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Glacial Flooding & Disaster Risk Management Knowledge Exchange and Field Training July 11-24, 2013 in Huaraz, Peru HighMountains.org/workshop/peru-2013

Towards Integrated  Water  Governance  at  Peru’s  Lake  Parón   Adam  French   University  of  California,  Berkeley   Integrated  Water  Resource  Management  in  Peru   th st During  the  late  20   and  early  21   centuries,  the  paradigm  of  Integrated  Water Resource  Management  (IWRM)  has  achieved  increasing  influence  over  water  governance   activities  in  many  parts  of  the  world.  According  to  the  oft-­‐cited  definition  of  the  Global   Water  Partnership  (GWP),  IWRM  is  “a  process  which  promotes  the  coordinated   development  and  management  of  water,  land  and  related  resources  in  order  to  maximise   economic  and  social  welfare  in  an  equitable  manner  without  compromising  the   sustainability  of  vital  ecosystems  and  the  environment”  (GWP  n.d.).  Furthermore,  IWRM   “is  a  cross-­‐sectoral  policy  approach…based  on  the  understanding  that  water  resources  are   an  integral  component  of  the  ecosystem,  a  natural  resource,  and  a  social  and  economic   good”.  Discursively,  IWRM  is  appealing  for  its  rational  and  balanced  approach,  which   stresses  multi-­‐sectoral  management  and  broadly  inclusive  and  participatory  processes   that  allow  diverse  stakeholders  to  negotiate  distinct  values  and  resource  needs.  IWRM   purportedly  achieves  these  outcomes  through  a  combination  of  management  instruments,   institutional  innovations,  and  enabling  conditions  that  promote  public  participation,  cross-­‐ sectoral  integration,  and  rational  and  efficient  resource  use.  

Despite its  discursive  appeal,  IWRM  is  not  without  its  critics.  In  many  cases,  the   very  characteristics  that  give  the  concept  its  promise  in  theory–valuing  water  for  its   diverse  uses  across  human  needs  and  economic  sectors  while  promoting  participation,   equity,  and  sustainability–present  major  challenges  to  its  implementation.  In  his  analysis   of  the  GWP  definition  of  IWRM  quoted  above,  Biswas  suggests  that  while  the  definition   “appears  impressive,  it  is  really  unusable,  or  un-­‐implementable,  in  operational  terms,”  and   “even  though  the  rhetoric  of  integrated  water  resources  management  has  been  very  strong   in  the  various  international  forums  of  the  past  decade,  its  actual  use  (irrespective  of  what   it  means)  has  been  minimal”  (Biswas  2004,  250).   While  Biswas  and  other  critics  consider  the  IWRM  vision  un-­‐implementable  in   practice,  the  paradigm’s  influence  on  water  policy  and  management  in  a  wide  array  of   global  contexts  should  not  be  dismissed  (Orlove  and  Caton  2010).  In  Peru,  for  example,  the   implementation  of  IWRM  principles  has  been  promoted  for  more  than  a  decade  through   significant  funding  and  advocacy  projects  supported  by  international  lenders  and   transnational  policy  advocacy  networks  (ANA  2008,  cf.  Goldman  2007).  In  many  of  its   guiding  principles  as  well  as  its  specific  policies,  Peru’s  2009  Hydrologic  Resources  Law   clearly  exhibits  the  influence  of  the  IWRM  model  (Peru  2009).  Thus  the  Peruvian  National   Water  Authority’s  (ANA)  efforts  to  implement  IWRM  provide  a  useful  context  for  assessing   the  empirical  outcomes  of  the  diffusion  of  this  global  environmental  governance  paradigm.   1


