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Pipiripau sky: from the tragedy of commons to water sustainability

IWRA World Water Congress 2017 - Cancun Mexico
6. Water and sustainable growth
Author(s): Osmar Coelho Filho
Osmar Coelho Filho
Center for Sustainable Development Federal University of Brasilia, UnB

Keyword(s): Sustainability, Water Resources, Environmental Perception, Environmental Governance
Article: Oral:


The article’s title "Pipiripau sky" was borrowed from a Brazilian Portuguese expression used by small landholders from Minas Gerais state. It means a blessed territory where free common resources are available to all depend on how the users share its resources.  The origins of this expression are in Spanish language expression “Tierra de Pipiripao.” It has a similar meaning: a place where people are invited to a party to commemorate the land abundance, but unfortunately, the resources users only think about enjoying than in something else. Those expressions are similar to the old English language word “common.” Common represents a land where farmers can create rules to govern its free common resources use.  The Federal District (FD) where is Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, is located in the central Brazilian plateau, a fragile ecological territory, where up to 91 % are inside environmental protected areas. The DF`s rivers have now low water flow due to decades of timber and cattle exploitation as well urban areas growing process.This research pursued to understand the environmental perception and its use to improve water resources environmental planning. The research field was in one of three major Federal District's water basins to Brasilia's water supply: the Pipiripau Creek basin (PCB).  The federal government started by 2010 a payment for environmental services program (PES) called “Water Producers” to alleviate the PCB's water scarcity. However, the implementation process has been slow to produce available results. This research used a methodological scheme based on two methodologies to evaluate the social actor's perceptions and attitudes on water scarcity: strategic matrix method and environmental perception analysis.  The research tools were the literature review and a semi-open questionnaire. This study applied it to farmers leaders and PES’s officers from government agencies like National Water Resources Agency (NWA) interviewing 12 farmers leaders and 12 PES’s officers. The research outcomes showed two mutual water sustainability factors to farmers and officers: institutional empowerment, and environmental education. Based on these factors, farmers and officers can initiate participatory dialogue platforms on environmental governance. From these discussions,   sustainability guidelines can be built to support PCB’s water integrated management. Natural resources managers can use the environmental perception scheme developed in this study along with other strategic planning tools to create participatory environmental plans.

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