Ixchiguan: first municipality in Guatemala to adopt microwatershed plan

08 July 2011 | News story

With technical support from IUCN through its Tacaná project, the Ixchiguan municipality has adopted a new integrated watershed approach into its municipal development plan.

Ixchiguan Mayor, Mr. Jerome Navarro, said that "the municipality of Ixchiguan is at the source of three very important basins, the rivers Suchiate, Cuilco and Coatán. They function as vital water recharge areas and therefore we must make our best efforts in achieving a more integrated management approach of water and natural resources in our town. In order to help us do this, we have adopted the model of community planning and microwatershed management developed by IUCN."

Through applying the ecosystem approach and focusing on sustainable livelihoods, the IUCN project Tacaná has developed a model of planning involving community water management. It is based on extensive community participation and recognition of watersheds as planning units. Involvement of local political authorities, community capacity building and integration of institutional efforts are further important elements.

The micro-watershed management plans are the means by which communities recognize, prioritize, plan and manage their water resources. They form a key factor which will contribute to improved local water governance as they integrate social, institutional, cultural, environmental and economic needs.

In Guatemala, municipal development plans have been traditionally developed based on the political-administrative boundaries of municipalities. As rivers cross these boundaries, the model has proven challenging in managing water resources as well as involving communities in a participatory way,” said Carlos Rosal, IUCN Regional Officer of the Water Management Unit in Guatemala.The IUCN Tacaná project is helping to remedy this challenge by applying micro-watershed management in the region and supporting the development of integrated water management in municipal plans.”

The model is characterized by being inclusive, highly participatory and based on strategic alliances to facilitate resolving environmental and social problems.

The project aims to integrate its efforts for the benefit of the communities and ecosystems of the Ixchiguan municipality, as well as scaling up efforts as part of a broader strategy for climate change adaption.

For more information, please contact carlos.rosal@iucn.org