the Nhecholandia region of the
Pantanal, the exuberant regrowth of vegetation in a small fenced area included species that have not been
detected for many years in areas of open range accessible to cattle (Gomes, 1992).
In many cerrado regions, excessive pasture burning also reduces native vegetation, resulting in increased
populations of undesirable vegetation, increased soil erosion and river sedimentation. The attempted
cultivation of non-native grasses is also problematic, since these do not survive dry season conditions as
well as native lowland grasses, and contribute to sedimentation problems when they die off.
The educational level of thefazendeiros is relatively high, and there appears to be general support for
protecting and maintaining this existing use of the lowlands system. In recent years, ranch associations
have been formed in an effort to support and inform the fazendeiros. One of the more visible of these
associations is the NGO known as Society for the Defense of the Pantanal (SODEPAN) in Mato Grosso
do Sul, which offers workshops and educational materials to improve cattle and forest management, teach
sustainable agricultural technologies and fish farming, and conduct research into the possibility of
commercial farming of capybara and caiman. There are also attempts to advise and educate ranch owners
on the possibility of supplementing cattle ranching with appropriate types of ecotourism (Azevedo, 1993).
Agricultural land use practices within and adjacent to the Everglades have had significant adverse impacts
on the historic natural system. Adverse impacts have resulted from both the physical disruption of natural
habitat and hydrology caused by converting lands within the Everglades to agricultural and urban uses,
and by the pollutants (pesticides and nutrients) associated with both activities. There are approximately
810,000 hectares (2,000,000 acres) of agricultural lands in these areas. The construction and operation
of the water management system necessary to support these land uses have played a role in the large scale
destruction of wetlands, water shortages, disruptions of the timing and distribution of water supply,
nutrient pollution, and disruption of habitat. Such manipulation of the natural hydrologic regime has also
contributed to fragmentation of the Everglades, resulting in the loss of connections between the central
Everglades and adjacent transitional wetlands. Generally, there are several predominant forms
of agricultural activities which impact the Everglades system. Crop production in the east Everglades
area, including portions of Dade County, is typically preceded by rock plowing, a process of breaking
up and crushing the native limestone rock formation until it reaches a consistency which can be plowed
Interameican Dialogue on Water Management 47
and planted. The subsequent agricultural use requires intensive use of water, pesticides, herbicides, and
fertilizer (SWIM, 1992a; Baker, 1988). Agricultural activities in this area are shifting from seasonal
crops such as tomatoes and vegetables to year-round crops and plants such as citrus, tropical fruit, and
ornamental nurseries that require more intensive water management (SWIM, 1992a; Metro-Dade, 1989).
Agriculture in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA), comprising about 283,000 hectares (700,000
acres) along the southern edge of Lake Okeechobee, relies on drained areas consisting of muck soils
formed from the decay of sawgrass (Cladiumjamaicense). Drainage of these soils causes soil oxidation
and release of nutrients, and has been shown to contribute significant nitrogen and phosphorus loads to
receiving waters. The principal crop is sugar cane, although vegetables, sod, corn, and rice are also
grown in the area. Although sugar cane typically requires little or no fertilization, vegetable crops, which
cover about 10% of the EAA, are responsible for about one third of the phosphorus fertilizer applied in
the area (SWIM, 1992a; IFAS, 1989).
Fertilizer use on vegetable crops has been shown to significantly increase the phosphorus content of soils
and to result in high concentrations in soil waters, groundwater, and drainage waters (SWIM, 1992a;
IFAS, 1989). An extensive system of irrigation ditches, canals, levees, and pump stations exists to
irrigate and drain fields. Nutrient contributions from surface waters from the EAA may have had
significant adverse impacts on water quality and composition of flora and fauna. In addition, receiving
waters are contaminated with high concentrations of chlorides, dissolved minerals, iron, and trace levels
of pesticides (SWIM, 1992a).
Nutrient pollution from large dairy and cattle farming operations located north of Lake Okeechobee has
had adverse impacts on the water quality of the lake and downstream waters (SWIM, 1989). The primary
concern is the large amounts of phosphorus and nitrogen that are discharged into the lake through surface
water runoff from these operations. Excessive nutrients in the lake have led to massive lake-wide blue-
green algae blooms and subsequent fish kills due to low oxygen levels in the water. In addition, nutrient
rich waters flowing south from Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades Agricultural Area are altering native
flora and fauna. Phosphorus is assumed to be the growth-limiting nutrient in Lake Okeechobee.
Accordingly, current management strategies are focusing on controlling phosphorus inputs to the lake.
Only approximately half of the 1,619,000 hectares (4,000,000 acres) of original Everglades now remain,
and are contained within various impoundments, cut off from essential sources of sheet flowing water.
Everglades wildlife communities and the sustainability of the ecosystem are impaired by this separation
and isolation. Runoff from dairy operations and backpumping from the Everglades Agricultural Area
have resulted in increased nutrient loads to Lake Okeechobee, the water conservation areas, and
Everglades National Park. These discharges are causing significant changes in the composition of plant
and animal communities and other natural characteristics, and threaten the ecological integrity of the
Everglades ecosystem (SWIM, 1992a; LOTAC-II, 1988; Swift and Nicholas, 1987; Davis, 1989, 1991).
48 Part III Case Studies
C. Extractive and industrial activity
Extractive industries for iron, manganese, diamonds and gold have the potential for significant impacts
on the Pantanal ecosystem. Iron and manganese mining, primarily in areas near Corumbi, produces
mostly localized effects in the Pantanal, but does have negative impacts on nearby agricultural areas that
are important to local markets (Ferreira et al., 1992). Mining also appears to be related to changes in
the direction of groundwater flow and in streams draining the area, and creates problems with iron and
manganese contamination and sedimentation, particularly when dams containing mineral wastes break
during heavy rains (Ferreira et al., 1992).
Sedimentation from operations occurring directly in or near rivers has significant long-term impacts on
hydrological and ecological functioning. Two diamond mining areas in Mato Grosso contribute very high
sediment loads to the Paraguay River and Slo Lourenqo River. Operations in these areas include
activities which occur directly in the river channels.
In the upper Paraguay Basin, of the various mineral mining operations, gold mining represents the
greatest environmental and human health risk. Since the early 1980s, gold mining has been concentrated
in the state of Mato Grosso, in the upper reaches of the basin. There are approximately 300,000 miners
(garimpeiros) in Mato Grosso (PRODEAGRO, 1992), and more than 500 mining operations in the
Pocon6 area alone (Santos, 1993), with production estimated at 400 kilograms per month (Teixeira,
1993). Environmental impacts include destruction of riverine vegetation, soil erosion and sedimentation,
changes in river bed topography and water pollution.
Estimates are that 40 metric tons per year of mercury are used by miners in Mato Grosso in order to
amalgamate gold particles contained in the mined soil and mud slurry (PRODEAGRO, 1992). There are
serious questions concerning how carefully mercury is being handled, and how much is being released
to the environment. Environmental officials state that recent advances in technology allow the
containment of 80% of mercury used during this phase of the process, but it is unclear to what extent the
new technology is being employed. Pits for discarded slurry are often poorly designed and constructed,
sometimes allowing pit walls to break or overflow during high water periods.
Typically, the mercury/gold amalgamate is heated in open containers with blowtorches to vaporize the
mercury. Public health officials estimate that three grams of mercury are used for every gram of placer
gold mined, and that 70% of the volatilized mercury eventually finds its way into the food chain,
bioaccumulating at higher trophic levels. Environmental officials in Mato Grosso state that new
volatilization processes recapture 80-90% of the volatilized mercury, though small miners do not tend
to use such processes, and the state's low enforcement capability makes it difficult to control small
There are several documented cases of elevated mercury levels in native fish and birds, particularly in
the northern Pantanal (Hylander et al., 1993; De Lacerda et al., 1991). Though some questions have
been raised concerning the sources of mercury in migratory fish (Santos, 1993), there appears to be
general consensus among most regulators and academics that a significant part of the problem is related
to gold mining activity (Adamoli, 1992; Espfndola, 1993). The political pressure behind the mining is
significant. In Pocon6 alone, approximately 70% of the population is dependent on the income from gold
mining (Santos, 1993). When IBAMA, the federal environmental agency, closed all mines in the area
Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management 49
earlier this year, in an attempt to properly survey and permit mining operations in the area, and determine
the extent of the mercury pollution problem, the mayors of several munictpios pressured federal and state
authorities to force IBAMA to reopen many of the mines.
Agroindustrial activities represent another significant potential source of contamination, since wastewater
treatment systems are very rare. Primary agroindustries in the Pantanal watershed include alcohol fuel
distilleries, slaughterhouses, meat processing plants, and dairy processing facilities. Generally, industrial,
urban and mining waste effluents are deposited directly into rivers on an ongoing basis. There are
approximately ten operating alcohol fuel distilleries in Mato Grosso and one in Mato Grosso do Sul. In
the northern part of the basin, the cumulative productive capacity of alcohol distilleries has been estimated
at 1,500,000 I/day (396,000 gal./day), with a waste discharge of about 27,800 mV/hr. (7,345,000 gal./hr.)
(Ferreira et al., 1992).
At present, there are internationally supported plans to construct a natural gas pipeline from Bolivia to
Sio Paulo, through Corumbd and the Pantanal. In conjunction with this project, the Brazilian federal
government is planning for Corumbd to be the first of a series of fourteen export processing zones to
encourage economic and industrial growth within the country. The ultimate size and number of industrial
operations in the Zona de Processamento e Exportagio (ZPE) could result in severe environmental
disruption, however environmental officials in Mato Grosso do Sul have expressed the opinion that
existing authority and enforcement capability are adequate to regulate the expected impacts (Espfndola,
1993). Recently, the environmental impact assessment required for larger development projects was
presented at a public hearing for another proposed ZPE at CAceres along the upper Paraguay River in the
Mining activities in the Everglades region have primarily involved mining of water and limestone.
Though limestone mining operations have destroyed considerable habitat in the eastern Everglades,
generally they are not considered to have significant negative effects on water quality or quantity.
Currently, a very large scale limestone quarrying operation is close to starting up in Dade County. There
is some concern that the operation could lead to adverse impacts to ecosystem functions. Another
extensive industrial project involves the mining of water east of the perimeter levee near Conservation
Area 3 (to the east and south of Lake Okeechobee). Potential impacts from this operation are unclear.
Oil drilling has occurred in the Everglades region, but to date commercially viable operations have
occurred only at the Raccoon Point Wellfield in the Big Cypress Preserve and in Immokalee region to
the west. There are several pipelines which carry oil from the Raccoon Point and Immokalee wellfields
east across the Everglades to the Fort Lauderdale area. Generally, the pipelines parallel the path of
Alligator Alley, the major east-west highway which cuts through the Everglades system. These pipelines
have ruptured in the past, most significantly about six years ago when a casing of one of the pipes
deteriorated and had to be replaced. Cleanup of the spill was accomplished within about one year of the
spill. The pipelines are located underground, and their construction and placement pipelines causes some
disturbances to the Everglades. Generally, the pipelines are not considered to cause adverse impacts to
Currently, there is also a proposal to drill an exploratory well on the Miccosukee Reservation in the
Everglades. The directional well would be constructed on Reservation property at a slant, in order to
access areas under adjacent Water Conservation Area 3.
Part III Case Studies
D. Urban development
Urban development within a watershed has associated with it many direct and indirect impacts on the
natural functioning of the system. These include but are not limited to the direct loss of habitat to
clearing of vegetation, siltation and contamination of water resources as a result of vegetation loss and
urban effluents, loss of many wetland values as a result of drainage, consumptive uses of surface and
Approximately three million people live in the Brazilian portion of the Pantanal basin,"and surrounding
highlands. Direct habitat losses to conversion of land for urban development are, for the most part,
restricted to a few population centers in the upland areas of the Pantanal. Indirect effects of urbanization
include urban requirements for natural resource inputs and waste assimilation. Relative to the amounts
of freshwater available from surface water sources, consumptive uses of water related to urban
development in and around the Pantanal are probably negligible. However, advanced treatment of urban
sewage and solid waste is rare in the area. Millions of gallons of untreated domestic waste enter
waterways each day, resulting in significant contamination of surface and subsurface waters.
Urban wastes originating from Cuiabi, in the state of Mato Grosso, have been estimated to be responsible
for a 20% reduction in concentrations of dissolved oxygen and for a mean abundance of 1,533 fecal
coliforms/100 ml of water in the Cuiabd River, within a short distance downstream (Ferreira et al., 1992;
Gomes and Shimada, 1985). In the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, it has been estimated that the organic
waste load for the Paraguay River basin results in a total biological oxygen demand of 12,083 kg/day,
of which 75% originates from the city of Corumbd and from the upper basin of the Miranda River
(Ferreira et al., 1992). Fish kills regularly occur during low water periods, but such dieoffs apparently
also occur from natural processes, and the cumulative effects of chemical, viral and bacterial
contamination from urban wastes on fish and wildlife are not known. During high water periods,
flooding patterns and other dispersive and assimilative processes tend to prevent large numbers of massive
fish kills related to water quality impacts (Addmoli, 1992).
The intense urbanization of lands within the Everglades has had significant adverse impacts on the natural
system. Currently, there are 4.5 to 5 million people living within the Everglades and on the low coastal
ridge separating the Everglades from the Atlantic Ocean. In 1986, residential uses were the most
prevalent use in the southern counties, comprising a total assessed value of over $94 billion (SWIM,
1992a). Agricultural lands east of the Everglades are continuing to be converted for urbat development,
which forces farming activities further west into areas closer to the perimeter canals and levees which
border the Everglades. Other predominate urban land uses include service industries, retail trade,
financial industries, manufacturing, tourism, and recreation.