In the  brief  analysis  that  follows,  I  examine  an  ongoing  water  conflict  at  Peru’s  Lake  Parón   and  the  governance  processes  it  has  elicited  to  consider  such  empirical  outcomes  and  to   offer  suggestions  for  improving  IWRM  management  in  this  context.   Lake  Parón’s  Hydro-­‐social  Context   Lake  Parón  (4200  m)  is  located  in  a  narrow  glacial  basin  ringed  by  some  of  the   highest  mountains  in  the  world’s  tropical  zone.  The  lake  is  the  largest  of  some  400  glacial   lakes  in  the  Cordillera  Blanca,  the  highest  and  most-­‐extensively  glaciated  mountain  range   in  the  Tropics  (ANA  2011).  When  full  to  its  brim,  the  lake  is  nearly  four  kilometers  (km)   long  by  a  half  km   wide  and  its  surface  is  roughly  90  meters  (m)  above  its  bed  at  the   deepest  point.  The  watershed  that  feeds  Lake  Parón  is  42  km2   in  area  and  has  the  highest   percentage  of  glacial  cover  of  any   major  basin  in  the  Cordillera  Blanca,  with  an  estimated  39%  glacial  cover  in  2009  (Baraer   et  al.  2012).  Illustrating  the  dramatic  rate  of  deglaciation  in  this  region,  the  percentage  of   glacial  cover  in  the  Parón  basin  has  decreased  from  72%  glacial  cover  in  1930  and  55%   glacial  cover  in  1970  to  its  current  levels  (Baraer  et  al.  2012,  Bury  et  al.  2013).  

Despite Lake  Parón’s  isolation  in  a  remote  mountain  canyon,  it  is  intricately   connected  to  a  diversity  of  landscapes  and  communities  through  the  waters  that  flow  from   the  lake  into  the  Parón  River.  This  river  flows  through  a  steep,  narrow  valley  amidst  the   Polylepis  forests  of   Huascarán  National  Park  and  then  passes  into  a  mosaic  of  agricultural   parcels  before  joining  the  Huancutey  River  to  form  the  Llullán  River,  which  continues  its   descent  to  a  confluence  with  the  Santa  River  near  the  regional  center  of  Caraz  (pop.   ~20,000).  Along  its  roughly  20  km  length,  the  Parón-­‐Llullán  River  supplies  water  to   thousands  of  irrigators  growing  an  array  of  crops  ranging  from  staple  varieties  of  tuber   and  maiz  to  carnations  and  other  ornamental  flowers  for  regional  and  international   markets.  This  irrigation  water  is  particularly  critical  during  the  tropical  dry  season  (May-­‐ October),  when  little  precipitation  falls.  Additionally,  the  river  is  the  principal  source  of   potable  water  for  the  growing  urban  districts  of  Caraz.   The  importance  of  Lake  Parón’s  waters,  however,  extends  far  beyond  the  limits  of   the  Parón–Llullán  watershed.  In  the  early  1990’s,  after  risk  mitigation  activities  led  to  the   construction  of  a  drainage  tunnel  at  the  lake,  a  set  of  hydraulic  valves  was  installed  to   permit  the  manipulation  of  the  lake’s  discharge  regime.  This  manipulation  of  discharge   permitted  Lake  Parón  to  serve  as  a  regulating  reservoir  for  the  Cañon  del  Pato   hydroelectric  plant  on  the  Santa  River,  downstream  of  the  Llullán  River  confluence  (Carey,   French  and  O'Brien  2012).  Initially,  the  Cañon  del  Pato  as  well  as  Lake  Parón  were   administered  by  state-­‐owned  Electroperú,  but  after  privatization  of  the  Cañon  del  Pato   system  in  the  1990’s,  ownership  passed  to  an  international  consortium  and  was  eventually   consolidated  under  the  control  of  Duke  Energy  (Carey  2010).  After  2000,  Duke  began  to   intensify  its  use  of  Lake  Parón  for  power  production,  and  local  complaints  about   alterations  to  the  flow  regime  in  the  Parón–Llullán  watershed  began  to  mount.   Complaints  over  Duke’s  management  of  the  lake  came  from  diverse  sectors,  but   especially  from  local  irrigators  who  complained  of  excessive  discharges  that  damaged   irrigation  infrastructure  as  well  as  a  lack  of  sufficient  flows  for  their  water  needs  at  the  end   of  some  annual  dry  seasons.  Additionally,  local  residents  expressed  grievances  over   increased  turbidity  in  the  potable  water  of  Caraz  as  well  as  detrimental  effects  on  the  local   tourism  industry  when  the  lake  was  drawn  down  to  the  level  of  its  discharge  tunnel  (Carey    

