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Tariff creation processes in the Amazon: a case study from an indigenous community

IWRA World Water Congress 2017 - Cancun Mexico
4. Water policy and governance
Author(s): Gisselle Vila Benites
Gisselle Vila Benites

Keyword(s): water tariff, ethnicity, Amazon


The implementation of water tariffs faces different challenges that are frecquently adressed from economic and regulation lenses. However, an important feature to assess a tariff suitability is the compliance with its meanings, implications and benefits. Therefore, understanding the adaptations of tariffs on a community - level organization is an underpinning query in the improvement of collecting and allocating benefits. Following this assertion, this presentation discusses the sociocultural implications of a tariff creation process in an interethnic community in the Peruvian Amazon. Using ethnographic data from a six - month fieldwork, the presentation organizes evidence tracking four decades of community history in order to identify how it frames new water governance procedures promoted by the State and the international cooperation. Working on the institutional bricolage concept, the argument sets that water tariffs are subject to malleable adaptations vis a vis transformations with community organizations. This process, however, holds limitations that depend on the community's envision of water value and social norms of coexistence.

This results have informed the current creation process of the Alto Mayo River Council, the first experience to incorporate the IWM focus to river basin organizations in the Amazon. Thus, it has highlighted the challenges of disassociating specific regulations, norms and procedures from the development framework that make sense of them, and the perils when they collide with different cultural frameworks without an intercultural understanding. This has led to include the awajun and wampi indigenous groups as part of the Council and to discuss better information and dialogue processes for further interventions. Thanks to these efforts, the autor was awarded with the Water Culture National Prize, third place, granted by the Peruvian National Water Authority.

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