Framing Water Policies: A Transdisciplinary Study of Collaborative Governance; the Katari River Basin (Bolivia)
2. Conceptual Framework
2.1. Collaborative Water Governance and the Transdisciplinary Approach
Collaborative governance refers to a governing arrangement where one or more public agencies engage non-state stakeholders in a collective decision-making process that is formal, consensus-oriented, and deliberative and that aims to make or implement public policy or manage public programs or assets
2.2. Framing and Making Sense of the Water Problems
2.3. Framing and Effective Public Participation
3. Materials and Methods
3.1. The Katari River Basin Case Study
3.2.1. Data Collection
3.2.2. Data Analysis
4.1. The Social Context behind the Fragmentation of Frames
4.2. Decision-Making Processes and the Fragmentation of Frames
4.2.1. Participatory Process Design in Decision making
I suggest including those who live there, from the communities on the Titicaca Lakeshore. If we could integrate the people who know the reality, those who also speak Aymara (…) they will explain it to us in their language. In this way, I believe we can carry out concrete actions with the participation of the communities (community representative 2).
So, if what they are talking about is not an issue that concerns me, what will I contribute to the discussion? I stay silent, looking vacantly at their conversation (…) So maybe the Board of Directors or the organizers [should] identify the different problems at the beginning and determine which institutions relate to which issue. So, if the problem concerns me, I could say something (…) I could complain (regional government representative).
This has also been another big problem, that the municipality of El Alto itself has not always been a participant despite the fact that it is the main source of contamination (Ministry of Water and Environment representative 2).
I have complained in two of their assemblies because they gave the same weight to the rest of the municipalities as to El Alto, when, in reality, those municipalities gravitate around El Alto (…) So, they didn’t grant to El Alto the importance it deserves (…) El Alto has been downplayed, although the problems really arise there. The largest concentration of people lives there compared to the other lake municipalities, which suffer the consequences. I have noticed this deficiency (municipal government representative 1).
The main factor is the political differences they had. In the last five years, there has been [in El Alto] a [municipal] government opposed to the [national] government (…) So, the national government has not given much importance to the municipal one. It has also been reciprocal. The municipal government [of El Alto] participates [in the platform] but at the level of its technicians, who have no decision-making power (Ministry of Environment and Water representative 1).
All the provinces that attended this forum told each other: brothers, we don’t have drinking water (…) We need wells to be drilled; we need water. You know well that water is life. So, our brothers improvise digging wells and drink that water but do not know if it is safe (informal interview—participatory social forum).
4.2.2. Decision-Making Process Implementation
I have not seen scenarios where they tell us ‘What ideas do you have?’ or ‘What projects do you have?’ They shall bring them on so we can manage them through the platform (Ministry of Water and Environment representative 2).
a presentation of the UGCK [Ministry of Water and Environment], showing its annual report, explaining that everything has been done very well and that it has spent its entire budget (…) In fact, when we leave the assembly, we have the impression that the world is perfect [he chuckles]. I hope it is the case, but I sincerely doubt it is really the case knowing the basin (international cooperation representative 2).
But the most important thing is that not all the municipalities participated in these round tables (…) For example, another table discussed the issue of wastewater in which I did not participate. But we also have these problems and have ideas to solve them (municipal government representative 2).
Honestly, I wouldn’t evaluate it very positively because although it is a meeting of components that can interact, they don’t get to interact. So, we meet but do not interact. The worst thing is that since we don’t interact, we don’t discuss and conclude. Therefore, we don’t act. So, as you see, it’s a sequel, steps that we must distinguish. We have stayed at the first step, at the idea (university representative).
4.3. Participatory Process Design and the Water Governance Outcomes
Since they ignore us, we are thinking to close the valve [of the water supply] (community representative—informal interview, participatory social forum).
From my perspective, communities are also a great constraint. When someone wants to do a project, some communities oppose it. [The project] is delayed, and funding is lost because there is no social consensus (Ministry of Water and Environment representative 2).
Sometimes they do activities and don’t call us [despite being community-based authorities]. They don’t take us into account (…). They just tell us: you should organize an activity because a ministry member will come. So, we attended and helped, but we do not know what is behind it, what institution is behind it, or if the project continues (informal group interview—July 2021).
In the Ministry, who is now in charge of the Katari Basin? A ‘Cochalo’ (a person from Cochabamba, which is a city located in a region distant from the Katari River Basin). That ‘Cochalo’ … does he know our reality? No. The government is making a mistake because it should appoint people who live and understand here. Thus, [the government] could coordinate with us. But instead, he will not be able to work with us (informal group interview—July 2021).
We have cleaned the entire lake shore in our sector, which corresponds to us. Just there. We cannot go any further because it belongs to other communities, which will have to mobilize and clean as well. In that way, I think, we can maintain our lake (community representative 2).
Because it is more an assessment, it isn’t very objective, and it is not very specific. So, for example, its goals are not measured by indicators (Ministry of Water and Environment representative 1).
For me, it is not a plan. It seems more like an assessment and perhaps recommendations for strategies. Planning should be long-term [actions] based on diagnosis to really identify what the biggest problems are (international cooperation representative 2).
After the community told us: ‘we don’t want (the project)’, we have found another place through dialogue with the regional government. It has been very complicated, but we finally obtained the land. But the last thing that happened to us is that the local people do not want this new place for the treatment plant (Ministry representative—Assembly of the Board of Directors).
