Multilevel governance for local management of drinking water in Latin America: case studies from Costa Rica, Honduras and Mexico


Water supply
local governance
water committees
sustainability of water.


Adequate supply of drinking water at local level depends, in many cases on community participation. We compare three governance regimes for drinking water management based on multilevel collective action: 1) ASADAS in Costa Rica, 2) Water Boards  (JAA, for its acronym in spanish) in Honduras and 3) Water User Committees (CA, for its acronym in spanish) in Mexico. Our data is based on participant observation, and formal and informal interviews. Legal framework, structure and operation, and efficiency for provision and conservation of water resources are analyzed. ASADAS and Water Boards are legal entities with recognized community participation and collective action, while Water Committees have no legal support by the Mexican Government. Regimens showed similar structures and operation, but different economic capabilities and efficiencies in the provision of water and in ensuring water recharge. Recognition and empowerment of the Water Committees in Mexico could increase and ensure water provision in the long- term.