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Good Water inspires document for the Water Forum
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The document that American countries are taking to the 2009 World Water Forum in Turkey bears the semblance of Brazil and the Cultivating Good Water program. Some of the items making up the so-called “Message from Foz do Iguaçu” are based on Brazilian needs and are greatly influenced by the Good Water, a program developed by Itaipu Binacional and its partners in all the 29 cities in the Paraná Watershed 3. The document was drawn up this Tuesday morning by the approximately 250 attendees from 37 American countries on the last day of the Water Forum of the Americas, held since last Sunday in Foz do Iguaçu.


One of the proposals talks about raising people's awareness to the importance of water and the need to train and educate everyone in society by connecting them to the watershed to which their community belongs. “This is just like the Cultivating Good Water Program”, said Benedito Braga, director of the Brazilian Water Agency (ANA) and vice-president of the World Water Council.


He is talking about environmental education efforts in the micro watersheds, one of the most prominent features of the Cultivating Good Water program.

“The event was a great success because in one day and a half we managed to reach consensus among all out American brothers”, said Braga. He highlighted Itaipu's participation in the Brazilian delegation at both the Water Forum of the Americas and the one going to Turkey next year. Itaipu's Brazilian general director, Jorge Samek, “Samek actively participated in the debates”, he said . “Itaipu is highly interested in joining the ANA at the world forum”, he added.


Latin American authorities spent two days discussing to arrive at an 11 item consensus document containing the continent's main issues related to water resource management. In the next few months, representatives from these countries will remain in contact to tune in their discourse until the world meeting, to be held in Istanbul, Turkey, in March 2009.


Relevant issues


To Benedito Braga, the most important point in the document coincides with the Brazilian policy with respect to water resources: ensuring the supply of drinking water and basic sanitation. “One of the challenges Brazil faces is managing to clean the rivers and investing heavily in basic sanitation so that we may have clean rivers, healthy kids and empty hospitals”, he said.


Another point that has a lot to do with Brazil is about strengthening the state water management agencies by integrating them into the national water resource policy. “It looks like we have written it but it is a consensus of the Americas. That goes to show how united we are with respect to water issues”, said Braga.


The document will be taking to Istanbul issues like the transversality in public water policies; multiple uses (power generation, transportation, agriculture, and others); regulations and economic incentives; shared management of aquifers and trans-border watersheds. The small Caribbean islands managed to approve the item talking about paying special attention to their water resources, especially in a scenario of climate changes.


To the general director of the World Water Council, Ger Bergkamp, from the Netherlands, the forum succeeded at bringing the Americas together around the water theme. “At this Forum we consolidated a common agenda, and at the world forum we are going to connect these issued to the world agenda”, he said.