The urbanization of this region has had considerable impacts on water supply, wildlife habitat,
groundwater recharge, and water quality of the Everglades system. Significant portions of the system
have been adversely affected or destroyed. Development has directly impacted the hydrology of the
region by increasing the amount of surface runoff and by decreasing the amount of storage available
(SWIM, 1992a). The drainage necessary for urbanization causes two to three million acre feet per year
of fresh water to be shunted to the sea. Under historic conditions, this water would serve to extend
Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management b
Everglades hydroperiods and increase fish production and other components of the food chain necessary
for wading birds. Current regulatory initiatives are focusing on the need for increased water conservation
and investigation of water supply alternatives, protection and preservation of wetlands for groundwater
recharge and wildlife habitat, and the need to address impacts of stormwater discharge from existing and
future development on water quality (SWIM, 1992a).
E. Wildlife exploitation
Wildlife exploitation in both ecosystems has followed a similar track, with prehistoric and early historic
use by indigenous peoples at subsistence levels, followed by semi-indigenous uses with slightly more
impact. Early colonial uses tend to be very extractive, and are eventually moderated to allow more
sustainable use of wildlife resources.
Modern approaches to wildlife exploitation include the significant potential for non-extractive
"exploitation" in the form of ecotourism. There is a growing worldwide market for opportunities to
experience wildlife species in their natural and undisturbed habitats, with potentially significant financial
returns for local economies. The Everglades National Park is only one manifestation of that market in
south Florida, and current visitation rates are approximately one million visitors per year.
With large numbers of wildlife, including some of most unique and beautiful species in the world, the
Pantanal represents a tremendous, relatively untapped, market for ecotourism. Visitation rates in recent
years are on the order of 10,000 people per year (Bucher et al., 1993), though accurate figures are
difficult to obtain. Dry season conditions are particularly favorable to wildlife viewing, with relatively
pleasant weather, and wildlife tending to congregate near areas of surface water. It is extremely
important that environmental planning-and regulatory authorities survey existing ecotourism facilities and
practices, in order to assure that habitat is not destroyed or contaminated and wildlife populations are not
compromised as a result of what appears to be a burgeoning and lucrative industry.
Historically, the Pantanal ecosystem was used for subsistence level hunting and fishing by relatively small
populations of indigenous peoples, whose activities had little impact on ecosystem functions. Native
tribes in the area include the Kadiw6u, Terena, Kinkinao, Guaranf, Guat6, Boror, Caduveo Uutina,
Pareci, Komba and Ufai&-Xavante, though most have now moved to FUNAI reserves, been assimilated
or become extinct (Bucher et al., 1993).
Beginning in the colonial period, and continuing to the present, semi-indigenous uses of the Pantanal have
included low levels of subsistence farming, in addition to hunting and fishing. Closely associated with
the history of cattle ranching in the Pantanal are the pantaneiros or Pantanal cowboys, many of whom
support families. This relatively small, semi-indigenous group, with its own rich cultural tradition, has
been an important part of the growth of cattle ranching since its inception over 200 years ago. The
economic viability of thefazendas is closely related to the work done by pantaneiros, while the viability
of thepantaneiro culture itself is tied to the economic fortunes of the ranches. Wildlife diversity is also
related to the health of pantaneiros and fazendeiros. Though hunting is illegal in the Pantanal,
pantaneiros often have an implicit understanding with ranch owners that hunting their lands for caiman,
jaguars and other wildlife is acceptable. The practice gives the low wage pantaneiros the opportunity to
sell hides for money and takes care of what is often seen as a wildlife nuisance.
52 Part Ii Case Studies
Current trends in wildlife harvesting are probably not sustainable. With about 30,000 fishermen and very
little enforcement presence, a serious problem in the Pantanal involves uncontrolled fishing throughout
the year. The situation is particularly problematic during thepiracema (spawning season), which occurs
at different times, depending on the fish and the region. Estimates in 1990 were that about 3000 kgs
(6600 Ibs) of fish were taken illegally each month.
Until fairly recently, the poaching of caiman orjacard for skins was essentially unregulated. In 1988,
an estimated 1,000,000 hides were illegally taken, with almost no effective intervention by authorities
(Mittermeier et al., 1990). Increased enforcement activity in Mato Grosso do Sul, combined with
international pressure on Bolivia and Paraguay to close down the markets for skins in those countries,
have significantly reduced the illegal poaching, but the problem has not been completely abated (Rabelo,
The taking of animals for the illegal trade in pets has also damaged populations of such animals as the
hyacinth macaw, parrots, parakeets, monkeys and anacondas. Hyacinth macaws have a market value of
up to US$8000 a pair in the United States and US$15,000 in Europe. Recent surveys have indicated that
a maximum of 3000 individuals remain in the wild and that 50 per cent of all smuggling in Brazil is for
the national market (Mittermeier et al., 1990).
Historically, portions of the KLOE system were used for subsistence hunting, gathering, and fishing by
small essentially nomadic populations of indigenous peoples. At the beginning of the period of Spanish
settlement in Florida, aboriginal groups inhabiting the KLOE system included the Jeaga (coastal area east
of Lake Okeechobee), the Mayaimi (all sides of Lake Okeechobee), Tequesta (coastal areas southeast of
Lake Okeechobee) and Calusa (coastal region southwest of Lake Okeechobee) (Larson, 1980). These
early groups followed a seasonal cycle of utilizing particular plant and animal species that were in
sufficient abundance to support the population. The primary food sources were fish, whales, shellfish,
cocoa plums, saw palmetto berries, zamia (starch source), sea turtles, and various land mammals,
including deer and bear (Larson, 1980). The subsistence activities of early aboriginal peoples probably 7
had little impact on ecosystem functions. t
Early aboriginal groups in the region were extinct by the mid-1700s, primarily due to massacre and
disease (Derr, 1989). Later occupation of the area by Native Americans (primarily Seminole and P
Miccosukee tribes) also probably had relatively little impact on the natural system. By the turn of the e
century, official U.S. policy had almost completely removed Native Americans from the region (Derr,
1989). Current uses of the Everglades system by the Seminole and Miccosukee Tribes include traditional L
activities such as hunting, fishing, and harvesting timber for personal dwellings, as well as modern t
economic activities (Quetone and Koening, 1992).
Certain animal species have suffered tremendous declines in the Everglades region. Excessive hunting al
at the turn of the nineteenth century severely stressed populations of a number of species, many of which 1
have never fully recovered. Several species have been extirpated from the area, including the Florida ir
red wolf and the Carolina parakeet (SWIM, 1992a). Wading bird populations, estimated at about 2.5 e
million birds in 1870, were reduced to 500,000 in 1910 as a result of plume hunting (SWIM, 1992a; 01
Robertson and Kushlan, 1984). re
Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management 53
While wildlife hunting laws helped ease the pressure on certain species, other factors have resulted in
continued declines of many species. The causes of these declines include the loss of habitat to urban and
agricultural use, intensive harvest and over harvesting, altered hydroperiods, changes in the composition
of native vegetation, introduction of exotic vegetation, water management practices, and alteration of fire
patterns (SWIM, 1992a). Wading bird populations have declined by about 90% during the past 60 years.
Presently, at least 44 species which use the Everglades area are considered threatened, endangered, or
of special concern. Threatened and endangered species include the Florida panther, mangrove fox
squirrel, Florida black bear, everglades mink, manatee, wood stork, snail kite, cape sable seaside
sparrow, peregrine falcon, southern bald eagle, brown pelican, American alligator, eastern indigo snake,
and American crocodile (SWIM, 1992a).
F. Cross-scale Threats
In addition to localized anthropogenic impacts on watershed functioning, management of the Pantanal and
Everglades may be influenced by cross-scale threats with wide ranging sources and effects. Both systems
have the potential to be affected by many types of activities and events occurring outside the boundaries
of the watershed. A potential example includes shifting weather patterns and sea level rise as a result of
global warming. Even slight differences in the amounts, location and timing of rainfall can have
unanticipated and greatly magnified effects in terms of ecosystem functioning. Though the effects of sea
level rise would probably be felt more in the Everglades than on the Pantanal, shifts in rainfall patterns
could have significant, essentially unforeseeable negative impacts on the habitats of resident and migratory
birds in the Pantanal, as well as wetland and aquatic habitats for a large number of other species.
Additionally, contaminants in several forms can be transported by different processes over long distances
and deposited within a watershed. Examples include long distance movement of metallic and organic
forms of mercury, which in the Pantanal, are closely associated with gold mining and periods of high
water. Volatilized forms of mercury may also be transported long distances by wind and rain patterns.
The true scope of the resulting damage to human health and environment from mercury is only beginning
to be realized. In the Everglades, mercury deposition appears to be associated with atmospheric
processes. Though at present, they appear not to be a significant problem in south Florida or western
Brazil, increases in the rates and concentrations of acid deposition from sources hundreds of miles away,
particularly in combination with other regional or cross-scale threats, have the potential to affect
Larger trends in economic conditions and trade policy should also be appreciated as potential cross-scale
threats, since intensity of development in an area may be closely associated with national and state efforts
to respond to such trends and conditions. In the Everglades, the most obvious example is sugarcane
production, which has been heavily subsidized by price supports and import quotas. In the Pantanal,
agricultural development on the planaltos was rapidly accelerated and subsidized beginning in the early
1970s, in response to national economic goals to increase foreign exchange and service the debt to
international lending sources. The lack of concern for, and apparent inability to regulate the
environmental impacts of such large, intensive operations were at least partially related to forces acting
on a very large scale. In these circumstances, the negative impacts on a watershed are just as much a
result of cross-scale threats as is atmospheric mercury deposition, and equally as difficult for regulatory
authorities to control.
54 Part II Case Studies
IV. REGULATORY AND POLICY RESPONSE
A. Legal Authority and Institutional Capacity
Agencies responsible for research, planning and regulation of impacts to the Pantanal and Everglades have
varying degrees of effectiveness, which appear to be related to factors such as: agency missions,
allegiance and funding; the degree of regulatory and planning authority granted to an agency; principal
constituencies served by an agency; power relationships between agencies; potential for political
manipulation of an agency; and whether equipment and training levels of personnel are sufficient to meet
program responsibilities imposed on the agency.
There is generally adequate legal and regulatory authority to control activities with negative environmental
impacts in the Everglades and in much of the Pantanal, although the authority in both regions is weakened
somewhat by exemptions and gaps in the regulatory structures. Several other factors affect the ability
of agencies to act effectively. Beyond certain projects financed by international lending institutions which
support much needed research, regulation and institutional development in the Pantanal, lack of funding
and resources is a chronic problem for state environmental agencies. The Brazilian economic crisis has
severely restricted available funds for equipment and staff. As a result, it is difficult to retain qualified
personnel. Environmental agencies in the Pantanal express a general need for expertise in several areas,
including basic scientific understanding of ecosystem functioning, increased enforcement capability, and
the processes and forms for creating effective, enforceable legislation. Laboratory testing facilities and
technical capabilities are not sufficient to allow complete chemical and bacteriological testing.
The Brazilian Constitution of 1988 is considered by the U.N. to be one of the most advanced
constitutional texts on environmental issues in the world (Guimaries, 1991). Chapter VI (Article 225)
of the 1988 Constitution is devoted to public environmental rights, and specifies the Pantanal as one of
several ecosystems which are recognized as part of the "national patrimony." Also included are the
Amazon, the Atlantic Forest, the Serra do Mar or Sea Mountains and the Coastal Zone. All states with
jurisdiction over such areas must provide for their specific protection based on financial capability and
applicable resources. At present, realizing the full potential of available constitutional and legal controls
is difficult. Federal bureaucratic controls suffer from excessive jurisdictional overlap and political pressure
from development interests (Guimarles, 1991). State environmental agencies have only recently gained
sufficient authority to address many problems and suffer from a general lack of institutional capacity
(Brazil 92, 1992).
There are approximately 120 federal laws related to the environment in Brazil, not including articles and
resolutions. Generally, federal laws set minimum standards of review and regulation on a certain topic,
while state laws may address particular issues and problems with more specificity. State laws must be
consistent with federal law on a particular subject and must meet federal minimum standards, as set by
the National Environmental Council (CONAMA). Most federal laws are implemented and enforced by
the Brazilian Institute for Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA), the primary federal
Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management 55
The Brazilian National Environmental Policy Act (Federal Law No. 6938), enacted in 1981, serves as
the foundation for federal environmental regulation in Brazil, essentially requiring a permit from federal
or state environmental agencies for many types of projects with the potential for environmental impacts.
Before permits can be issued, environmental impact assessments must be completed and must be subject
to public review and comment (auditncia piblica) (Findley, 1988). The Brazilian Forest Code (Federal
Law No. 4771/1965) as amended, is a complex law which includes substantive and procedural rules
concerning property rights, the exploitation of protected areas, methods for managing forests in most
regions of the country, and permit conditions and penalties. The law requires a 30 to 200 m (100-650
ft.) protection zone on either side of rivers and other watercourses, depending in part on the size of the
stream, the rate of flow and the flooding regime (Santos, 1992; Espfndola 1993).
In addition, the CONAMA has established six classifications of water use, based on existing water quality
in surface waters of the country (Resolution No. 20, 1986). Most states apply the federal minimum
standards for water quality, depending on the classification of use. Industrial effluent is not allowed to
violate these standards. A cumulative impact analysis, or assimilative capacity analysis is also required
for developments with impacts on a river based on the classification of the particular section of the river
potentially impacted. No additional industrial effluent may be allowed in an area if assimilative capacity
standards would be exceeded. Accurate evaluation, monitoring and enforcement of these requirements
A new federal law has been proposed by which federal agencies would regulate impacts to water quality
and quantity in interstate waters within Brazil. One feature of the proposed legislation is the creation of
river basin commissions and where necessary, sub-basin commissions, overseen by a national collegiate,
which would work together to plan and evaluate permits for the proper use of water resources. It appears
that the legislation is still being revised and debated.
