Freshwater is a precious and scarce resource that is increasingly threatened by over-abstraction, poor management and declining quality. But to sustain the world’s streams, rivers, lakes and aquifers, the world cannot depend on science, technology and engineering alone. Engaging and including water security stakeholders is essential to the long-term sustainability of the world’s freshwater resources, which is why stakeholders are central to all five steps of the USAID-funded Sustainable Water Partnership’s Water Security Improvement (WSI) Process.
A stakeholder refers to any person who influences or is affected by water decision-making in a given region. Influencers are usually government policy-makers and managers, but can also include community-based organizations, the private sector, and water-user associations whose health and livelihoods rely on water resources and services.
The Sustainable Water Partnership, implemented by Winrock International, is supporting stakeholders to address water security priorities in South Africa, Nepal, Cambodia, and Kenya and Tanzania’s shared Mara River Basin.
Stakeholder engagement is central to the WSI process for three reasons:
- It clarifies the needs of water users at all levels, and understands how they are involved in water abstraction, use and management.
- Effective stakeholder engagement can help balance the many variables that shape a water user’s behavior.
- Stakeholder engagement can help define tangible and realistic initiatives that are driven by local water users and decision-makers.