Rainfall variability and the associated water stress are of major concern in semi-arid regions subject to conflicts between water users. To achieve sustainable and stable agricultural performance it is necessary to understand
the interaction between natural processes and human response. This paper investigates the applicability of common-pool resource (CPR) concepts to understand governance of water resources in semi-arid river basins. This is done by evaluating the governance of water resources in the Jaguaribe basin in the semi-arid Northeast of Brazil. The results show that common-pool resource concepts offer valuable insights for explaining variations in water resource use and availability at the river basin scale. The water system in a river basin can be characterized as one large CPR consisting of asymmetrically linked smaller CPR’s. This study showed that CPR concepts are useful for explaining agricultural productivity, stability and equitability in a semi-arid river basin. The asymmetry of a river basin CPR is the cause of unidirectional externalities towards downstream. The topography, the sequence of rainfall events and distribution of reservoir capacities in a river basin strongly
influence the extent to which convergence of resource flow can compensate for these externalities.
|Name||Value of water research report series 24|
|Publisher||UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education|