National Water Plan: A plan built with the people

In 2017, Uruguay launched its first National Water Plan, which represents a political and technical instrument that will regulate integrated and sustainable water management for the next 15 years. The plan includes commitments by public agencies and private entities and portrays the society’s expectations through concrete goals and action lines. It also lays down general guidelines to support the development of regional and local plans.

The National Water Plan is organized in three main streams: water for sustainable development, access to water and sanitation as a human right, and drought and flood risk management. It includes a complete assessment of water resources, including future scenarios, critical issues and action lines to guide 10 programs and 30 projects.

The plan was designed in a participatory manner and over the course of several stages. First, the Ministry of Housing, Territorial Ordinance and Environment’s (MVOTMA) National Water Coordination (DINAGUA) published a draft, which included input from Water Regional Councils and Watershed Commissions, as well as other agencies and academic institutions.

On July 2016, the draft was presented and, for six months, the government hosted the Dialogue for the National Water Plan. This cycle included over 30 discussion forums (sessions at the Advisory Commission for Water and Sanitation, Regional Councils for Water Resources and Watershed Councils), open forums from different regions, as well as an electronic feedback process in which roughly 2000 government, academia, and civil society representatives and citizens participated.

Meanwhile, thanks to an agreement signed with Universidad de la República, there was a citizen deliberation process called Deci Agua, helping citizens contribute their views to water management.

Watch a video on the Dialogues National Water Plan here.

At the end of this process, DINAGUA processed and integrated all input in one final document, wich MVOTMA submitted to the Environmental Cabinet, and was then approved by the Executive branch on July 31, 2017 (order N° 205/017).

The participation of citizens, civil society organizations, academia, users and relevant agencies makes the plan environmentally, socially and politically sustainable, supporting its implementation in the long term. Thus, Uruguay is making progress in the integrated and participatory management of water, as mandated by Constitutional Reform in 2004 and regulated in the National Water Law.

This commitment is part of Uruguay’s third open government National Action Plan 2016-2018.

Watch a video about the National Water Plan here.  

Authors: Daniel Greif
Filed Under: Research