On paper, Brazilian environmental law has a powerful enforcement tool. Federal Law No. 7347 was
enacted in 1985, creating and regulating a type of citizen suit (acfo civil piblica) (Findley, 1988). Such
suits may now be brought against the government or private parties by the Attorney General or by legally
recognized entities other than individual persons, in order to enforce environmental statutes. Standing
is broadly defined, allowing groups to sue for enforcement of laws in remote parts of the country
regardless of their presence in the applicable area (Muller and Ninio, 1992). Though the law has the
potential to increase control over environmental violators, it has not been widely used as yet in the
Before adoption of the 1988 Brazilian Constitution, all impacts to flora and fauna were regulated solely
by IBAMA. States could legislate and act on these topics only through agreements with, and
authorization by, the federal agency. The agreements allowed for federal intervention whenever
necessary. States now have concurring authority to regulate flora and fauna, though not all states have
acted on this authority (Oliveira, 1993). In some states, IBAMA has no presence at all, such as in the
state of Sao Paulo, which has a powerful state environmental agency.
In the past two years, Brazil has initiated a "National Program for the Environment," financed by the
World Bank. The program has three fundamental components: institutional development, focused
primarily on IBAMA; ecological protection of the Pantanal, the Atlantic forest and the Atlantic coastal
area; and the establishment and protection of approximately fifty Federal Conservation Units, identified
as ecologically important areas, with responsibility for the plans delegated to IBAMA. Environmental
_ __ ~
56 Part III Case Studies
agencies in states with jurisdiction over the Pantanal and other representatives of the "national patrimony"
are responsible for administering those components of the program in their respective states.
b. Mato Grosso do Sul
The Brazilian portion of the Pantanal is divided between the states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do
Sul. In addition to regulatory agencies in these states, IBAMA and local environmental authorities exert
influence over efforts to develop the basin. In Mato Grosso do Sul, which has jurisdiction over
approximately 52% of the Brazilian Pantanal watershed (SEMA, 1993), environmental and land use
activities are regulated primarily by the State Secretariat for the Environment (SEMA). The federal
research agency known by the acronym EMBRAPA maintains a research complex (CPAP) in Corumba,
Mato Grosso do Sul dedicated to agricultural, ranching and environmental issues in the Pantanal. In
Mato Grosso, the responsible environmental agency is the State Foundation for the Environment (FEMA),
and there is a small EMBRAPA research unit in Pocon6.
In recent years, federal and state governmental officials have provided support for institutional
strengthening which has increased SEMA's capacity to monitor and regulate activities with environmental
impacts. FEMA, created in 1987, is a relatively young organization which appears to have received
somewhat less support from policymakers. A new agro-environmental development program being
funded by a World Bank loan includes a component for the institutional strengthening of FEMA
In Mato Grosso do Sul, SEMA and IBAMA are responsible for the regulation of activities with effects
on the environment. The Secretary of SEMA oversees three technical departments with about 120
technicians (permitting of polluting activities, conservation of natural resources, environmental education);
a center for environmental control, including physical/chemical and bacteriological laboratories; a
financial and administrative department; and two advisory departments for technical and legal matters.
The agency maintains regional offices in Bonito, Aquidauana, Corumbi and Coxim (Espfndola, 1993).
The Forest Police, a unit of the State Military Police, provide environmental protection and preventive
policing through formal agreements (convAnios) with IBAMA and SEMA. There are approximately 250
members of the Forest Police covering Mato Grosso do Sul's portion of the Paraguay Basin, only about
50 of whom have specialized training in environmental enforcement (Rabelo, 1993). The agreement with
IBAMA calls for the Forest Police to enforce laws controlling hunting, fishing in interstate waters, and
the exploitation of forest resources. Through the agreement with SEMA, the Forest Police enforce laws
concerning fishing in state waters and activities that have the potential to cause soil degradation. The
agency also participates in the research efforts of SEMA and EMBRAPA, including monitoring and
reporting environmental conditions and the status of wildlife (Oliveira, 1993).
There are two primary state environmental laws in Mato Grosso do Sul. The first of these laws, the State
Environmental Policy Act (Law 90) was the first law of this type in Brazil, adopted in 1980, one year
before a similar federal law. The law requires that all activities with the potential to harm the
environment must obtain a permit from SEMA. It deals with the licensing and control of polluting
activities, addressing all potential environmental impacts. The requirements are detailed, and apply to all
of Mato Grosso do Sul. Under this legislation, SEMA has permitting authority over the approval of the
project itself; location and siting; control of air pollution; and control of effluents, with standards and
controls depending on the sensitivity or classification of the area (Oliveira, 1993).
Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management 57
The second such law, the Pantanal Protection Law (Law 328), was adopted by the legislature of Mato
Grosso do Sul in 1982. This legislation divides the state into two areas, the Parand and Paraguay river
basins, and requires that all proposed economic activities in the Paraguay basin provide an environmental
impact assessment, allowing for public review and comment (audigncia pdiblica) on any activity with
potential environmental impacts. Most evaluative criteria for permits relate to land use and water
management. After staff review and public discussion at the audi&ncia piblica, SEMA either rejects the
proposed activity, or imposes technical conditions to meet applicable standards. The law also prohibits
industrial fuel alcohol distilleries within the Pantanal region of the Paraguay Basin.
c. Mato Grosso
The situation in Mato Grosso is somewhat different. The state's history and current orientation toward
development suggest a political climate not favorable to environmentally sustainable management of
natural resources. However, the state constitution of Mato Grosso does require that the Pantanal be
protected, and requires that local governments take measures to ensure this protection. It also mandates
that environmental measures in the Pantanal be implemented in conjunction with the state of Mato Grosso
do Sul. It is worth noting that recently, the top official at FEMA (also serving as Special Secretary for
the Environment) was replaced, at least partially for an inability to make progress on several
environmental programs. Currently, the agency is undergoing an organizational review and restructuring.
Though new management has the potential to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the agency, it
remains to be seen whether it will become a significant force in promoting environmentally sustainable
At present, FEMA enforces a State Environmental Policy Act (Law 4894/1985) which generally tracks
the federal legislation on which it is based. The law requires permits for construction and operation of
several activities with the potential to pollute the environment, based on environmental impact assessments
which are subject to public review and comment. Although comprehensive, the state law did not adopt
provisions specific to local conditions, and did not include higher levels of protection for the Pantanal.
For example, in its original formulation, the law did not prohibit fuel alcohol distilleries in the Pantanal.
In 1985, CONAMA required FEMA to suspend any licensing of new alcohol distilleries in the Pantanal,
though existing distilleries were allowed to remain in operation. Farm projects over 1000 hectares (2500
acres) are also subject to the law, but agricultural developers have been able to avoid these requirements
by subdividing projects into units less than 1000 hectares, then operating cooperatively to achieve
efficiencies of scale. In Mato Grosso do Sul, the applicable size threshold for farm projects requiring
environmental impact assessments is 500 hectares (1250 acres). Several attempts have been made to
develop and adopt more stringent environmental legislation, in Mato Grosso, but development interests
within the state have hindered those efforts (Oliveira, 1993).
A relatively new program of planning and regulation in Mato Grosso is the Project of Agro-
Environmental Development, known as PRODEAGRO, which includes environmental components related
to several types of threats. The specific policies and regulations for most of these components have yet
to be developed. One of the primary elements of the program is agro-ecological zoning, which attempts
to locate particular types of farming and ranching activities in appropriate areas of the state
(PRODEAGRO, 1992). The program also contains a component for the management, protection and
monitoring of natural resources, with subcomponents which include: establishing conservation units;
sustainable management of primary and secondary forests; registration, rationalization and control of
mining activity; environmental licensing, monitoring and regulation; informal environmental education;
58 Part II Case Studies
institutional reform and development of FEMA; support of indigenous communities; monitoring of cover
vegetation, mining activities and remote sensing (PRODEAGRO, 1992).
The Mato Grosso Forest Police, were created in 1986 to enforce several state and federal laws, including
those concerning illegal burning, illegal skin hunting and out of season commercial fish netting. The
Police maintain a primary office in CuiabA, with branch offices in Caceres, Caracara, Pocon6, Porto
Cercado, Isla Diamon, Bario de Melgaco, and Porto Joffre. The force includes about 150 soldiers
divided into detachments. Recruits receive special instruction in the applicable environmental laws and
in dealing with tourists along the Transpantaneira Highway (Teixeira, 1993). However, as a result of
low salaries and few operating funds, the agency may not be as effective as its counterpart in Mato
Grosso do Sul, and is currently undergoing reorganization (Rabelo, 1993).
With relatively low enforcement capability, FEMA has pursued several efforts at achieving environmental
goals through public education. In agricultural areas, the agency promotes the use of small contour
plowed berms in order to decrease soil erosion. In cattle ranching areas, there are public service
announcements to decrease the amount of pasture burning which normally occurs during the dry season.
In gold mining areas, pamphlets are distributed which warn of the dangers of uncontained volatilization
of mercury, and which promote a relatively simple technology for containing the mercury vapors. The
agency has also produced educational pamphlets which explain the need to avoid fishing during the
There is no institution in South Florida, other than the South Florida Water Management District
(SFWMD), with the combined capacity to conduct the research, planning, construction, operation,
acquisition, regulation, and public education necessary to protect and restore the Kissimmee-Lake
Okeechobee-Everglades (KLOE) ecosystem. The Everglades National Park has responsibility for
research, planning and management in a significant portion of the lower part of the KLOE system, though
it does not hold regulatory or permitting authority for activities outside the Park boundaries. The
SFWMD encompasses the entire watershed. District staff have been closely involved, with the Corps
of Engineers, in designing, constructing and operating the Central and South Florida Flood Control
Project. The District also has an extensive regulatory program for urban and agricultural activities.
Several intensive planning efforts focused on the Everglades are now coming to fruition. These include
the Everglades SWIM Plan and the District's Water Supply Plan.
The District has a staff of 1517, many of whom are highly trained and experienced professionals, with
an additional 50 positions being considered for the coming fiscal year. Its 1993 budget was
approximately $259 million. When compared to the likely challenges and costs of restoring the
Everglades, however, the District must have the active cooperation and assistance of the federal
government and local governments. Current planned projects are expected to cost $1.24 billion. These
include: Kissimmee River Restoration ($372 million); Everglades Agricultural Area Restoration ($465
million); Modified Water Deliveries to Everglades National Park ($187 million); and the C-111/Florida
Bay Restoration ($220 million). It is generally understood that these efforts will not be enough to restore
the system. The Corps is currently conducting a reconnaissance study for a major restudy of the entire
system. It is not yet known what the study might cost, let alone the implementation of it. In addition,
it seems likely that the urban areas along the East coast will have to invest hundreds of million of dollars
in water supply facilities so that additional water can be retained in the Everglades system.
Interamercan Dialogue on Water Management 59
a. Consumptive Use
The South Florida Water Management District regulates consumptive use of water in the Everglades
region under the authority of the Florida Water Resources Act of 1972 (Chapter 373, Part II, F.S.).
Under the Act, applicants proposing new uses must establish that the proposed use is: 1) a reasonable
beneficial use, 2) will not interfere with a presently existing legal use of water, and 3) is consistent with
the public interest.
The Act contains several provisions relating to the effects of consumptive uses on the environment,
including a statement of policy to preserve natural resources, fish, and wildlife. The Act mandates that
minimum flows be established for surface waters, as well as minimum lake and groundwater levels. In
addition, under the public interest standard, adverse environmental impacts can be considered when
evaluating a proposed consumptive use. The Act also provides for adoption of water shortage plans and
b. Manipulation of water flows
In 1972, the Florida Legislature created the South Florida Water Management District (District) with the
enactment of the Water Resources Act. The Act provides the District with management authority for
water quality protection and environmental protection and enhancement, as well as for the traditional
objectives of flood protection and water supply.
Today, several federal and state laws apply to management of water supply and flood control in the
Everglades region. The legal requirements for water supply are governed primarily by federal law which
resulted in the authorizations for the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control Project. The law
establishes Lake Okeechobee and the Water Conservation Areas as the water supply source for Everglades
National Park, Florida's lower east coast, and for the Everglades Agricultural Area. Flood control is also
regulated under the authority of Project, which provides that Lake Okeechobee provide flood control for
the Everglades Agricultural Area, and that the Water Conservation Areas provide flood protection for
the Everglades Agricultural Area and the Lower East Coast.
The state of Florida is responsible for allocating water supply releases from storage areas, except where
specified by federal law. The Florida Water Resources Act (Chapter 373, F.S.), is the primary state law
which regulates water supply on the state and regional level. Chapter 373 provides for planning for water
use and water supply as part of a state-wide planning effort, authorizes development of a consumptive
water use permit program, and authorizes water shortage orders when water supplies are reduced due to
drought or overuse. Flood control and surface water management is regulated under Part IV of Chapter
373, F.S.; which requires that adequate flood protection be provided by dams, impoundments, reservoirs,
and other works which can affect the water resources of the state.
Water supply and flood control on lands owned by Indian tribes are governed by water rights compacts
between the respective tribe and the South Florida Water Management District. The compacts are
superior to any other federal or state laws on the subject of water supply or flood control.
c. Water quality impacts
Water quality in the Everglades is regulated by several federal and state laws. The original Central and
Southern Florida Flood Control Project did not address water quality, other than to provide relief from
60 Part II Case Studies
the effects of flooding upon septic and sewer systems. Water quality was first recognized as a prime
objective of the Project in a 1969 Congressional authorization for additional works, which stated that
operation methods should evaluate and minimize concentrations of pesticides, herbicides, and nutrients.
