Brazil: Bahia: experts' missions on the rio Jiquiriça 2000 - 2002

The Rio Jiquiriça is located in the Bahia State and flows out into the Atlantic Ocean. The Brazilian Ministry of the Environment, Water Resources and Legal Amazonia / Secretariat for Water Resources entrusted IOWater with experts' missions for the implementation of integrated water resource management in this river basin. These missions will support institutional reforms by assisting our local partners, especially the Intermunicipal Consortium of the Jiquiriçá Valley (CIVJ), with the definition of methods for setting up possible basin structures (Committee of water users) and their technical tools (databases; GIS, etc.) and planning instruments (a Water Development and Management Scheme).

One of these missions, carried out in Salvador de Bahia and in the Rio Jiquiriça basin, allowed the preparation of a methodological guide to set up a geographic information system

The Brazilian national water law of 8 January 1997 defines this system as a "system for gathering, processing, storing and retrieving information on water resources and on factors intervening in their management". Therefore, the information system is a tool for planning and land use, a support for dialogue, for the society's mobilisation and communication.

The steps for setting up this Information System (IS)

  • As a prerequisite to the setting-up of this IS, IOWater proposed to the CIVJ the following methodology: define the objectives of the information system, create a working group which will assist the CIVJ with this approach (its composition may reflect the future Jiquiriça basin committee); define the system contents, define and analyse the kind of information to be collected, its availability, its format, choose the appropriate and evolutive computerised tool and equipment, define the human and financial resources.

Content and shape of the Information System

IOWater proposed to the CIVJ a four-step approach to set up the IS:

  • Definition of the topics to be dealt with by the IS,
  • Acquisition of information to establish an inventory and assessment of the Jiquiriça river basin, by carrying out:
    • -    an assessment of local participation by mobilising the local population
    • -    a bibliographical analysis of the existing documents
    • -    a survey of the key stakeholders
  • Preparation of an action programme and management measures, starting with the definition of management objectives
  • Definition of reference indicators to allow the follow up and evaluation of the actions concerned.

The IS should not be a cartographic document only. IOWater proposed that it be composed of 3 complementary and indivisible documents:

  • A report with an analysis of the gathered information, proposals for improving access to information and for standardising its format, the elements explaining the assessment, the objectives and actions needed for developing the Jiquiriça river basin,
  • A database, with technical sheets for each document and analysed information. It is the basis for the setting-up of a geographically-referenced information system,
  • A cartographic document with a series of 10 topical maps illustrating the basin assessment, 5 to 6 maps providing a geographic view of management and development objectives, 5 to 6 maps with a geographic view of the measures to be taken and actions to be implemented.

Society's mobilisation

In order to involve the Jiquiriça basin's key local stakeholders in the preparation of the information system, IOWater proposed that CIVJ initiate a programme for mobilising the society. Three days of meetings, training, reflection were organised to share and exchange knowledge of the river basin. They are included in each step of the information system implementation