C
Despite a Decree of 1981 aiming at organizing water resources management by water bassin, Colombia has never managed to reach an operational level. In 2000, a new text planned to decentralize this management responsibility to Autonomous Regional Corporations (CAR). Thus, the CARs were instructed to prepare Integrated Water Management Plans (POMCA). However, a methodological problem occured and led to the issuing of national guidelines based on French experience in the domain (2004). The project aimed at supporting the CAR of Cundinamarca to implement a POMCA in the Ubaté-Suarez Water Bassin, which constituted the first concrete experience in the domain. This technical assistance mission was based on France's 40 year experience in the domain of river basin management and consisted of adapting this experience to the Colombian context and reality. The adaptable components of the French approach in terms of water management was completed by a soil fertility diagnosis (specific French methodology), especially adapted to environmental integrated management. The Ubate river basin was considered as representative of the Andean Colombian region (economic, social and environmental aspects; 60% of the population) but also of the neighbouring Andean countries. The demonstration of interest for integrated water management based upon the French approach must have generated echoes in Colombia and all around Latin America. The general objective of the project was to participate in the Development and Management Plans of the Ubate-Suarez river basin (technical and methodological aspects) and to introduce French expertise in the implementation and follow-up of such tools. The “river basin committee” or “local water committee” notion was an important concept to develop within the framework of this project. The efficient and pragmatic protection of natural resources, as well as their supervised exploitation, required the creation of a local and operational management unit at the river basin level. The project also consisted of assistance to the CAR (local office in Ubate and regional office in Bogota) to develop environmental infrastructure projects (WWTP, drinking water and wastewater networks, waste discharges…). The objectives were reached due to the use of customised tools for each step of the process: diagnosis, investment plan, communication, implementation and follow-up.

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