The federal Clean Water Act has as its objective to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and
biological integrity of the nation's waters. (U.S.C. 1257a). Prior to 1987, the Act focused primarily
on controlling point-source pollution. The 1987 amendments authorized a program to provide federal
support for state efforts to control diffuse sources of pollution, known as non-point source pollutants.
The National Environmental Policy Act requires that an environmental impact assessment be conducted
for certain projects in which there is federal participation. Major federal actions significantly affecting
the quality of the human environment may be required to conduct an environmental impact assessment,
including impacts to water quality.
Several state laws and other documents regulate water quality in the Everglades region. The Water
Resources Act of 1972 (Chapter 373, F.S.) authorizes the South Florida Water Management District to
consider water quality as part of its management of water and related resources. Chapter 373 also
establishes the Legislature's intent that water quality be promoted through environmental enhancement.
The Surface Water Improvement and Management (SWIM) Act, adopted in 1987, requires that the
District create and implement plans for the protection and restoration of designated priority water bodies.
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas Everglades Protection Act of 1991 requires the District to adopt a SWIM
plan for the Everglades Protection Area which includes additional protections to those required under the
SWIM Act of 1987. Additional requirements include strategies for meeting water quality standards and
to restore the Everglades hydroperiod. In 1989, the District was also given authority to regulate
Chapter 403, Florida Statutes, establishes a statewide pollution control program, and provides the
Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) with authority to regulate point source discharges to
surface waters and ground waters, dredge and fill activities, classification of water bodies, and adoption
of state water quality standards. Under authority of Chapter 403, DEP has designated the Everglades
National Park and Biscayne National Park as "Outstanding National Resource Waters," which imposes
an anti-degradation standard for those water bodies.
d. Land use regulation
The use of private lands within and adjacent to the historic Everglades is regulated primarily by local
government jurisdictions. The Florida Local Government Comprehensive Planning and Land
Development Regulation Act (Chapter 163, Part II, F.S.) requires that local government comprehensive
plans, zoning codes, and development approvals be consistent with conservation oriented provisions in
the state comprehensive plan (Chapter 187, F.S.). The state comprehensive plan establishes goals and
policies relating to water resources, coastal and marine resources, natural systems and recreational lands,
hazardous and nonhazardous materials and waste, mining, land use, and agriculture. The conservation
and protection of natural systems, wildlife, and water resources are clearly identified as priorities in the
State Comprehensive Plan.
State and federal entities may impose conditions or prohibit certain projects on private lands through
regulatory permitting programs. The primary permitting programs in the Everglades pertain to
stormwater, management and storage of surface waters, point sources of pollution, and dredge and fill.
Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management 67
Publicly owned lands may be used for government facilities, managed for the benefit and or use of the
public, or leased for private uses, such as silviculture or mining, depending upon the mission of the
particular governmental entity.
B. Jurisdictional Divisions
In both ecosystems, there are significant jurisdictional divisions based on geography and subject matter.
In Florida, the Everglades watershed is partitioned between local governments, federal and state
authorities, and water management districts. Responsibility for the review and permitting of the many
types of potential environmental impacts can also be divided among several agencies. The Pantanal is
also divided according to geography and subject matter. Partitioning the watersheds among agencies with
different constituencies and mandates makes the development or implementation of basinwide water
management programs extremely difficult.
Regulatory authority for the Pantanal is geographically split between the states of Mato Grosso and Mato
Grosso do Sul, and jurisdictionally split between environmental agencies in those states, IBAMA, and
the local governments. Until fairly recently, there was little coordination between these agencies on the
management of the Pantanal. Environmental officials in Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul now
report excellent cooperative efforts between those states. Under the Brazilian Constitution, areas of
"national patrimony" are eligible for special laws applicable over and beyond general environmental laws.
However the economic crisis, a lack of information and expertise and in some cases, a lack of political
will have created difficulties in developing and adopting such legislation for the Pantanal. Mato Grosso
do Sul has adopted several restrictions and controls on development in and around the Pantanal, and its
environmental agency is working with its counterpart in Mato Grosso, in its efforts to devise effective
legislation in that state.
A relatively new initiative being jointly administered by environmental agencies in the two states is known
as the Pantanal Project, financed by the World Bank, which is channeling US$10,000,000 each in funding
to Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul. The project, part of the National Program for the
Environment, is divided into two components. The first includes emergency actions, which are short
term measures designed to ameliorate the effects of environmental degradation. The second component
is known as the Plan for Conservation of the Upper Paraguay Basin (PCBAP). Essentially, this is a
network of actions emphasizing the regulation of natural resources and institutional development for the
management of the Pantanal ecosystem. The project encompasses an area of approximately 396,000
square kilometers (152,900 square miles), including portions of the Pantanal planaltos and plan[cie in the
states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul.
Officials recognize that in order to carry out the plan, it will be necessary to broaden scientific
understanding of natural systems and socio-economic conditions which characterize the basin. Studies
are planned in several research disciplines, including the fields of soil science, geology, geomorphology,
meteorology, botany, wildlife sciences and hydrology. The project will also undertake studies of the
socio-economic environment, demographic dynamics, land use, and economic indicators. A data bank
of research products is planned.
Federal authorities also have a role in management of the Pantanal, although the federal presence,
including enforcement presence, appears to be relatively small. Two areas of the Pantanal lowlands are
62 Part /II Case Studies
officially protected: a remote national park and a small ecological reserve in the state of Mato Grosso.
The former Caracara Biological Reserve was expanded and converted into the Pantanal National Park in
September 1981, covering about 138,000 hectares (341,000 acres). However, the boundaries of the park
were not related to wildlife needs, and there are international efforts underway to purchase additional
contiguous lands to allow for wildlife movement during periods of high water. This park and the much
smaller, state-owned Taiami Ecological Station (12,000 hectares; 29,650 acres) to the north are the only
protected areas in the entire Brazilian sector of the Pantanalplan[cie. Northeast of Cuiaba, the Chapada
dos Guimaries National Park comprises about 33,000 hectares (81,500 acres) in the northern planaltos,
including the headwaters of several rivers which form the left arm of the CuiabA River. At present
however, the national park designation appears to have little practical significance. Both areas are
considered "paper parks," with no infrastructure or protection plans, few if any government rangers on
site, and very low operating funds.
The watershed for the Everglades lies entirely within the state of Florida and at least one of the many
agencies with some responsibility for managing it has responsibility for that entire watershed. The South
Florida Water Management District is the one institution with a mandate to plan for the protection and
restoration of the Everglades. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas Everglades Protection Act requires the
District to develop strategies for restoring and protecting water quality and the hydroperiod of the
Everglades. In this respect, the Everglades is very different than the Pantanal, whose watershed includes
parts of two states in Brazil and parts of Bolivia and Paraguay.
There is a strong federal.presence in South Florida, as both a regulator and land manager. The U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers designed and built most of the system of levees, canals, pumps and spillways
that controls the vital flow of water through the system. It is currently beginning a major replanning of
the system. In addition, the Corps regulates the discharge of dredged or fill material, and thus plays a
major role in controlling the further conversion of wetlands to other uses. The U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) also plays a role in wetland permitting, with authority to veto Corps permits
and establish the criteria for permit issuance. The discharge of all other pollutants is subject to regulation
by EPA, except that Congress has exempted from regulation the most problematic pollutant: agricultural
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service assists the regulatory agencies through commenting and technical
support. It has a more direct responsibility for endangered and threatened species, which benefit from
research and recovery programs, and the regulatory oversight of the agency. In addition, the Service
manages a significant part of the Everglades through a lease of Conservation Area 1, the Art Marshall
Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. The National Park Service owns and manages the Everglades
National Park, at the bottom of the watershed, as well as the Big Cypress National Preserve, which
protects an important part of the Everglades watershed.
The state agencies or entities with primary responsibility for managing the Everglades include the Florida
Department of Environmental Protection, the Florida Department of Community Affairs, the South
Florida Water Management District, and the Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission.
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) was created this summer by merging the Department
of Environmental Regulation (DER) with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The DEP
regulates facilities that discharge pollutants to the atmosphere or water; solid and hazardous waste
arameridcn Dialogue on Water Management
The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) was created by the Water Resources Act of
1972, which was largely a response to the problems of water supply and environmental degradation
triggered by the droughts of 1970-71. In the Water Resources Act, the Legislature established a system
of regional districts along surface water hydrologic boundaries. The South Florida Water Management
District thus includes all of the Everglades watershed, from the headwaters of the Kissimmee River,
through Lake Okeechobee, the Everglades Agricultural Area, to the Everglades National Park and Florida
The decision to create an institution encompassing the entire watershed actually had its genesis in the
floods of 1947 and Congressional authorization of a massive, multipurpose public works project, the
Central and Southern Florida Flood Control Project, which was implemented by a predecessor agency,
the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control District. That district in turn, was the successor to the
Everglades Drainage District, which had been created primarily to drain and develop the Everglades
The South Florida Water Management District operates today under a broad mandate to manage water
and related land resources. It maintains and operates the levees, pumps, canals and structures of the flood
control project. It also acquires land for restoration and management in a more natural state. The
District also has comprehensive regulatory authority over the consumptive use of water, stormwater and
drainage works and wetlands alteration. These efforts are supported by various planning responsibilities,
the authority to levy ad valorem taxes, and some degree of autonomy from undue political influence
through a governing board appointed by the Governor.
facilities; stormwater discharges; and dredge and fill activities. The agency also has supervisory authority
over the South Florida Water Management District, implements the districts' rules for certain types of
facilities (e.g. landfills), and administers the state's environmental land acquisition programs.
The Department of Community Affairs (DCA) has responsibility for implementing the state's role in land
use planning and control. It does this primarily by reviewing local comprehensive plans for consistency
with state policy, reviewing large scale "Developments of Regional Impact" (which do not include
agriculture), and implementing a closer level of state control in Areas of Critical State Concern, which
include the Big Cypress and Florida Keys. The DCA works closely in the region with three Regional
Planning Councils, which represent all of the local governments.
The counties and cities of the watershed have major responsibility for land use planning and regulation.
In addition, there are a number of special districts which operate drainage systems to benefit landowners
within their boundaries. Such districts operate most of the secondary drainage systems within the
Everglades Agricultural Area and for many of the drained areas of the former Everglades along the
eastern edge of the remaining Everglades system.
64 Part III Case Studies
V. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
A. Importance of basic scientific information, and environmental education
Analysis and comparison of the Everglades and Pantanal ecosystems and of the systems by which they
are managed, leads to several conclusions. Effective management for sustainable use and development
must be grounded in a fundamental scientific understanding of the area. Research that is targeted to
developing information to support management is therefore essential. Many of the mistakes that have
been made in managing the Everglades might have been avoided with better scientific understanding.
Even today, management of the Everglades, one of the most heavily researched systems in the world,
continues to be constrained by the limitations of available information. The need for research in the
Pantanal is especially acute. Major projects such as the Hidrovia cannot be properly evaluated without,
for example, sufficient understanding of the hydrology of the area and the response of plant and animal
communities to hydrologic alteration.
Crucial to the effort is the continued financial support of collaborative research between universities,
research institutes, regulatory and planning agencies and non-governmental organizations. To encourage '
optimum use of scientific research, it is also important to support wide dissemination of research findings, C
including establishment of clearinghouses for scientific information, regular conferences at which
researchers and policymakers can share and discuss findings, and electronic information networks for data ir
transfer and on-line discussion of issues by water managers and researchers. E
Another extremely important factor in the management of both systems is the value of environmental
education based on scientific findings. Funding, resources and enforcement ultimately depend on political th
will, which in turn is related to cultural recognition of and. support for certain values. Thus, p
environmental education plays a crucial role in developing and implementing sustainable management as
schemes. In the case of the Pantanal, the relationship is particularly important, in the face of strong th
development pressure, low enforcement capability and a nascent environmental consciousness. There are PC
many potential audiences, messages and media for the distribution of such information.
B. Economic and environmental significance of planning for and maintaining all water-related
natural functions Re
The undisturbed hydrologic regimes of the Everglades and Pantanal ecosystems have served many w
environmental and human-related functions. A failure to recognize, evaluate and manage for a broad the
range of functions has placed the Everglades on the list of endangered ecosystems. Policymakers in im]
Brazil have an opportunity to observe the failures and successes of management schemes for the
Everglades, and develop or adjust policies for the Pantanal which will allow for the sustainable ha
development of that watershed. The primary goals of planning efforts should be to develop plans which rel;
account for and properly manage all water-related functions of the ecosystem, helping avoid the crisis pri
management approach which has characterized the situation in the Everglades for many years. This apf
approach allows for the consideration and development of economic uses of water while maintaining Evi
Management policies in the Everglades watershed which sacrificed certain functions of the system in favor pla
of flood control and drainage for agriculture and urban development have led to a water control system and
that is now among the most complex and expensive in the world, and which is struggling to sustain the
Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management 65
ecosystem. Economic gains derived from agriculture and urban development have come at tremendous
cost. Efforts to understand the functioning of the ecosystem, create technical and managerial approaches
for maintaining its viability and replace lost functions have cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and will
require many hundreds of millions more. Many environmental and economic values of the ecosystem
will probably never be fully regained.
The current hydrological regime of the Pantanal also serves a large number of ecosystem and human-
based functions, most of which appear to be relatively intact. However, policymakers in Brazil have
already begun to favor high return economic uses and manipulations of the system which threaten to
significantly alter the hydrologic regime in ways which may reduce its long-term sustainability.
