Since 2002, the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food has conducted research for development in ten small river basins in the Andean region. Researchers have sought to identify ways to share the costs and benefits of water resources between all water users, including relatively wealthy, downstream urban water consumers and relatively poor, upstream rural communities. People in the Andean region are facing many challenges that actualize the need to share water and land resources more equitably. Globalization of trade, changes in food consumption patterns, ecosystem degradation caused by agriculture, pollution caused by mining, climate change, and urbanization is leading to competition and conflicts between water and land users. Often downstream areas are using most of the water, although nearly all of it originates from upstream areas. At the same time, increased competition over water is slowly creating interest for conserving ecosystems, improving infrastructure, and adopting new water management practices. The need to share water more equitably brings about the challenge of how to establish benefit-sharing mechanisms. Benefit-sharing mechanisms encourage a redistribution of benefits derived from water resources, for example by fostering investments that promote sustainable production and livelihood resilience in poor rural areas. CPWF regards benefit-sharing mechanisms as tools through which the benefits and risks associated with natural resource management, or development, can be more equitably shared. CPWF set out to find ways to increase water productivity and reduce water-related conflicts through the establishment of equitable benefit-sharing mechanisms.
CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food. Summary of CPWF Research in the Andean System of River Basins. (2014) 6 pp.