Social innovations for sustainable water use
Small-scale experiences in Lajedo de Timbaúba (Brazil) and Tamera (Portugal)
Keywords:social innovation, water resources management, sustainable communities, sustainable transitions, Brazil, Portugal
Water is the most valuable resource on the planet. It is the basis of life, fundamental not only for the preservation of ecosystems but also for social well-being. Currently, and due to the climate crisis, contemporary societies are faced with structural challenges due to the scarcity of water resources. Traditional ways of managing this resource have not been able to respond to these challenges. Therefore, it is necessary to reflect on innovative approaches from a social point of view that can contribute to a sustainable transition where water represents an unavoidable dimension. This article argues that water should be managed in an integrated way, with the articulation of different actors so that solutions can take into account territorial specificities and individuals' needs. In this sense, the article mobilises two case studies - the Lajedo de Timbaúba community (Brazil) and the Tamera community (Portugal) - located in territories that recurrently suffer from drought situations to analyse their water retention and management strategies, categorising them as social innovations. The analysis reveals that these small-scale experiences - defined as niches - play a predominant role as places where innovative practices with potential for scalability emerge. However, this potential lacks a set of articulations between different institutional levels to be able to materialise.
Argento, D. & Jan van Helden, G. (2009) Reforming the Dutch water chain: How radical ambitions turned into a moderate pace of change, Journal of Accounting and Organizational Change, 5(3), 321–343.
Avelino, F. (2015) Transformative Social Innovation Narrative of Tamera Ecovillage. TRANSIT: EU SSH.2013.3.2-1, Grant agreement no: 613169. Disponível em http://www.transitsocialinnovation.eu/
Avelino, F., Wittmayer, J., Pel, B., Weaver, P., Dumitru, A., Haxeltine, A., Kemp, R., Jorgensen, M., Bauler, T., Ruijskin, S., O´Riordan, T. (2019). Transformative social innovation and (dis)empowerment. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 145, 195–206.
Borges, M. A., Dandolini, G. A., Soares, A. L. (2020) O Processo de Formação de Parcerias Intersetoriais em Iniciativas de Inovação Social em Portugal. Análise Social, 1(234), 118–143.
Brunori, G., Maladrin, V. & Rossi, A. (2013) Trade-off or convergence? The role of food security in the evolution of food discourse in Italy, Journal of Rural Studies, 29, 19–29.
CMMAD – Comissão Mundial sobre Meio Ambiente e Desenvolvimento (1991). Nosso Futuro Comum, Rio de Janeiro, Fundação Getúlio Vargas.
Comissão de Coordenação e Desenvolvimento Regional do Alentejo (2020). Estratégia Regional, CCDR Alentejo.
Correia, S. N., Oliveira, V. M., Feitosa, M. J., & Goméz, C. R. P. (2018). Inovação Social para o Desenvolvimento Sustentável: um caminho possível. Administração Pública e Gestão Social, 10(3), 199–212. https://doi.org/10.21118/apgs.v10i3.5228
Fabrin, A. U. (2016) Free love and save the world: An anthropological analysis of how a free love culture is defined, maintained and communicated in the polyamorous community, Tamera, Portugal. Lund University. (Dissertação de mestrado).
Farfus, D. & Rocha, M. C. (2007). Inovação social: Um conceito em construção. In D. Farfus & M. C. Rocha (orgs.), Inovações sociais. Curitiba: SESI/SENAI/IEL/UNINDUS. (Coleção Inova, v. 2).
Favarão C. B. & Favareto A. (2021). Abordagem sistêmica, coalizões e territórios: contribuições teóricas para a análise das transições sustentáveis em sistemas agroalimentares, Revista Raízes, 41(2).
Floress K,, Prokopy, L. S., Allred, S. B. (2011). Its who you know: social capital, social networks and watershed groups, Society and Natural Resources, 24, 871–886. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08941920903493926
Forouzani, M. & Karami, E. (2011). Agricultural water poverty index and sustainability, Agronomy Sustainable Development, 31, 415–432.
Geels, F. W. (2011). The multi-level perspective on sustainability transitions: Responses to seven criticisms. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 1, 22–40.
Geels, F.W. (2004). From sectoral systems of innovation to socio-technical systems: insights about dynamics and change from sociology and institutional theory. Research Policy, 33, 897–920.
Hofstede, R.; Vásconez, S.; Cerra, M. (2015). Vivir en los páramos: Percepciones, vulnerabilidades, capacidades y gobernanza ante el cambio climático. Quito: UICN.
IBGE – Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (2012). Perfil dos Municípios Brasileiros, IBGE, Rio de Janeiro.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). (2021-2022). Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/9781009157964
Kenis, A. & Lievens, M. (2015) The Limits of the Green Economy. From re-inventing capitalism to re-politicising the present. Nova Iorque, Routledge.