C. Importance of watershed management approach
Another insight derived from a comparison of the two ecosystems is the crucial importance of a basinwide
watershed management approach. Many problems in the Everglades have developed as a result of single
purpose, localized water development and management decisions which failed to consider the functioning
of the watershed as a whole. Decisions made to channelize the Kissimmee River affected Lake
Okeechobee. Efforts to protect the water quality of Lake Okeechobee resulted in shifting the discharge
of nutrients into the Everglades. Drainage of the East Everglades has deprived Florida Bay of freshwater
inflow. The necessity of considering the entire watershed has been conclusively demonstrated in the
The Pantanal is a much larger watershed, but a watershed approach seems equally important there. Like
the Everglades, the Pantanal is vulnerable to poorly planned and managed development in the watershed.
The effects of gold mining activities and agricultural development in the watershed must be considered
as part of a comprehensive watershed management plan. The challenge for Brazil is how to accomplish
that in a basin that is almost the size of Florida, which is under several jurisdictions with different
political constituencies, and in a continuing economic crisis.
D. Necessity of coordination among all planning/regulatory authorities
Related to basinwide water management is the necessity for developing a coordinated approach by all
planning and regulatory authorities with water management responsibilities. Though the Everglades
watershed has, since 1972, been under the jurisdiction of the South Florida Water Management District,
the permitting and regulatory authority granted to the District has not allowed it to address all potential
impacts to the system. One example is water quality impacts, which were not originally part of the
specific regulatory mandate of the District under Chapter 373, F.S. As a result, potential project impacts
have been addressed by several regulatory and planning bureaucracies. Until recently, there was
relatively little coordination or planning among those bureaucracies, resulting in management goals and
priorities which sometimes worked at cross purposes. The lack of a coordinated and cooperative
approach by all relevant agencies worked to slowly but inevitably degrade ecosystem function in the
With a watershed divided between two states in Brazil, and parts of Bolivia and Paraguay, regulatory and
planning authorities with jurisdiction over the Pantanal face a more difficult task in developing a structure
and process for coordinating management goals and permitting criteria to achieve a basinwide approach.
66 Part I// Cas Studies
At preset, though the Brazilian Constitution require that states with jurisdietion over the Pantaoal enapt
and enforce laws to protect that watershed, there is no overarching plan to guide permitting and
development decisions in the Pantanal. As a result of the Pantanal Project, funded by the World Bank,
there has been recent cooperation between environmental agencies in the two Brazilian states, but there
is no evidence that permitting decisions have been coordinated.
Until a watershed management plan can be developed and implemented, the result will continue to be
degradation of the Pantanal ecosystem. There is a crucial need for the development of approaches and
structures to allow for creation and coordinated implementation of such a plan, incorporating plans for
all sub-basins within the Pantanal. The research, training, institutional development and regulatory
initiatives funded under the Pantanal Program have the potential to advance the effort to develop such
The need to coordinate a wide range of programs must also be pursued. In the case of the Everglades,
many of the problems of agricultural water pollution may be related to U.S. trade and agricultural
policies, which have supported a domestic sugar industry. The expansion of urban areas in South
Florida, and the resulting demand for drainage and water supply, may be related to immigration policy.
There are similar relationships in Brazil. Environmental policy must be coordinated with economic,
agricultural, trade, immigration and other social policies.
Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management 67
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affecting waters of the Pantanal wetland and associated rivers in the Upper Paraguay River
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Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management 69
Layne, J.N. 1984. The land mammals of south Florida. In: Gleason, P.J. (Ed.) Environments of
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70 Prf lI- Case Stiues
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The authors would like to thank the following people, who reviewed and commented on various drafts
of this paper: John Ogden, Sandra Postel, Adalberto Eberhard, Edson Espfndola, Gonzalo Castro, Pete
Rosendahl, Nelson da Franca dos Anjos, Steve Hamilton, Steve Light, Jorge Marban, Neil Grigg, Steve
davis, Jim Stone, and Diane Lowrie.
Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management 71
Case Study 2:
Infrastructure for Water Supply and Sanitation
in the Hemisphere
72 Pa W-Case Studes
Interamercan Dialogue on Water Management /A
Case Study 2
Infrastructure for Water Supply and Sanitation in the Hemisphere
Neil S. Grigg, Ph.D.
Head, Civil Engineering Department
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado 80523, USA
Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management
Miami, Florida, USA
October 27-30, 1993
A farmer rises early to face a day of hard work in the fields. His village water supply is not always
'reliable, and no one checks to see if it's safe. Meanwhile, another worker rises in an urban apartment,
prepares for her day with a modern water supply system, and worries more about urban crime than about
the reliability or safety of her water supply.
In the village, there is no sewage system, and the nearby waterway has caused children to get sick. The
city dweller's water supply is safe, but her community discharges sewage into a river that has toxic
chemicals, and the fish cannot be eaten.
These experiences, separated by a wide gulf in distance and culture, are faced daily in the Hemisphere,
and both deal with issues that are important to our citizens in their villages, towns and cities.
The farmer's family needs assurance that their water facilities are safe and reliable; and they are too poor
to worry much about the environment. The city worker lives alone, and she takes water supply safety
and reliability for granted, but sees her bills rising, and she might have to worry more about safety and
reliability in the future. She is an environmentalist, but her urban life style contributes to the problem.
Our Hemisphere includes a vast array of cultures and lands, ranging from those above the Artic Circle
to those in the steamy jungles of Amazonia. In between are examples of living in mountains, plains, and
coastal areas; and living in mega-cities, industrial towns, and rural villages. While the needs for water
supply and sanitation in these areas vary in many ways, the Hemisphere shares the fundamental need to
provide adequate, safe, and affordable water and sanitation systems to the people.
The issues are economic, social, and environmental. They were summed up by Chapter 18 of Agenda
21, which adopted seven program areas for the freshwater sector. Four of these relate directly to water
and sanitation infrastructure: drinking-water supply and sanitation, water and sustainable urban
development, protection of water resources, and water for rural development. The remaining themes also
74 Part III Case Studes
relate, because "integrated water resources development and management" must include water and
This paper takes a broad view of water supply and sanitation in the Hemisphere. It presents case studies
to illustrate how conditions vary in the Hemisphere. It concludes with an assessment of current
conditions, and suggests how the Dialogue can contribute to improving conditions in the Hemisphere by
initiating more collaboration.
Before discussing conditions in the Hemisphere, it might be well to review the general global problem
of water and sanitation infrastructure, a subject that received much attention during the International
Drinking Water and Sanitation Decade of the 1980's.
International Drinking Water and Sanitation Decade
In a 1977 paper prepared for the United Nations Water Conference, the Intermediate Technology
Development Group concluded that there were just over 1000 million people in the world's rural areas
who lacked access to a safe water supply. (Pacey, 1977). These same people lack, for the most part,
access to healthy conditions for sanitation.
As a result of these findings, and others that were just as dramatic, the United Nations (UN) proclaimed
the 1980's as the International Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Decade. The Decade was conceived
at the UN Water Conference in 1977 at Mar del Plata, Argentina, and endorsed by the General Assembly
of the UN in November 1980. The goal was to supply all of the world's population with safe drinking
water and sanitation by 1990. Suffice it to say that this goal hasn't been met; in fact, wars and other
social and economic problems made the problem worse in many areas during the 1980's.
Canemark (1989), World Bank division chief for the water supply sector, reported in 1989 that the
coverage had improved, but that the greatest achievement had been the communication, awareness and
priority-setting that had occurred to deal with the problem.
The problem of rural water and sanitation is one of the most urgent problems that the water sector faces.
It illustrates the multi-sectoral and interdisciplinary aspects of meeting basic water related needs.
Anatomy of the Problem. Dan Okun, a professor of environmental engineering with over 50 years of
experience in working on problems of water and sanitation, summarized his theories of thecauses of the
problems in urban areas in a 1991 paper to the National Research Council (Okun, 1991). The paper.was
for the Abel Wolman Distinguished Lecture, and how appropriate the topic was, given the enormous
contributions of Abel Wolman in this field, especially in the Hemisphere.
Okun reported, to his regret, that in his 50 years of work on the water and sanitation problems in urban
areas, they had gotten worse. The reasons were an inadequate supply of water in the cities attributable
to limited water resources, and/or poor facilities for treating and distributing the water compounded by
an absence of proper sewerage.
What happens is that intermittent supplies of water create opportunities for infiltration of heavily
contaminated water into the distribution systems when the pressure is off. Water-borne infectious agents r
then can reach taps, even when the water is safe as it leaves the treatment plants.
ramedncan Dialogue on Water Management
Infrastructure for both water supply and sewerage can be inadequate in the cities of developing countries,
even when the city skylines are most impressive. Wastewaters that are discharged into drainage channels
can pollute wells and the groundwater table, and really create unsanitary conditions. This is aggravated
in the fringe areas, where many poor and landless families live.
Okun's paper emphasizes the need for water resources capacity-building to create a favorable policy
dimate and appropriate institutional development which would include establishing sound management
systems, incentive structures, and the human resources development needed for sustainable development
of water-related programs.
Responding to the Decade, the US Agency for International Development organized a special project
called the Water and Sanitation for Health (WASH) project, and in 1990 reported the lessons learned (US
Agency for International Development, Lessons Learned from the WASH Project, USAID, Water and
Sanitation for Health Project, Washington, 1990).
WASH organized their lessons learned in terms of principles and lessons as follows:
Principle 1: Technical assistance is most successful when it helps people learn to do things for themselves
in the long run. Lessons were: local institution-building is the key to transferring sustainable skills;
technical assistance in water supply and sanitation requires and interdisciplinary approach, not a narrow,
specialized one; a participatory approach, facilitation not dictation, maximizes the chance for sustainable
programs and projects; coordination and collaboration are important but often depend more on
professional networking and personal relationships than on institutional and contractual relationships; and
an active information service can expand the reach of technical assistance as well as its visibility and
Principle 2: Water supply and sanitation development proceeds most effectively when its various elements
are linked at all levels. Lessons were: water supply projects do not achieve their full impact unless they
are linked first to hygiene education and then to sanitation; health benefits are the major, but not the sole,
justification for support of water and sanitation projects, such projects also have wide economic benefits;
behavioral changes combined with greater access to facilities are the basis for health benefits through
improved water supply and sanitation; and a participatory approach to planning helps ensure linkages and
cooperation in implementation.
Principle 3: The basic measure for success of both the national system for development and the
community management systems it creates is sustainability, the ability to perform effectively and
indefinitely after donor assistance has been terminated. Lessons were: successful institutional
development projects strive for comprehensiveness and wide participation; training yields the best results
when it employs participatory, experiential methods; full consideration of appropriate engineering design
and application is essential to system sustainability; making plans for operations and maintenance before
facilities are constructed and in place helps to ensure that sustainable technologies are selected; and plans
for system finance that ignore the cost of long-term operation and maintenance are inadequate.
Principle 4: Sustainable development is more likely to occur if each of the key participants recognizes
and assumes its appropriate role and shoulders its share of the responsibility. Lessons were: the national
government role is to assume primary responsibility for sector management, including planning, donor
coordination, policy reform, regulation, and institutional and financial aspects of development; the donor
role is to provide coordinated support in the context of national plans; the non-governmental organization
76 Part.ll- Case Studies
(NGO) role is most effective if it is played out in the context of national development, plans; the
community role is to own and manage the facilities constructed and to be actively involved in
decision-making in all phases of project development; and private enterprise has a definite role in water
supply and sanitation; that role is determined by the overall government strategy for the sector.
The Decade. At the time of the U.N. Water Conference in 1977, the world economy was on a relative
upswing. However, the 1980's were a time of economic and social decline. More than half of the
developing countries experienced negative economic growth, and their debt burdens increased. Levels
of investment in water and sanitation didn't keep pace with population growth or rates of urbanization.
While global water and sanitation coverage increased, in the. 1980's, it fell in some areas such as
According to Canemark, the Decade was a joint effort of the, international donor community, and it
provided lessons in six areas: advances in technology, broadening of institutional options, changing of
conventional wisdom, spotlighting the rural poor, acceptance of integrated approaches, and better agency
Technology advances focused on the development of low cost approaches. These included handpumps,
improved latrines, and related technologies.
Institutional options led to the option of village-level operation and maintenance, sort of a self-help
approach at the village level. It was learned that women can play pivotal role in successful community
management of such services. Other institutional lessons were also learned, such as in both rural and
urban areas the joint participation of public and private sectors, NGQOsand the communities themselves.
Conventional wisdom that changed focused on the adoption of more appropriate technologies, such as to
replace the thinking that full-scale piped water supply systems are always required. Also, changes in
institutional approaches and financing strategies have occurred, not always without difficulty in changing
Spotlighting the rural poor resulted in redressing the imbalance between emphasis on urban and rural
populations, and with the adoption of more appropriate technologies, has increasedawareness of the
plight of the rural poor.
Integrated approaches in water and sanitation provide links between the fields of water, wastewater, c
hygiene education and behavioral changes. o
Better agency cooperation is, of course, an extremely valuable achievement. Cooperation is said to have
increased between agencies, developing country governments, external support agencies, development.
banks, donors and NGOs,
Issues for the 90's. Canemark identified the issues in six categories, four that were carried over from
the Decade, and two new ones. The four that carried over were focus on poverty, maintaining T
momentum in rural areas, improving agency cooperation and building local capacity. The two new ones si
are water resources and improving sanitation and the urban environment.
Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management //
Poverty is an insidious cause of many social and economic problems. Water and sanitation are
fundamental support blocks for building the health, living systems and economic development of poor
areas. Every day the victims of poverty appear on television screens in richer countries. They suffer
from malnutrition, dysentery, famine, and other maladies that are mostly restricted to the poor countries.
Poverty is especially serious in rural areas which are remote and sometimes invisible to aid agencies and
Improving agency cooperation is a key to using resources better and making programs more effective.
Canemark describes a collaborative council of governments involved in the development process and
NGOs. What remains to be seen is whether this can be effective at the country level where the programs
are delivered. This is another example of the need for cooperation and coordination in the delivery of
Building local capacity is the application of self help and self reliance into the systems, absolutely critical
ingredients for long term success.
Canemark labels the two new issues, water resources and improving sanitation and the urban
environment, as "time bombs".
Water resources management is a time bomb because deteriorating water quality, limited investment in
waste management and water reuse, and rapid growth in water competition will lead to increased water
scarcity. As a result, the costs of water supply and environmental safeguards will rise dramatically. This
will lead to two serious problems: finding ways to expand water supply and waste management services
to more people in spite of higher costs, and facing pressures to reallocate water among different consumer
To investigate the policy options, Canemark suggests that we begin to assess water supplies and demands
to identify where the problems will be worst, that we evaluate different solution strategies, and find
cost-effective and equitable solutions. He believes that we should treat water as the scarce natural
resource it is, emphasize sequential reuse, and see whole systems as integrated networks of interlinked
flows including source development, conveyances, water use, return flows, treatment facilities,
conveyance to the next user, and final return to the natural system.
The water resource management issue, according to Canemark, will have serious economic and political
consequences unless we tackle it successfully. Some countries, such as Jordan will soon reach a ceiling
on water they can exploit. Others may have to restructure economies to enable them to supply mega-
cities with water. These will be serious issues for the nations to face.
On the waste management side, equally serious management strategies are needed to select the right
technologies and institutional options, to apply economic pricing strategies, to implement environmentally
sustainable management approaches.
These observations about water and sanitation problems worldwide set the stage for a discussion of the
situation in the Hemisphere.
78 Part III Case Studies
Economic and Social Conditions in the Hemisphere
Clearly, living conditions vary widely in the Hemisphere. One of the attractive goals of economic
integration is to bring conditions for all citizens to higher, sustainable levels. One of the primary
requirements for this is to provide adequate water and sanitation infrastructure.
If we could take a tour of water infrastructure in the Hemisphere, we might begin with native populations
in Alaska or the northern regions of Canada. There, sustainable infrastructure is a public health issue,
but population densities are not great. Further down, we reach Canada and the United States, two nations
with wide diversity of conditions. In these nations, extensive water and wastewater infrastructure has
been installed in cities, but they face problems of decay, high cost, meeting regulatory requirements, and
maintaining standards in the face of growth and economic conditions. In the small towns and rural
regions of these nations, one finds the "small system problem": a struggle to provide service and meet
regulatory rules without adequate financing, infrastructure, or trained personnel.
At the border between the United States and Mexico, we begin to encounter transboundary conditions.
These conditions are especially noticeable in today's focus on the North American Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA), and equalizing environmental conditions, including standards for water and sanitation, is a
high priority. Mexico, a rapidly growing and developing nation, faces problems that are typical of other
Latin American nations: how to meet the pressures of rapid growth in cities and rural areas with
appropriate, but still expensive water and sanitation infrastructure?
Central America and many South American nations face great diversity in geography, ethnicity, social
conditions, and natural resources. Like Mexico, and rural parts of the US and Canada, they are
challenged with providing basic water and sanitation to dispersed populations, and with meeting the
immense needs of super cities with rapid urbanization. A good example of a super city is Sao Paulo, a
city we will discuss later.
As we travel toward Argentina and Chile, we encounter in some ways the mirror image of Canada and
the U.S. While conditions vary, the same combination of cities and rural regions gives way to colder
regions with sparse populations. As we complete our trip we realize what a kaleidoscope the cultures
and peoples of the Hemisphere make up, and how varied are the challenges facing our different water
Water and Sanitation Systems in the Hemisphere
As do social and environmental conditions, access to modern water and sanitation systems varies widely
in the Hemisphere. Nations and regional assistance organizations are aware of and are seeking solutions
to the problems, but are hindered by inadequate finances and a variety of other problems which are
illustrated by the case studies.
Although the problems in Latin America are formidable, a great deal of progress has -been made since
about 1959 when the Inter-American Bank was organized. In fact, the Bank's first loan was to expand
a water supply and sewerage system in Peru (Inter-American Development Bank, 1992).
Although a great deal of progress has been made, problems continue to increase due to population
growth, urbanization, and industrialization. Although the percentage of people served has increased, the
Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management /"
total number without service has actually increased. Another problem is that because safe drinking water
is so important and has received priority, sewage systems have been neglected, at the expense of basic
sanitation. An estimated 90% of all sewage in the region is still dumped untreated, and adversely affects
Local populations, especially in urban fringe areas with large, impoverished populations.
While attention to the problems has intensified, investment has not. The 1980's were designated the
International Drinking Water and Sanitation Decade, but it turned out that this decade also introduced the
worse economic crisis of the century in Latin America. A worldwide economic problem also reduced
aid to developing nations.
Unfortunately, in Latin America, a significant proportion of all disease is still attributed to polluted
drinking water and untreated sewage, and water-related diarrheal diseases continue as the leading cause
;of infant mortality in many countries.
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has recently published a regional investment plan for
the environment and health. This plan, along with other national and international strategies, constitutes
a good base for understanding the problems; and what is now needed is more commitment and
collaboration to follow though with the plans (Pan American Health Organization, 1992).
In the wealthier nations, water and wastewater problems are also severe, but the proportion of citizens
with access to adequate service is much higher. For example, in the US, safe drinking water is available
to almost 100% of the population, and water quality problems have shifted from sewage treatment to non-
point sources. These are still significant problems, and financial capacities remain a cause of concern,
but at least basic problems have been solved. However, the ability of the US to maintain levels of service
is in question due to financial capacity, the strain of new regulations, decaying infrastructure, and social
problems caused by, among other things, high rates of immigration.
Management Framework for Water and Sanitation
Regardless of their economic and social contexts, water supply and sanitation systems have similar
objectives. They must deliver adequate supplies of safe water to domestic and commercial users, collect
wastewater, and return it in safe condition to the environment.
To meet these goals, systems range from the simplest to the most complex. In an attempt to provide a
framework for comparison of the systems, a graduate student at Colorado State University developed a
paradigm to show that levels of service and management efficiency are determined by the physical and
social environments of systems, and by technologies, institutions, and financial capability (Triweko,
Physical and social environments deal with the diversity of geographic, economic, political and ethnic
situations found in the Hemisphere. Technologies range from sophisticated water treatment and delivery
systems, to the simplest systems found in some rural areas. Institutions include laws, management
agencies, and administrative systems. Financial capabilities are the result of external and internal
economic forces. Levels of service that result impact directly on the health, welfare, and economic
capability of the people.
80 Prt II Case Studies
The institutional environment of witer industries involves service orani ~iBios, regulators, government
planners and coordinators and support organizations. These are found in unique forms ii each country
and their effectiveness varies. Technologies and financial practices depend somewhat on the institutional
environment, but generic issues are remarkably similar from jlace to place.
While this framework to explain water and sanitation systems is quite general, it serves as a "model" to
compare systems and to identify issues in the case studies.
Case Studies of Water and Sanitation Systems
The case studies are presented to illustrate the variation ii the Hemisphere. They do not cover all
countries in the Hemisphere, but they do cover a ratige of conditions that illustrates some of the main
issues that could be addressed by the Dialogue.
Case Study 1: United States of America, City of Denver, Colorado
The first case is in the United States, a nation of over 250 million people with a complex water industry
characterized by service agencies, regulators, support organizations, and planning agencies. The specific
case is the metropolitan region of Denver, Colorado.
Water supply and wastewater agencies are normally city departments, private companies or special
purpose districts. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there were as of 1983, some
58,700 "community water systems", with 11,000 on surface water and 47,700 on groundwater. Another a
158,100 "non-community systems" serve transients and customers anid are regulated for water qtiality by p
EPA programs (Wade Miller, 1987). No comparable census is available for sewerage systems, but there c
are about 30,000 identifiable treatment plants, and probably on the order of 50,000 independent collection
systems. The largest number of water supply and wastewater utilities are small, with limited financial 7
and technical capacity, but many utilities have impressive capabilities. The industry is highly regulated si
for health and environment criteria, but not much by financial agencies. g.
The main regulatory programs are the Safe Drinking Water Act, first passed in 1974, and the Clean cA
Water Act, first passed in 1972. These laws place stringent standards on water for drinking and water de
returned to streams, but neither subsidizes services. Under the Clean Water Act, the US provided about
$45 billion in capital subsidies for waste treatment plants from about 1972 to 1985, but the program has A
ended, and now the nation faces high maintenance and renewal costs. pa
Denver's water supply system. Denver's growth in a semi-arid region was made possible by its water gr
supply. The water supply system began about 1859 when the city was a mining camp (Cox, 1967). th;
From 1859 to. 1872 residents relied on .individual supplies from private wells or streams. A private di
Denver City Water Company served surface supplies from 1872 to 1878, but by the 1880's several en
private water companies were competing, and they were all consolidated into the Denver Union Water pri
Company in 1894, the predecessor of the present Denver Water Board (DWB). It built Cieestman Dam iml
in 1905, still part of the system. The next forty years saw tremendous growth in Denver's water system. a r
In 1936 the Moffat Tunnel was completed bringing into reality the dream of bringing west slope water enc
to Denver. inf
nteramerican Dialogue on Water Management 6r
A proliferation of suburban water agencies began in 1948 when the DWB raised rates. The 1950's
drought tested the systems of Denver and the suburbs, and by the early 1960's Denver had completed
SDillon Reservoir which holds 254,000 acre-feet. In the 1960's several projects were launched, just before
environmental activism began to increase. By the 1970's, environmental opposition to DWB policies had
forced a conservation program, agreements to release instream flows, and a citizen's advisory committee.
Part of the environmental concerns of the 1970's was that Denver sought a new surge of growth. This
concern led to the Two Forks controversy, probably the most significant water supply battle in the US
during the 1980's (Milliken, 1989).
Two Forks was being studied by the DWD's predecessors as early as the 1890's. Denver filed on water
rights for the area in 1931. However, it was only in 1982 that 40-odd suburban governments and water
districts united to form the Metropolitan Water Providers and to join Denver in the Two Forks Project.
In 1986 the DWD filed for a permit to build the Two Forks Dam.
A systemwide environmental impact statement (EIS) was already being prepared by the Corps of
Engineers. In 1988 the Corps issued the EIS. In June 1988, after an extensive period of study,
Colorado's Governor Roy Romer recommended to the Corps to approve the permit, with a 25-year shelf
life. In January of 1989 the Corps announced its intent to permit the dam, but in March 1989, the new
EPA Administrator, William Reilly, announced his intention to veto the permit, and it was officially
vetoed a year later.
Several aspects of the controversy are noteworthy. The Western Governor's Association identified the
following issues for discussion: conflict between traditional water development interests and the
environmental community; the existence of reasonable and practicable alternatives within the 404 process;
and the forum for decision making which involved municipal water providers with the means to build the
project, federal regulatory agencies with the means to permit or deny it, and only a roundtable to
coordinate the actions (Western Governor's Association, 1991).
The Two Forks controversy has national implications; it is not just a local water skirmish. Let's look at
some things that have happened right after Two Forks. First, there are new organizational initiatives
going on. A Front Range Water Authority and a Metropolitan Water Authority have been organized, the
City of Thornton announced a "City-Farm Program", there were meetings of the "Group of 10", a metro
cooperation group that included water supply in its aims, and there are new, statewide initiatives. Private
developers have announced numerous proposals for new projects.
.A state view of the situation was presented by Governor Roy Romer (1993). Romer noted that in the
past few years the state had invested millions of dollars in planning for water projects that had not come
about. He said we must "blow the whistle on what has become an unacceptable level of administrative
gridlock, litigation, expense and delay whenever water development or transfers are proposed." He said
that after Two Forks water supply planning in the metro Front Range had proceeded piecemeal, with little
direction or momentum. He stated that the water wars have focused attention on potential economic and
environmental impacts of water transfers. He identified issues of statewide concern: waste of public and
private funds; environmental consequences, extensive lead time required to produce new supplies; and
impact on future development in other parts of the state. He suggested new directions and alternatives:
a regional water coordinating organization led by the state; state incentives such as loans or grants to
encourage cooperation; state water project; cooperation with agricultural water users; and enhanced
information and decision support systems by state agencies.
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Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management a6
Clearly, many things are still to develop in the wake of Two Forks. The Denver Water Department
(DWD) decided not to file suit over the permit veto, and DWD engineers have stated that they learned
several things from the affair. One lesson was that they could not think just about their problems; they
had to also consider their neighbors. Another lesson is that in water supply planning, they had to study
Denver Wastewater Management
Denver's wastewater system. In the Denver region, local water supply and wastewater are provided by
numerous different organizations, and a regional organization provides large scale wastewater treatment
and disposal. The map shows the general situation.
The wastewater systems grew gradually. Denver built its first sewer in 1881. By the late 1950's 45
different agencies in the region were collecting and disposing of wastewater, and there were 21 treatment
plants, mostly small and overloaded. In 1960, enabling state legislation was passed, and in 1961, 13
communities joined to create the Metropolitan Denver Sewage Disposal District No. 1. The District's
plant has evolved since it began to operate in 1966, and the District was renamed the Metro Wastewater
Reclamation District in 1990. Today, it treats about 150 million gallons of wastewater daily and serves
about 1.2 million people in the region.