I remember that two years ago or maybe less, they cleaned the entire shore of Lake Titicaca and the Huatajata cemetery. I think they have also reached the entire shore of Cohana. I don’t know that place well, but they cleaned it up. But that was momentary because if we return to the place, now it is still contaminated (community representative 2).
4.4. Framing Water Issues in the Katari River Basin
4.4.1. Policy Framing
4.4.2. Actors’ Framing
When we speak of caring for the environment as a central point is the person, the human being, which should not be the case. I believe that we should start from the sense of community, considering that the community is not only a human community, the community is also made up of all the elements of nature, be they stars, animals, plants, the air we breathe, the sun, the coexistence that we have every day, that is the true community (community representative, 2).
5.1. Fragmentation by Design
5.2. Political Context
Conflicts of Interest
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|Problem structure||Process design||Direct results of the participation process|
|Actors||Process realization||Substantive output and outcome|
|Group of Actors||Gender (Female/Male)||Code|
|Community Representative 1||M||CR-M-01|
|Community Representative 2||M||CR-M-02|
|Ministry of Environment and Water Representative 1||F||MEW-F-01|
|Ministry of Environment and Water Representative 2||F||MEW-F-02|
|Ministry of Environment and Water Representative 3||F||MEW-F-03|
|Health Ministry Representatives (in joint interview)||M-M||OM-M-01/OM-M-02|
|Regional government representative||F||ARGL-F-01|
|Municipal Government Representative 1||F||M-F-01|
|Municipal Government Representative 2||F||M-F-02|
|International Cooperation Representative 1||M||I-M-01|
|International Cooperation Representative 2||M||I-M-02|
|Stakeholder||Interview Response||Problem Frame|
|Community Representative 1||El Alto produces a lot of wastewaters that pollute the Titicaca Lake.||Wastewater pollution from El Alto|
|Community Representative 2||For us, who understand the environment, we are worried. Because El Alto is polluting the Titicaca Lake||Pollution from El Alto|
|Municipal government representative 1||River basins have not been considered, or in this case, the micro-watersheds. I’m talking about El Alto.||El Alto is not taken into account|
|Municipal Government Representative 2||Another big problem is that El Alto’s municipality seldom participates even though it is the primary source of wastewater, sewage, industrial and solid waste contamination.|
As for pollution, no one was interested in that topic. It was like the fifth wheel. And then, everyone knows that it is an issue of contamination of rivers and solid waste, especially here in Laja, not because of our municipality but because of the surroundings of El Alto.
|El Alto´s lack of participation|
Lack of environmental interest
Pollution from El Alto
|Regional Government Representative||activities related to solid waste management|
So far, we have not identified the company that emits the most discharges for this pollution.
|Solid waste contamination coming companies|
Lack of detection of the company producing solid waste
|International Cooperation Representative 1||The Katari River Basin has most of the population concentrated in El Alto, producing significant effluents from domestic and industrial wastewater|
It is known that in Bolivia, we still do not have a water law that could allow us to have much more rigid control over discharges.
|Industry and urban wastewater produced in El Alto|
Lack of water legislation
Population growth in the city of El Alto
|International Cooperation Representative 2||Water quality could be (…) mainly impacted by El Alto in terms of industries. There is no sewage collection (…) There is heavy antibiotic use in El Alto
It could be due to the lack of water law.
|Industry contamination from EL Alto|
Large use of antibiotics in El Alto
Lack of water legislation
|Ministry of Environment and Water Representative 1||The issues of decontamination and the bloom are the basin’s main problems.||Environmental contamination in the river basin|
|Ministry of Environment and Water Representative 2||Also, there is a question of solid waste since these rivers are open. We do not have the [waste disposal] education. Besides, both industries and people dispose of their liquid discharges into rivers.||Lack of population´s solid waste education|
Wastewater from industries and citizens
|Ministry of Environment and Water Representative 3||Wastewater from El Alto.|
El Alto does not participate in these roundtables for dialogue and discussion.
|Wastewater from El Alto|
Lack of participation of El Alto
|Other Ministries Representatives||We are interested in saving contaminated sites, but also when they are related to human health (…) We are concerned with the lake.||Environmental remediation linked to human health|
|University Representative||All the garbage that comes from El Alto.|
The problem of contamination by heavy metals is severe in the Katari basin (…). There are also health problems.
|Solid waste from EL Alto|
Heavy metals contamination
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Agramont Akiyama, A.; Peres-Cajías, G.; Villafuerte Philippsborn, L.; Van Cauwenbergh, N.; Craps, M.; van Griensven, A. Framing Water Policies: A Transdisciplinary Study of Collaborative Governance; the Katari River Basin (Bolivia). Water 2022, 14, 3750. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14223750
Agramont Akiyama A, Peres-Cajías G, Villafuerte Philippsborn L, Van Cauwenbergh N, Craps M, van Griensven A. Framing Water Policies: A Transdisciplinary Study of Collaborative Governance; the Katari River Basin (Bolivia). Water. 2022; 14(22):3750. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14223750Chicago/Turabian Style
Agramont Akiyama, Afnan, Guadalupe Peres-Cajías, Leonardo Villafuerte Philippsborn, Nora Van Cauwenbergh, Marc Craps, and Ann van Griensven. 2022. "Framing Water Policies: A Transdisciplinary Study of Collaborative Governance; the Katari River Basin (Bolivia)" Water 14, no. 22: 3750. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14223750