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et al.  2012).  By  the  mid-­‐2000’s,  state  entities  like  Huascarán  National  Park  and  the   Organization  for  the  Supervision  of  Investment  in  Energy  and  Mining  formally  responded   to  local  complaints  but  generally  failed  to  bring  about  changes  in  the  energy  company’s   discharge  practices.  Under  these  conditions,  in  mid-­‐2008,  a  local  coalition  seized  the   discharge  infrastructure  at  the  lake,  evicting  Duke  Energy’s  personnel  from  the  site.   While  there  are  many  important  details  of  the  process  leading  up  to  the  seizure  of   the  discharge  infrastructure  that  cannot  be  developed  in  this  context,  this  local  occupation   of  the  lake  can  be  viewed,  on  the  one  hand,  as  an  assertion  of  local  control  over  territory   and  natural  resources  fundamental  to  livelihood  production,  and,  on  the  other,  as  an   adaptive  response  to  the  failure  of  state  institutions  to  coordinate,  monitor,  and  enforce   national  legal  and  environmental  regulations.  During  the  period  between  2000-­‐08,  when   local  complaints  were  mounting  against  Duke,  agricultural  water  use  was  prioritized  over   the  demands  of  other  sectors  like  industry  and  energy  production  under  the  still-­‐binding   1969  Water  Law.  Duke’s  operation  of  the  discharge  infrastructure  at  times  clearly   contradicted  this  hierarchy  of  priorities,  but  the  company’s  use  of  the  lake’s  flows  was   supported  by  the  water  license  that  they  had  inherited  through  privatization  (Carey  et  al.   2012,  French  2012).  As  the  rights  of  local  residents  came  into  conflict  with  the  license  of   the  company,  government  institutions  were  needed  to  mediate  between  different  actors  as   well  as  the  incompatible  mandates  of  their  own  legislation.  

   

In 2009,  the  Hydrologic  Resources  Law  (Law  #29338)  was  passed,  replacing  the   1969  legislation.  Under  this  new  water  law,  water  remained  the  property  of  the  nation  and   direct  human  consumption  was  still  the  highest  priority  (Peru  2009).  Yet,  under  this  new   legislation,  agricultural  water  use  was  no  longer  prioritized  over  other  sectoral  uses,  and   instead  a  model  of  integrated  water  management  was  mandated.  This  integrated   governance  model  calls  for  efficient  use  across  sectors  and  participatory  processes  at  the   level  of  the  watershed;  conditions  suggesting  that  a  resolution  to  the  Lake  Parón  conflict   would  require  dialogue  and  compromise  on  the  part  of  all  actors  as  well  as  institutional   formation  led  by  the  state.  In  examining  the  development  of  the  governance  of  Lake  Parón   since  the  passage  of  the  new  water  law,  however,  significant  challenges  to  the  integrated   water  management  paradigm  are  apparent.  

Efforts Towards  Conflict  Resolution  and  Integrated  Management   Five  years  have  elapsed  since  the  local  occupation  of  the  discharge  infrastructure  at   Lake  Parón.  Here  again,  the  rich  details  of  the  still-­‐ongoing  resolution  efforts  cannot  be   developed  fully  in  this  context.  Instead  I  focus  the  remainder  of  this  analysis  on  the  critical   need  for  an  integrative  institution  capable  of  bringing  the  diverse  actors  involved  in  the   conflict  together  in  the  governance  process.  Over  the  past  years,  there  have  been  various   efforts  by  diverse  entities  to  promote  the  formation  of  such  an  institution,  most  often   referred  to  as  a  management  committee  (comité  de  gestión)  for  Lake  Parón.  Following  the   rhetoric  of  the  2009  water  law,  this  coordinating  institution  might  also  be  considered  a   watershed  management  council  (consejo  de  cuenca)  for  the  Parón-­‐Llullán  sub-­‐catchment.  