Conclusions from the Denver case. The Denver case is a snapshot of large city water supply and
sanitation systems in the US. The nation has completed two decades since Earth Day 1970, and generally
is supplying safe and affordable water and sanitation to its population, but faces problems of cost,
capacity, and struggles over social and political issues.
During the past decade, the major water issue in the Denver area has been the struggle over a new
supply. In addition, the region faces significant questions of water policy. Wastewater issues have
generally been less controversial, but the city faces regulatory burdens and cost increases (Grigg, 1986).
In the US, on the water supply side, the main issues are supply adequacy and the safety of drinking
water. Severe drought and growth problems have been faced in the last few years. Environmentalism
has stopped water supply development in some places. The seven-year California drought illustrated the
magnitude of some of the problems.
On the water quality side, the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act are both up for
reauthorization this year. An extensive study effort called Water Quality 2000 has just been completed.
It recommended programs in preventing pollution, controlling runoff from urban and rural lands, focusing
on toxic constituents, protecting aquatic ecosystems, coping with multi-media pollution, protecting
groundwater, increasing scientific understanding of water quality issues, promoting wise use of resources,
setting priorities, providing safe drinking water, managing growth and development, and financing water
In the political arena, problems to be faced include: local-state-federal relations; roles of state
governments in forcing regionalization and consolidation of small entities; financial allocations; and
struggles over values of environmentalism versus development.
Wastewater problems in the region seem politically less daunting than water supply issues, but financial
implications of the Clean Water Act are worrisome. While this conclusion will apply to parts of the US,
the nation is too large and diverse to generalize about these issues.
METROPOLITAN DENVER WATER SYSTEM
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62 -mkc ^ :-, a
Interametican Dialogue on Water Management as
Case Study 2: Venezuela, City of Merida
Much smaller than the United States, Venezuela took a more centralized approach to water and sanitation
infrastructure development and management. In 1943, the Venezuelan government created the National
Institute of Sanitation Works (INOS). According to its original charter, INOS was responsible for
providing water supply and wastewater collection for all the country. This included every aspect of
public water service, from the construction of big dams, to the laydown of water distribution networks,
to the collection and treatment of water and wastewater, to the billing for water and sewage service. As
time passed, INOS gave attention to construction of large water works and neglected rehabilitation,
management, and operation of systems and customer services. For more than 40 years, Venezuela's
water needs outgrew INOS' capacity to serve its mandate and became one of the largest bureaucracies
in the country. Its uncontrolled growth also became one of the largest deficits in the budget. On top of
its deficitary problems, union activity became a factor of the operation of INOS while complaints
multiplied and the water infrastructure aged without proper operation and maintenance. Lack of planning
was evident, with too much crisis management. In recent years, lack of planning was evident, and crisis
management occupied most of the agency management efforts.
In lieu of this sequence of events, the Venezuelan government embarked into a national economic
program that includes the reorganization of the water sector at the national, regional, state, and local
levels. The objective of this reorganization is to develop a structure that would provide better quality,
more coverage, and to achieve financial and administrative health. The specific objectives are: to
decentralize service by creating autonomous water companies at regional levels; to reach financial self
sufficiency and to equalize the financial operations of the regional companies; and to strengthen
institutional aspects of the planning and management of the water systems. This reorganization is the
result of a group of recommendations made by prominent policy makers from Venezuela and abroad and
which are contained in the VIII National Plan of 1989.
By 1990, the Ministry of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (MARNR), acting on behalf
of the Venezuelan government, signed an agreement with international financing institutions, such as The
World Bank (WB) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), in order to scale down INOS' role
in the water sector to the construction and maintenance of large waterworks such as dams and reservoirs.
The remaining operational and maintenance activities are being decentralized, regionalized and handed
over to municipalities, private companies, and/or a combination of both.
By 1991, the Venezuelan Congress passed a bill to shift responsibility of water service to local
governments or municipalities. In the meantime, INOS will continue to provide service to urban areas
through provisional agreements with the municipalities until the phasing down is completed. Likewise,
the Ministry of Health and Social Assistance (MSAS) will continue to provide water service in rural
towns with populations below 1000 while regulating health guidelines in those areas.
As part of this reorganization effort, MARNR created a new institutional structure that will place
operational and maintenance decisions closer to water problem occurrences. Thus, a regional structure
would seek the objectives of decentralizing the service, provide better service and higher quality, increase
the coverage while achieving financial self-support and efficiency. This structure is headed by a national
water company, C.A. Hidrol6gica Venezolana (HIDROVEN), which is charged with the setting of policy
and offering of major technical support to ten "Empresas Hidrol6gicas" or regional water companies,
commonly known as "Hidros". In the long term, HIDROVEN will not have operating functions and the
regional companies will be free to sign contracts with private companies to perform specific tasks.
86 Part III Case Studies
One of these regional water companies is C.A. Hidrol6gica de los Andes (HIDROANDES), which
oversees the operation, maintenance, and management of water systems in the andean states of M6rida
and Trujillo in southwestern Venezuela. This region has a combined population of approximately 1.3
million inhabitants. In theory, HIDROANDES will oversee smaller local water companies operated
independently by municipalities, private companies, or a combination of both.
Access to loans from World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and International Monetary Fund
(IMF) are conditioned on the achievement of the objectives outlined above. There are deadlines for some
specific goals, as for example, the laying off of workers of the old institution (INOS), the time at which
HIDROVEN has to be operating at total capacity and the regional water companies or "Hidros" should
be self sufficient financially.
In the long run, it is expected that:
1 The city councils will assume total responsibility for the oversight of the services through
independent companies called "operators".
2. The operators can utilize public, private or mixed capital, they will be in charge of service to
consumers, and have responsibility for the operation, management, rehabilitation and enlargement
of the structures. The Empresas Hidrol6gicas will be free to contract out work and to select
3. The revenues should be enough to cover all expenses and investments for future expansion.
4. The "Hidros" will promote the participation of the city councils in the management of the water
supply services and the creatidh of the "operator companies" iitil they are ready to take control.
In the meantime, these Empresas should take charge of the functions of both the operators and
the city councils.
5. A legal and regulatory framework will be established for the setting of Water prices and
establishing conditions of the service.
Merida's water supply system. The city of Mdrida is located at one end of the Andes Cordillera, at 1650
meters of elevation, surrounded by light snow capped mountains. The weather is mild during the whole
year (mean annual temperature is 18.5 OC; average annual precipitation, 1650 mm). It is one of the maih
tourist attractions of the country. The city has a very well defined metropolitan area, shaped by the
valley of the Rio Chama and is growing with new developments in a path that follows the rivet.
HIDROANDES, M6rida's new water supply company, is trying now to overcome some of the problems
inherited from INOS and to reach the goals set by the restructuring of Venezuela's water supply system.
At the present time, the e~ipalry has 141,'55 clients in the metropolitan zone, billing practically a 100%
of them, but that does not mean that all of them pay their bills. For example, from HIDROANDES
reports, for the residential use only 62% of the customers actually pay, for the commercial use only 85%
pay for the service, and for industrial use 100% pay the service.
A new nationwide fare was officially approved last year, with nine different rates, depending on the city
and the amiourt of water used (see Figure). Mdrida's fare should be calculated by using rate no. 4, but
this has not been approved by the council. The company is presently using rate no. 1, with lower prices,
__i _~_____1~ 1_1__1_
hteramerican Dialogue on Water Management a/
expecting to sensitize the people to charges, and to improve efficiency in the hope that a rate increase will
be accepted later.
The water supply system covers all the city with no significant problems of raw water availability. The
conflict occurs in the central city, where the pipes are old and were not constructed following the original
designn. Diameters of installed pipes are smaller than specified in the original project, and no one knows
Abe actual layout of the network. At the same time, the city has experienced rapid growth near
'downtown, mainly because of the closeness with the University of Los Andes main campus. This growth
was not anticipated and has created a situation where some zones sometimes do not reach water due to
operational problems. Some of these problems could be reduced if trained and experienced personnel
To alleviate this situation, new systems are being constructed to serve zones that are not close to
downtown and to provide more flexibility for the operation of the old network. Also, new pipes are
planned to replace old ones, and studies are in progress to determine the layout of the real network.
The operation of the system is run by HIDROANDES, and maintenance is contracted to private
companies under direct inspection by the Empresa Hidrol6gica. From recent studies, the amount of water
used in the city varies between 300 and 800 liter/person/day (lpd), which is extremely high in general,
and more so for a city like Merida. In Venezuela, there exist no measures to reduce or control the use
of water from a demand standpoint, and in M6rida state the zones with higher water uses are those with
greater economic levels. The average rate of water use in Venezuela is 440 lpd, one of the highest in
Latin America. The consumption of water is even higher in the capital city, Merida. This waste of water
compels HIDROANDES.to look for additional and more expensive sources of water in the future, but
at the present does not seem to cause any major problems.
The City of M6rida has a well-designed treatment plant, but lacks sufficient trained personnel.
HIDROANDES will have to either pay competitive salaries to hire skilled technicians or invest to prepare
their own personnel.
Merida's wastewater system. The system of collection of wastewater is separated in the whole city, but
the county is in charge of the stormwater system and HIDROANDES of the sewerage system. The
problem occurs when the county, without contacting HIDROANDES, connects a rainwater conduit to a
sewerage one, creating local flooding during intense rainstorms because of the lack of capacity of the
sewerage network. The slope of the city, however, helps to avoid larger problems. Around 85% of the
city is covered with sewer systems and part of the other 15% is in zones located outside of the city,
usually with pit latrines.
The Venezuelan Government has set goals to provide water supply and sewerage service to every city.
In general, the water supply goal has been accomplished, but the service must be improved. Sewer
coverage goals have not been reached in the whole country, lacking in some small towns, but is on the
way. With respect to wastewater, interest in the quality of the environment has not reached the needed
In 1991 the Ministry of Environment regulated the quality of the waters to be disposed of in any water
body. Basically the regulations follows the ones developed by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA). However, cities are not complying with the law though some private and government industries
are taking measures to avoid penalties. There is not a sense of urgency to care for water bodies. While
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Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management 89
Water Prices for domestic use
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Water Prices vs Volum.
Ca0M Sudy 3: BAzil, tCfty of So Paulo
Brazil, a vast nation with similarities to both the United States and to Venezuela, also faces a wide
diversity of problems related to water and wastewater infrstriseture.
Brazil has a large population and is divided into states like the USA, but due to its still-developing status,
depends more on central direction and investment than the USA. According to The World Bank, Brazil's
1991 population was 151 million, with a growth rate of 2.2%, in contrast to the 252 million in the USA
(0.9% growth rate) and Venezuela's 20 million and 2.7% growth rate (World Bank, 25th AnniVirsiry
Brazil's water supply systems cover about 88% of the population, ip from about 45% in 1970. Still,
there are some 13 million citizens in urban centers without water supply systems. Some 46% of iiral
residents lack access to water of good quality. Problems of sewage disposal are relatively iiire severe,
with some 73 million Brazilians (65% of the urban inhabitants) lacking access tb adequate wastewater
infrastructure. Only 10% of the country's sewage receives adequate treatment, with 90% being
discharged untreated into the nation's waterways. This results in both inconvenient living and
contamination of water, with cojitainitidii biiig picially s&evee in the large urban
Data from the United tkatiodns (1991), Biazil discharges 95% of its urban sewage without treatment into
water bodies closest to where the sewage is genefited, i sitiiation not different from developiiig countries.
Brazil faces different problems in each of the sanitation sectors, water, wastewater, Solid Wastis and
drainage. Problems include 6~cftsive cifdraiztiodi, and litfie Vfti itioii of states i-id iliifitcipalitfle
in setting priorities. Imbalance and infi (iiy are major p fbletis. On t i One haid, sta& companies are
responsible for services to about 3000 municipalities, but there is a problem preventing the extension of
services to the poorest citizens. Inefficiencies are a major worry. These include management
inefficiency, unaccounted-for-water losses, and inadequate technologies.
The spillover of problems in the sanitation sector afflcts Brazil's most basic social problems: quality of
life fto the general population, low-income popuilatiois, aid infati health, and it pfiortds future misery
unless the problems cei be fixed. BAiRfl is qrite concerted about its public health f ileiis, especially
those related to the water and sanitation seio. They sei cities and rural areas as being qitei vuleriale
to problems of water-borne disease, infant mortality, dysentery, and general problems of low income
populations. Especially vulnerable are the favekas in large cities where large and poor populations are
In 1989, some 26 state companies provided water supply to 78 million citizens, with municipal services
providing supply to another 22 million. the per capital use was about 250 Ipd, and oidfss were 30-40%
of he water production. he nation recognizes, due to thee statistics, ti t8eed to modernize the sector,
as well as to invest in new facilities.
Brazil recognizes the critical issues involved in the water and sanitation sectors, and is studying ways to
reembodied the problems. A conference was held in Brasilia from 26-28 May, 1993 to discuss strategies
(Cofifereicia Sobre Esitategias em Saneainento Meio AMibttr e e Saude) and the piobleit are documented
on a national scale (As Deficiencias de Saneamento Bra4sil, e as Consequencis para Saiie Publica,
0 Meio Ambiente e 0 Desenwiltmento Economica e Social, unph lisiied). Brazil's Secretary of
-art /if cose stldr'es
Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management &7
Planning, Budgeting and Coordination completed a national study of basic sanitation in 1989, including
water supply, sewerage, and solid waste management (Secretarial de Planejamento, Orcamento e
Coordenapao, FundapOo Instituto Brasileiro de Geografla e Estatfstica, Pesquisa Nacional de Saneamento
Institutional problems in Brazil include excessive centralization of decisions and little participation of
states and municipalities in defining priorities. The inability of the system to provide services to the
poorest populations is a serious indicator. Financing system operation and improvements will be a
With its tremendous size and diversity, Brazil has numerous regional issues to deal with, much as the US
does. Its largest city, Slo Paulo, illustrates the scale of the problems it faces.
