Knowing water better: towards fairer and more sustainable access to natural resources - KnoWat

Water tenure is a recent concept. A working definition of water tenure is “The relationships, whether legally or customarily defined, between people, as individuals or groups, with respect to water resources”. The concept of water tenure embraces and interconnects various SDG goals, and hence is useful for achieving the Agenda 2030, in particular through the inclusion of the most vulnerable through enhancing equitable access to water, increasing water security and improving climate resilience.

FAO has been continuously working to define the concept in line with the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure, unpack its core elements and explore its practical implications. The KnoWat project has proposed a water tenure assessment methodology to map the diversity of coexisting water tenure arrangements and is testing the methodology in Rwanda, Sri Lanka and Senegal. In the North African region, the project “Water efficiency, productivity and sustainability in the NENA regions” is also working to strengthen water governance approach.

The Water Tenure Mondays webinar series creates a forum for building a stronger water tenure concept and pursue FAO’s efforts in broadening the knowledge base of its application to achieve a more equitable and secure access to water, even in conditions of scarcity. It aims to refine our understanding of the water tenure concept and contextualize its various elements with a series of case studies, review ongoing initiatives and methodologies applied.

The series is targeted to policy makers, water professionals, and researchers from all over the world. The webinars are held in English with simultaneous translation to French.

Autumn sessions 2021

  • 13 September 2021, 13:00 CEST: "Equal but distinct: The fate of customary water rights in South Africa" by Dr Tumai Murombo, Professor of Law, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. [Video and presentation]
  • 20 September 2021, 13:00 CEST: “Water Tenure and Polycentric Problem-Solving” by Bryan Bruns, Sociologist, Independent Researcher and Consultant. [Video and presentation]
  • 27 September 2021, 13:00 CEST: “Scope and scale: Water tenure and the use and governance of transboundary water resources” by Stephen Hodgson, International Environmental Lawyer. [Video and presentation]
  • 11 October 2021, 13:00 CEST: "The role and benefits of mapping water services delivery and water tenure" by Dr Charles Batchelor and Dr Mekala Snehalatha. [Video and presentation]
  • 18 October 2021 2021, 17:00 CEST: “Western US Water Law—for better and for worse” by Felicia Marcus, Attorney/Consultant, Landreth Visiting Fellow at Stanford University’s Water in the West Program, Member of the Water Policy Group. [Video and presentation]
  • 25 October 2021, 13:00 CEST: ""Water Tenure: from Bundles of Rights to Webs of Interest" by Ruth Meinzen-Dick. [Video and presentation]
  • 8 November 2021 2021, 13:00 CET: “A responsible governance of water tenure?” by Barbara van Koppen, Scientist Emerita, International Water Management Institute. [Video and presentation]
  • 15 November 2021 2021, 11:30 CET: “Environmental water tenure in Australia” by Emma Carmody. [Video and presentation]

Upcoming webinars:

  • 22 November 2021, 13:00 CET: “Accountability for Water Tenure and the case of Tanzania” by Water Witness and and Shahidi Wa Maji. [Register here]
  • 06 December 2021, 13:00 CET: "Water governance in the Berrechid aquifer in Morocco" by Dubravka Bojic, Programme Officer, Governance Unit, FAO Rome, Italy. [Register here]
  • 13 December 2021, 13:00 CET: "Water tenure in Islamic water law" by Raya Stephan. [Register here]

More dates and topics will be announced soon.

Spring Sessions 2021

The first part of the Water Tenure Monday webinar series took place from 10 May until 12 July 2021. It consisted of 10 webinars featuring the following topics and speakers: 

  • 10 May 2021, "What is water tenure and how can we assess it?" - Stephen Hodgson, International Environmental Lawyer, Brussels, Belgium
  • 17 May 2021, "An introduction to water governance and its assessment" - Dubravka Bojic, Programme Officer, Governance Unit, FAO Rome, Italy
  • 24 May 2021, "Whose Water? A comparative analysis of national laws and regulations recognizing indigenous peoples’, Afro-descendants’, and local communities’ water tenure" - Jessica Troell, Director, International Water Program, Environmental Law Institute, Harare, Zimbabwe
  • 31 May 2021, "Water tenure analysis in Palestine and Lebanon, with a focus on biodiversity" - Julie Trottier, Research Director, CRNS, Montpellier, France
  • Wednesday, 9 June 2021, Special Session on Water Tenure and SDGs: IWRA's Online Conference on “One Water, One Health: Water, Food and Public Health in a Changing World”.
  • 14 June 2021, “Investigating water governance, water rights and water tenure in the Olifants River Water Management Area in South Africa” - Dineo Maila, Water and Environmental Scientist, Prime Africa Consultants
  • 21 June 2021, “Pioneering Water Tenure in India: The Case of the Warna Sub-Basin in Maharashtra” - A.J. James, Environmental and Natural Resource Economist
  • 28 June 2021, “Water Tenure in Spain: a SOAP Approach” - Elena Lopez Gunn, Director, ICATALIST
  • 5 July 2021, “The interface between customary and statutory water rights” - Stefano Burchi, Chairman, International Water Law Association
  • 12 July 2021, “Hybrid water law” - Barbara Schreiner, CEO Water Integrity Network, Berlin Germany and Advisor the Minister of Water and Sanitation, South Africa - Dr. Hans C. Komakech, Centre Director WISE - Futures/Senior Lecturer, The Nelson Mandela African Institution for Science and Technology, Arusha, Tanzania

Visit the Resources section to watch the videos of past sessions and join the DGroup on Water Accounting to access the presentations. 

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