Initial efforts  to  form  a  management  committee  for  Lake  Parón  began  towards  the   end  of  the  2008-­‐2009  rainy  season,  when  the  level  of  the  lake  reached  its  maximum  secure   elevation  of  4190  meters  above  sea  level.  As  this  limit  was  reached,  ANA  attempted  to  form   a  management  committee  to  lower  the  lake,  but  local  actors  refused  participation  in  such   3  


an institution  until  the  formal  title  to  the  lake  and  surrounding  lands  had  been  restored  to   the  Peruvian  state  as  property  of  Huascarán  National  Park.  This  reversion  of  the  lake’s  title   was  finally  achieved  in  early  2010  after  the  declaration  of  a  national  state  of  emergency  in   light  of  the  lake’s  level  reaching  the  risk-­‐  prone  elevation  of  4195  meters.  With  the  title   problem  resolved,  local  actors  agreed  to  participate  in  a  technical  operating  committee   (comité  de  operación)  that  brought  together  many  of  the  key  actors  in  the  conflict.  Local   participants,  however,  remained  unwilling  to  permit  Duke’s  direct  participation  in  the   committee,  and  the  institution’s  founding  legislation  was  thus  modified  to  exclude  actors   from  outside  the  Parón-­‐Llullán  watershed.  Despite  Duke’s  exclusion,  the  operating   committee  successfully  coordinated  the  lowering  of  the  lake’s  level  in  2010  and  again  in   2011,  and,  in  conjunction  with  a  parallel  management  committee,  the  operating  committee   served  to  bring  actors  together  in  a  collaborative,  albeit  often-­‐conflicted,  space.  Given  the   progress  being  made  by  the  committee,  local  actors  consistently  called  for  its   formalization.   According  to  legal  records,  once  the  committee  was  functioning,  ANA  suggested  that   Duke  join  the  institution,  but  the  company  refused  participation  (Peru  2011),  and  it  still   remained  uncertain  whether  or  not  local  actors  would  permit  the  company’s  participation.   Although  the  operating  committee  was  achieving  important  progress,  Duke’s  absence  from   the  committee  meant  that  a  key  actor  in  the  conflict  was  not  directly  represented,  and  this   absence  likely  precluded  the  possibility  of  formalizing  the  committee  in  the  long-­‐term.   Under  these  circumstances,  and  citing  the  temporary  nature  of  the  operating  committee’s   formalization  under  the  2010  state  of  emergency,  the  operating  committee  was  formally   dissolved  by  ANA  in  late  2011,  to  the  frustration  of  many  local  actors  (French  2012).   During  2012  and  2013,  management  efforts  at  Lake  Parón  have  focused  principally   on  attempts  to  conduct  comprehensive  maintenance  of  the  discharge  infrastructure  at  the   lake.  This  maintenance  has  been  complicated  and  delayed,  however,  by  an  ongoing  lack  of   direct  and  transparent  communication  between  diverse  actors  in  the  case  as  well  as  by   abiding  distrust  among  these  actors.  The  continued  lack  of  an  integrative  institution   providing  a  formal  space  for  the  consistent  and  structured  interactions  that  might  help   cultivate  more  open  communication  and  trust  between  actors  remains  one  of  the  foremost   obstacles  to  the  resolution  of  the  Lake  Parón  conflict.  Moreover,  the  inability  to  form  an   integrative  management  institution  at  Lake  Parón  highlights  some  of  the  foremost   challenges  to  implementing  the  vision  of  integrated  water  resource  management  that  is  the   foundation  of  Peru’s  new  water  law.   Overcoming  the  obstacles  to  institutional  formation  at  Lake  Parón—as  well  as  in   other  conflicted  contexts  like  that  of  the  larger  Santa  River  watershed—will  require,  on  the   one  hand,  a  greater  willingness  on  the  part  of  all  actors  to  create  more  inclusive   governance  spaces  characterized  by  compromise  and  collaborative  decision  making.  On   the  other  hand,  such  progress  will  require  strong  leadership  and  effective  coordination   between  diverse  state  institutions  tasked  with  different  aspects  of  the  management  of  vital   and  increasingly  scarce  hydrologic  resources.  Until  these  conditions  can  be  met,  the   Peruvian  state’s  vision  of  integrated  water  governance  will  remain  partially  implemented   at  best.  Yet  despite  these  significant  challenges,  the  conflict  at  Lake  Parón  provides  an   exceptional  test  case  for  the  development  of  integrated  resource  governance  institutions;   and,  if  handled  effectively  in  the  future,  the  governance  of  Lake  Parón  could  serve  as  a   model  for  integrated  water  governance  in  many  other  conflicted  settings  in  Peru  and   beyond.    

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References

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Adam French: Towards Integrated Water Governance at Peru’s Lake Parón  

During the late 20th and early 21st centuries, the paradigm of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) has achieved increasing influence...

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