Best Practice in the Use of the Water Sources of Portoviejo Canton, Ecuador, and Its Parishes

Best Practice in the Use of the Water Sources of Portoviejo Canton, Ecuador, and Its Parishes

Copyright: © 2023 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-9099-0.ch012
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Water is a fundamental element for the sustenance of all living beings in nature, hence the importance of its conservation and the correct management of its sources. In the case of the Portoviejo River, water is used as a means of irrigation in plantations, a drinking water supply to the city, and a space for developing tourism. However, new settlements along the banks of the Portoviejo River have led to a rise in pollution levels and other misuses of the water. Owing to these circumstances, there was a clear need to evaluate the historical background and conservation mechanisms of water sources used by the canton authorities and its control bodies. The main objective of this study was to carry out an exhaustive analysis of good practices in the use of water sources within the Portoviejo Canton. The study used a hermeneutic research approach, which allows the researcher to perform a qualitative analysis of various interpretations of different texts through a dialectical process, which supports the investigation and substantiates the results obtained.
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Natural resources are of great importance because of the value they represent for human subsistence. According to the United Nations (UN) (2023), “water is at the epicenter of sustainable development and is fundamental for socioeconomic development, energy, food production, ecosystems and for the survival of human beings”. The care of these resources means the guarantee of survival on this planet. Nonetheless, currently 2.2 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water services (World Health Organization (WHO), 2022a) and 4.2 billion people do not have safely managed sanitation services, while 3 billion lack basic hand-washing facilities (UNICEF, 2019). Water is the key to the life of all species of plants and animals, so its care should not be neglected anywhere in the world (Krause & Strang, 2016). The planet's water is maintained in different reserves: oceans, lakes, rivers, groundwater, glaciers, the atmosphere, among others. Of these reservoirs, the oceans are the most important, storing 97% of the total water resource; however, this saltwater is of limited direct use. The availability of fresh water is therefore restricted and its distribution in the world is variable, which is why its care is essential (IICA, 2008).

Water sources offer a large number of benefits to social groups living along the banks of rivers or lakes, in addition to contributing to the local economy. Water is an economic resource for which there is a limited supply and a growing demand, one which tends to exceed the availability of the resource (Ortiz et al., 2017). Natural resources must be used responsibly and even more so when it comes to water for human consumption. A large part of the weight of this responsibility falls on public institutions, which are responsible for the proper administration and distribution of drinking water, as well as its treatment and distribution in optimal conditions for human consumption. However, all citizens have a duty to make good use of the resource that is being provided, either for the daily consumption of drinking water or for agricultural purposes.

According to the United Nations World Water Development Report 2023, cooperation and partnerships represent the key to fulfilling the water related aims (United Nations (UN), 2023). Also, according to specialists, access to clean water and sanitation represents a vital part in accomplishing the human rights in terms of a successful sustainable water management (World Water Week (WWW), 2022).

Pollution processes are an important issue in environmental sustainability and a challenge for the world, imposing themselves on government agendas at the global level (Bordeleau et al., 2008; Xue et al., 2012; Zhang et al., 2018; Fadhullah et al., 2020). In 2020, 45% of the domestic wastewater generated in the world was discharged without applying safe treatment, and it is estimated that at least 10% of the world's population consumes food irrigated with wastewater (WHO, 2022b). The contamination of water sources is an issue of special relevance and delicacy since it is common for factories to dump contaminated water into all types of waterways, which are then left untreated. This represents a double problem from both the action of the contaminators and through the omission of responsibility by the public authorities (Halder & Islam, 2015; Luque & Jiménez, 2019).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Globalization: Concept used to describe the growing interdependence of the world's economies, cultures, and populations, brought about by cross-border trade in goods and services, technology, knowledge and flows of investment, people, and information. It also generates large asymmetries.

Water: Is at the core of sustainable development and is critical for socio-economic development, energy and food production, healthy ecosystems and for human survival itself.

Climate Change: Means a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.

Public Policy: This refers to decisions and actions that a government takes when addressing public or collective issues.

Partnerships and Cooperation for Water: This refers to understanding the critical role of water related aims and targets at an international level, in a world that is constantly facing important negative effects from pollution and global changes in terms of biodiversity, ecosystem, and climate.

Economic Globalization: This is a phenomenon in expansion that causes profound changes on the world stage. It revolves around trade, the flow of investment, financial capital, division of labor and specialization. The concept is not limited only to economic variables since its effects extend to individuals, society to the state. Developing countries are experiencing stagnation in the face of their inability to cope with globalization, which is compounded by poor management of their financial markets, leading to an increase in the income inequality gap. Economic globalization brings with it the mobilization of goods and capital, reduces distance between borders and energizes international trade with some alterations to sovereignty.

Resilience: Transformations within a complex system related to the capacity for self-organization while maintaining internal structure, together with the ability to create adaptive responses, generate knowledge, experience, and learning. Resilience and sustainability are directly related to changes within societies, economies, and the human system as a whole. The transformation of systems is inevitable since it allows systems to strengthen.

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