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Cultivating Good Water
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The Cultivando Agua Boa (Cultivating Good Water) is a methodology related to several social-environmental initiatives from Itaipu. It won, in 2015, the 'Water for Life' UN-Water Best Practice Award in water management (category 1). 
 
 
The name Cultivating Good Water highlights the idea that, just like we cultivate the soil so that it gives good fruit, so does water require “cultivation”, or care, to remain plentiful and with good quality. It seeks to work alongside society to change its values and build a culture of sustainability, with emphasis on water conservation and the nexus water-energy-land-climate.

The Cultivando Agua Boa is based on national and planetary documents, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Earth Charter. It has the watershed as its territory and its planning unit, respecting the way nature organizes itself. Deriving from this concept, the program started in Brazil, in an area that enconpasses 29 municipalities that are part of the Paraná Watershed 3 (the part of the Paraná River Watershed which is conected to Itaipu's reservoir). Nowadays, it is also present in Paraguay and, in Brazil, it is being expanded to other 24 municipalities of the West Region of the state of Paraná.

The methodology of Cultivando Agua Boa is essentially participatory. The social-environmental actions of Itaipu are developed via a wide variety of partnerships with public and private institutions, and social and environmental organizations. This process is organized and operated by management committees staffed by representatives of the several partners, who take on a leading role in all projects and initiatives.

Today, there are more than 2,200 partners, including city administrations, co-ops, unions and trade associations, farmers, NGOs, governmental agencies, civil society organizations and others. They are organized into Management Committees in each of the 29 municipalities and work across all the initiatives. Also, there are specific committees for the main projects (such as environmental education, rural development and indigenous communities).

Management committee members meet on a regular basis to discuss the progress of the initiatives in their cities. The committees also contact government representatives on different areas, such as judiciary or the city council, to help in deploying solutions.

The participatory process has the following stages:

1. Micro watershed selection

It starts by discussing the concepts and fundamentals of water resource conservation with the community and local authorities and leaders. Then the micro watersheds to be worked on in each city are selected, giving priority to the springs that supply the city.

2. Raising Awareness 

Meetings with communities and their leaders to raise their awareness to problems, necessary corrective actions and environmentally correct practices.

3. Management Committees

These are set up and staffed by representatives from Itaipu's various social-environmental programs and projects, city, state, and federal agencies, co-ops, companies, unions, social organizations, universities, schools, and farmers.

4. Workshops of the Future

They are inspired in the Instituto Ecoar para a Cidadania methods, which offer the possibility of discussion and action for the various social players that interfere in the environment and quality of life. Communities (young people, children, adults and senior citizens) are brought together and are invited to think about social-environmental issues during the Workshops of the Future, which are conducted in four stages:

The Wailing Wall – environmental damages and complaints by the community are identified, and people assess their attitudes especially with respect to their river, pointing the problems to be solved.

The Tree of Hope – people speak about their dreams for today and tomorrow, and answer the question "What do we want our surroundings to be like?"

The Way Ahead – people define the actions to correct the problems identified and commit to a new conduct based on the ethics of care, by answering the following questions: What do we need to do right now to save our river? What is our share of the work?

The Water Pact – this is the time to sign the commitment toward caring for the watershed and its territory. All the social players involved participate on this act. They summarize the results of the workshops of the future, by showing the true portrait of the community, its problems, dreams, commitments and priorities. The pact engages the entire society, both financially and in terms of building mutual trust. It also provides input for the management committee to take projects further. This document is called the Water Pact Charter and is signed by the community, leaders and authorities as their commitment to sustainability (Local Agenda 21).

5. Conventions, Agreements, Pledges

Once the Water Pact is signed (collective commitment), Itaipu Binacional, the city administration, and other partners enter into agreements and other instruments that clearly set forth the conditions and responsibilities of the parties to enable the actions for the watershed.

6. Partnership adjustments

Before the actions start, adjustments are made to the participation and contribution of each of the partners involved.

7. The Future Now

This action takes place while and after environmental liabilities are solved. Workshops are held to raise people's awareness to the need of caring for what is being rebuilt. The various segments of the local communities and institutions involved set up a great partnership to solve the environmental liabilities detected. Their different potentials trigger a mutual help process that is validated in the management committees. These committees make sure decisions are made in a democratic way, and become an essential opportunity to plan, conduct, monitor, and propose actions for the continuous improvement of local watersheds.

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