Strengthening the Citizen Water Observatories Network
The Citizen Water Observatories are the best setting of citizen participation in the water resources oversight, and therefore, the enforcement of an approach seeking the highest community commitment in the preservation and safeguard of their water sources, promoting the sense of appropriation of their rivers and brooks. The Observatories carry out the following actions:The invigoration of the National Ecological Blue Flag Program- Category V: Micro-watersheds.The mud spheres festivals for the bioremediation of polluted water bodies.The regeneration of degraded ecosystems through reforestation programs.The participatory water quality monitoring campaigns.Cartographic analysis at the Citizen Water Observatories’ influence areas.Oversight and safeguard of National Water Bodies’ buffer zones.Community empowerment and training in the proper use of tools for the prevention and management of climate change related effects.1. The invigoration of the National Ecological Blue Flag Program- Category V: Micro-watershedsIt is an incentive for the improvement of the micro basins' health conditions focused on those located along streams, rivers and lakes, in order to raise awareness on the avoidance and mitigation of pollution through the establishment of civil society’s local committees.It enhances the organization and empowerment of communities settled on margins of rivers, brooks and lakes for the execution of safeguard activities, identification of contamination sources and clean up tasks oriented to water quality improvement. It encourages better health conditions and improved public health of Costa Rica’s inhabitants. 2. The mud spheres festivalsIt is a program aimed at Costa Rican communities in the use of bioremediation techniques as an additional tool to revert river contamination in their vicinity.Aimed at the gradual reversal of pollution in selected rivers. Each river must be assessed separately.It is oriented to accomplish the bioremediation process learning in school 's children.3. Regeneration of Degraded EcosystemsThe preservation of forest coverage benefits those who participate in the program and their communities as follows:Protects water replenishment areas in the high reaches Watersheds provide water for different domestic, farming and industrial uses, etc.Adds up to forested areas that strengthen biological corridors and the settlement of native forest vegetation.Improves water quality and modifies the flux time.Stabilizes soil due to the forests.Prevents floods and erosion processes along the river marginsMitigates high temperatures and CC related extreme climate events.Carbon sequestration.Biodiversity growth.Generates knowledge, raises awareness and commitment in communities towards their brooks, rivulets, rivers and water sources overall, thus promoting changes in the existing legislation.Enhances a new environmental culture through which inhabitants appropriate and compromise in the protection and management of the resources they depend on.Replication of forest coverage recovery plans to 70+ communities and 200 or more by 2025.Scientific knowledge and technical assistance that contributes to the development of new strategies for water bodies protection.The presence of trees along river margins have a vital effect on the running water’s temperature, and subsequently, on the reproduction and survival of fish and other species that dwell in these ecosystems.4. Participatory water quality monitoring activities Creates a communitarian participatory monitoring model.Resolves setbacks in human and material resources, as well as coverage problems related to monitoring sites in the country’s water bodies.Sets networks among Observatories with the purpose of generating representative and reliable water quality data in these communities. 5. Cartographic survey in the Citizen Water Observatories’ buffer zonesGeneration of reliable, updated and standardized information on the river course and its adjacent areas.Provides input for better knowledge and decision making on rivers protection.Allows to verify whether protected areas law is enforced or not.Provides inputs for experts (Judicial Research Body (OIJ) or Municipalities)Allows the knowledge of river reaches for the protection group. Promotes the use of this tool for the rest of the country.6. Oversight and safeguard of protected areas in National Water BodiesLegal support to organized groups that contribute to the rivers preservation.Guarantees through formal complaints to the compliance of buffer zones boundaries or protection areas to avoid disruptions that seriously affect the biological function of the river.Legally protects water bodies as key elements for the ecosystem, thus guaranteeing the connectivity of biological corridors and the habitats it shelters.Law enforcement by administrative authorities responsible for the compliance of buffer zones and protection areas established in the legislation.Prevention of river related natural disasters (flash floods, overflows and others) from dragging along and destroying low resilience poor households.7. Empowerment and training to communities in the correct use of prevention and management tools of Climate Change related effects Understanding in an effective and intelligent way how weather conditions negatively or positively affect people, agriculture, water and our rivers in general.Contributing to the optimization of productive activities.Learn about the days of highest rainfall as well as wind and temperature forecasts to coordinate conservation and environmental education activities such as:Rivers cleaning campaigns. Bioremediation projects (Mud Spheres Festivals)River picnics Water Quality studies Fauna monitoring inventories (birds, mammals, fish, etc.)Preventing risks through better decision making at the time of executing an activity, to carry it out safely without risking people's lives exposed to natural disasters such as floods or accidents related to slippery terrains resulting from rains which could cause falls and injuries to the participants.