In Lingmuteychu catchment in the Bhutanese highlands competition over water for rice irrigation has caused conflicts between communities for generations. Traditional rules allow upstream villages such as Limbukha to control the release of water to downstream villages – to the gross disadvantage of the latter. Using the innovative companion modeling approach, upstream and downstream user perspectives and needs were considered in the formulation of a new water agreement. Participants explored virtual situations through a combination of role playing games and computer simulations, along with discussions and negotiations about real-world problems. Translating these into concrete plans of action helped them to discuss their differences and work toward mutually acceptable solutions.
The villagers ended up forming a functional watershed management committee (WMC)–the first of its kind in the country. The WMC was composed of seven villages in the catchment, and later evolved to include five more villages. Its success led to the Ministry of Agriculture requesting that the same approach be applied in resolving water disputes in another part of the country
Anon. Learning to Share Water in the Highlands of Bhutan Using the Companion Modeling Approach. The CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food, Sri Lanka (2013) 3 pp.