City of Sao Paulo's investment program. Sao Paulo plans to undertake through the Sao Paulo State Basic
Sanitation Authority a $3-4 billion program to solve sanitation problems in the metropolitan area, while
in other parts of the nation rural and urban fringe areas face immense problems of basic sanitation for
a rapidly growing population.
Sao Paulo's forthcoming effort to solve sanitation problems will focus on cleaning up the Tiete River,
a heavily polluted waterway that drains the city (Sio Paulo to Launch Massive River Cleanup, The IDB,
December 1992). Some 20 million people live in this river basin, illustrating the massive scale of the
environmental issued faced there. As is true in other parts of Latin America, public spending has favored
water supply over wastewater, and sewage treatment and stream pollution have paid the price.
The financing program, said to be the IDB's largest financing ever at $450 million, will expand the city's
sewerage system to serve an additional 1.5 million people, most of them poor. Two new plants will be
built, and the proportion of water treated will rise from 19 to 45 % by 1995. Also included will be
training and institutional strengthening benefits. The Sao Paulo state agency responsible for pollution
control will gain the capability to monitor 1250 industries that are responsible for 90% of the area's
industrial pollution, and management capabilities to maintain the plants and to improve financial
In addition to the Tiete River project, other IDB-financed projects include sanitation projects valued at
more than $1.5 billion in Sao Paulo State, and a nationwide sanitation program being carried out with
$350 million in financing to benefit other municipalities.
In summary, Brazil faces tremendous challenges in the water and sanitation sector. Its large population
and rapid growth rate challenge the public and private sectors to provide the institutional infrastructure
and the financing to provide needed infrastructure services. Unless problems of the sector can be solved,
the implications for public health and quality of life in both urban and rural areas are extremely
92 Part ilI Casetdfies
Analysis of Case StudiA
The case studies illustrate only a few of the Hemisphere's water and sanitation issues. Although they
vary Widely, they can be compared by physical and social environMents, technologies, institutions,
financial capacities, levels of service, and management efficiencies.
Physical and social environments vary widely, not only north to south, but also within countries. The
United States, Venezuela, and Brazil deal with issues ranging from highly urbanized to completely rural.
The intensity of the problems differs from socioeconomic factors such as population growth rate and
The Hemisphere is experiencing high levels of migration, and inter-regional flows of trade, technologies,
financing, and expertise. Economic integration may be a key to solving some of the disparities between
regions and nations, both inside of large nations and from nation to nation. Regardless of future progress
in equalizing physical and social environments, the wide disparity of access to safe drinking water and
adequate sanitation services is a serious problem needing attention in the Hemisphere.
Technologies also vary widely from region to region, not so much because of technological barriers, but
because of lack of access to capital. This is a world-wide problem. The support base of the world's
water industry includes international consulting firms, contractors and equipment suppliers who are ready
to bring the latest technologies when frliding is adequate.
The issue of appropriate technologies is germane to the discussion of equalizing services, because many
of the basic technologies needed for water supply and sanitation are not necessarily expensive, but they
do require training, expertise ani at least a local manufacturing and iianagemet cap*cit.
Management institutions in the Hemisphere vary across the spectrum ftom purely public to purely private.
In the Venezuelan and Brazilian cases, limitations of public authorities are made clear, and the United
States is also aware of these limitations, and has given attention to privatization in the water and sanitation
sectors. Institutional factors are, no doubt, the most important in equalizing water and sanitation services
in the Hemisphere.
Financial capacities consttain national capabilities to invest in each country. External aird iiernal debt
structures are such that borrowing will be limited, and he ability of central governi~dits to subsidize
regional problems is also quite limited. Improving planning, efficiency and local attention to problems
is a critical issue, as is developing effective institutions to address problems without &iassive financial
Perhaps the greatest disparity in levels of service is the gap between those who have service and those
who lack it. This is made clear in the Brazil case study which provided naiiofal data on the pe#cAtges
of citizens who still lack access to safe dritiking water and sanitation. This fe ina s a worldwide problem,
as evidenced by the data from the International Drinking Water and Sanitation Decade.
Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management 93
With high rates of growth, migration, and urbanization, every nation in the Hemisphere faces challenges
in basic education, governance, training, and institution-building. These problems result in problems with
Management efficiency in water agencies. Perhaps this is most evident in two symptoms: the small water
system problem of the US, mirrored in the rural problems throughout the Hemisphere, and in the inability
of large, state-owned companies to provide access to services throughout Latin America. Improving
Management efficiency is, in the final analysis, another serious institutional problem for all nations.
In the final analysis, there is little generic difference in the problems faced by the nations in the
Hemisphere. As shown by the case studies, they include administrative and budget problems,
infrastructure issues, inadequate training of personnel, inadequate mapping and information, treatment
plants that may have good technology but need improved operation, high levels of needed investments,
political problems such as technical decisions being overruled for political reasons, inadequate charging
systems, and general financial problems.
Collaboration to Improve Water and Wastewater Infrastructure
The full range of water and wastewater problems facing the nations of the Hemisphere is too large to
address here. However, let us summarize a few from the case studies to focus on how we might all
benefit from collaboration:
Access. Disparity in access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation services, and in levels
of service, need attention throughout the Hemisphere. This is a worldwide problem as
evidenced by the International Drinking Water and Sanitation Decade.
Technology. Modern technologies are not available to those nations and regions lacking investment
capital. Appropriate technologies offer help, but they require training, expertise, and
Management. Improving management efficiency, especially at local levels, is a critical issue. One of
the most urgent issues is obtaining qualified and trained personnel.
Finance. All nations in the Hemisphere are struggling with issues related to financial capacity. As
economic integration proceeds, ways are needed to upgrade and equalize water and
sanitation as a basic issue in trade and political cooperation.
Institutions. In all nations, institutional factors are the most important in upgrading and equalizing
water and sanitation services.
How can the water and sanitation sectors in nations and institutions in the Hemisphere collaborate to
improve our joint approaches to solving these problems?
Possible areas of collaboration include technology transfer, improving access to information and
innovations, and formation of alliances. This might be facilitated by mechanisms of cooperation such as
a collaborative network of research and training institutes.
Such a network might be linked to water management agencies with the interest and capability to share
training and experiences. It could promote water supply and sanitation education and technology
94 Part W cse Studes
exchange, and would coordinate with existing networks, such as AIDIS (Asociacidn Interamericana de
Ingenierfa Sanitaria y Ambiental) and others such as national 'od international water supply and
A network could organize a clearing house for cooperation in training and the exchange of educational
materials. It could link up with existing assistance organizations and associations to organize regional
meetings and periodic international congresses. Also, it might work with financing organizations to
develop packages of self-study materials for water and sanitation officials.
While there is a wide variety in the nature of the problems faced at local levels, there certainly exists a
potential to help each other solve problems in the Hmisphere through cooperation and sharing of
experiences and knowledge.
Interamerican Dialogue on Water Management 95
Apogee Research Inc., The Nation's Public Works: Report on Wastewater Management, National Council
on Public Works Improvement, Washington, May 1987.
As Deficiencias de Saneamento no Brasil, e as Consequencis para a Saude Publica, 0 Meio Ambiente
e 0 Desenvolvimento Econ6mica e Social, unpublished.
Canemark, Curt, The Decade and After: Lessons from the 80's for the 90's and Beyond, World Water
89, London, November 14, 1989.
Cox, James L., Metropolitan Water Supply: the Denver Experience, Bureau of Governmental Research j
and Service, University of Colorado, Boulder, 1967.
Gaceta Oficial de la Repiblica de Venezuela, Resoluci6n No. 111 del 4 de Octubre de 1991, Caracas,
published October 10, 1991.
Grigg, Neil S., Urban Water Management, John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1986.
HIDROANDES, Actividades de HIDROANDES, 1992, Asemblea Anual Ordinaria, Merida, 1993.
HIDROANDES, Stntesis de actividades cumplidas en el afto 1992, Zona Metropolitana de Mdrida,
Inter-American Development Bank, Water and Sanitation, June 1992.
Milliken, J. Gordon, Water Management Issues in the Denver, Colorado, Urban Area, in Water and Arid
Lands of the Western United States, ed. Mohamed T. El-Ashry and Diana C. Gibbons, Cambridge
University Press, Cambridge, 1989.
Okun, Daniel A., Meeting the Need For Water and Sanitation For Urban Populations, The Abel Wolman
Distinguished Lecture, National Research Council, May 1991, Washington.
Pacey, Arnold, ed., Water for the Thousand Millions, Pergamon Press, Oxford, 1977.
Pan American Health Organization, Piano Regional de Investimento em Meio Ambiente e Saude:
Antecedentes, Estrategias, Fondo de Pre-Investimento, Setembro, 1992
Romer, Roy, The Role for the State of Colorado on Front Range Water Challenges, 1993 Colorado Water
Convention, January 4, 1993.
Secretarial de Planejamento, Orcamento e CoordenaqCo, Fundaio Instituto Brasileiro de Geograffa e
Estatfstica, Pesquisa Nacional de Saneamento Basico, 1989.
Triweko, Robertus, A Paradigmfor Water Supply Development in Urban Areas of Developing Countries,
Ph.D. dissertation, Colorado State University, 1992.
96 Aert f1 Case Stubes
United Nations, Global Consukaion on Safe Woar and Smimoajoir thde IPIs. Noew Plthi, 199'1
Wade Miller Inc., The Nation's Public Works: Report on Water Supply, National Cowu l on Public
Works Improvement, Washingto, May 1987.
Western Governor's Association, The Two Forks Project, prepared for a 1991 confen e, Denver.
World Bank, World Bank Atlas, 25th Anniversary Edition.
Principal contributors to this case study paper are:
Neil S. Grigg, Professor and Head, Department of Civil Engineering, Colorado State Univrsity, Fort
Collins, Colorado 80523, USA.
Tomas A. Bandes, Director, and Eng. AngelaHeiao, Centro Interamericano de Investigaci6n Ambiental
y Territorial (CIDIAT), Apartado 219, Merida, Veni.uela.
(Special acknowledgeents to HIDROANDES aqd specially to Eng. Saa Morales).
Alberto J. Palombo, Project Manager, Interamerican Dialpgue on Water ManaPent, South Florida
Water Management District, 1509 Red Piae Trail, West Paln Beach, Florida 33414, USA.
Rubem Porto, Director, Fundacio Centro Tecuologieo Hidr plia, Av. Prof. Lucio Marnis Roduriues,
120, 005508-900, Sio Paulo, Brasil.
(Special acknowledgements to the Asociaio Brasileira de Recursos Hfdricos).
'art IV Plenary Presentations and
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ateramerican Dialogue on Water Management 99
Text of Keynote Address by the Honorable
Former President of Costa Rica
The contemporary world is in debate over the consumption-conservation alternative.
Developed countries have destroyed their natural resources and this is the price they have paid to achieve
what we commonly know as "wealth." The operation of the industrial complex continues to damage what little
green space is left in the rich countries. Pollution is further exacerbated by automobiles and enormous urban
The damage suffered by our Planet intensifies and the dangers of the hole in the ozone layer and the
' greenhouse effect are common knowledge, just to mention only two examples.
S The wealthy nations continue their harmful practices without curtailing their exorbitant resource
consumption, which is well above the per capital average of the world. They refuse to regulate or change their
customs and their waste. However, the dangers of a polluted environment grows everyday and the popular
conscience in those rich and developed nations gives warning as to what is happening.
The curious part of the issue is that rich countries see the speck of dust in the others' eye but overlook the
leg in their own. The ecologists tend to point to the destruction of natural resources in the developing world as the
sole cause of global environmental evils. Although experts acknowledge that contamination is contributed by the
rich world, they specialize in blaming poorer nations for the difficulties that are now beginning to preoccupy them.
They point fingers at others before "restraining themselves" and massively reducing the problems caused by their
One of the subjects of their preoccupation is the voracious destruction of tropical rain forests. The fact
that poor countries are following the model of growth that the industrialized nations have followed for centuries is
ignored. The international financial institutions make the poor nations "adjust themselves" to formulas that will
permit them to live according to the practices in force in the rich world. The "foreign investment" -- among other
things -- is oriented towards the use and abuse of natural resources in developing countries, who accept these
practices in order to obtain the degree of growth and development that would allow them to be more equal with the
Today's contemporary civilization has instilled the belief that to be rich is to have money. There are
relatively few who think that true wealth is represented today by the Earth's green resources, which are capable of
contributing to the absorption of carbon dioxide (CO2 that contaminates the air; to maintain the temperature at
normal levels; and to give oxygen (02) to all living creatures.
The rulers and the people of the poor nations ignore the fact that they are owners of real wealth (natural
resources), whose existence and benefits freely provide all the inhabitants of the earth, including, of course, the
owners of money (volatile wealth). The poor nations also ignore the fact that the rich countries are adopting a
conscience which requires a conservationism that they refuse to practice, but which increases their responsibility
towards our poor world.
For centuries, the zeal for conquest and dominion of the strong over the weak has been to obtain volatile
wealth. We might then conclude that control over territories could prove threatening to those who are considered
guilty of the destruction of natural resources -- our true wealth -- which affects the survival of the entire human
I P.O. Box 247-1250, San Jos6, Costa Rica.