Köhler, J., Geels, F. W., Kern, F., Markard, J., Onsongo, E., Wieczorek, A., Alkemade, F., Avelino, F., Bergek, A., Boons, F., Fünfschilling, L. et al. (2019). An agenda for sustainability transitions research: State of the art and future directions. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 31, 1–32. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eist.2019.01.004
Kozeny, G. (1995). Intentional communities: Lifestyles based on ideals, in Fellowship for Intentional Communities (Ed), Communities directory: A guide to cooperative living, Londres, Routledge, Fellowship for Intentional Community, 18–24.
Loorbach, D., Frantzeskaki, N. & Avelino, F. (2017). Sustainability Transitions Research: Transforming Science and Practice for Societal Change. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 42(1), 599–626.
Margerum, R. D. & Robinson, C. (2015) Collaborative partnerships and the challenges for sustainable water management, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 12, 53–58. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2014.09.003
Müller, B. & Christian, D. L. (2019). Water Retention Landscapes for Regenerative Ecology and Human Cooperation: The Example of Tamera Ecovillage, Portugal. In Ecovillages around the World: 20 Regenerative Designs for Sustainable Communities Beyond Sustainability (pp. 198–209). Findhorn Press.
Müller, B., Saretzki, R. & Solarte, N. (2021). Regenerative Water and Land Use Planning in Tamera Ecovillage, Portugal, Environmental Science and Engineering, 10 (3), 79–88.
Nogueira, C., Pinto, H. & Marques, J.F. (2019). Innovative and transition potential of intentional sustainable communities: Towards an exploratory conceptual model, CIDADES, Comunidades e Territórios, 39, 155–173.
Nogueira, C., Pinto, H. & Marques, J.F. (2022). Intentional sustainable communities and sustainable development goals: from micro-scale implementation to scalability of innovative practices, Journal of Environmental Planning and Management. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09640568.2022.2106553
Pahl-Wostl, C., Craps, M., Dewulf, A., Mostert, E., Tabara, D., & Taillieu, T. (2007). Social learning and water resources management, Ecology and Society, 12(2).
Pinto, H. (2020). Social Innovation and Sustainable Consumption: Research and Action for Societal Transformation. CIDADES, Comunidades e Territórios, 40, 249–252.
Pinto, H., Nogueira, C., Guerreiro, J. A., Sampaio, F. (2021). Social Innovation and the Role of the State: Learning from the Portuguese Experience on Multi-Level Interactions, World, 2(1), 62–80. https://doi.org/10.3390/world2010005
Ramírez, R. R., Clercq, W., Jackson. M. N. (2019). Human Water Governance: A Social Innovation Model to Reduce the Inequalities of Water Services in South African Informal Settlements. In L.C. Carvalho, C. Rego, M. R. Lucas, M.I. Sánchez-Hernández, A. Viana (Eds.), New Paths of Entrepreneurship Development - The Role of Education, Smart Cities, and Social Factors, Suiça: Springer Cham, 231–255.
Rip, A. & Kemp, R. (1998). Technological change. In S. Rayner, & E. L. Malone (Eds.), Human choice and climate change: Vol. II, Resources and Technology, Battelle Press. 327–399.
Robinson, C. J., Taylor, B., Vella, K., Wallington, T. (2014). Working knowledge for collaborative water planning, International Journal of Water Governance, 2, 43–60. http://dx.doi.org/10.7564/13-IJWG4.
Rodrigues, M. C. A. (2009). Saberes e Práticas em Experiência de Construção da Sustentabilidade no Meio Rural Nordestino. Natal-RN: Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte (Tese de Doutoramento).
Roose, I. & Panez, A. (2020). Social Innovations as A Response to Dispossession: Community Water Management in View of Socio-Metabolic Rift in Chile, Water, 12, 566. http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/w12020566
Sareen, S., Baillie, D., & Kleinwächter, J. (2018). Transitions to future energy systems: Learning from a community test field. Sustainability, 11(24), 7119. http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/su11247119
Serrano, V. (2017). Tamera Ecovillage: Regenerating Water and Community, Permaculture Magazine, 91, 36–39.
Seyfang, G. & Smith, A. (2007). Grassroots innovations for sustainable development: Towards a new research and policy agenda, Environmental Politics, 16, 584–603.
Tostes, M., Espejo, M., Macedo, E., Torres, F. (2020). Water Resources Management in Vulnerable Ecosystems: Quiroz River Basin, Piura, European Journal of Sustainable Development, 9(4), 33-43.
Yokwe S. (2009). Water productivity in smallholder irrigation schemes in South Africa, Agric. Water Management, 96, 1223–1228.
Ziegler, R. (2017). Citizen Innovation as Niche Restoration – A Type of Social Innovation and Its Relevance for Political Participation and Sustainability, Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, 8(3), 338–353.
Copyright (c) 2023 Maria da Conceição Alves Rodrigues, Carla Nogueira, Hugo Pinto
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.Cidades, Comunidades e Territórios by DINÂMIA'CET-IUL is licensed under a Creative Commons Atribuição-Uso Não-Comercial-Proibição de realização de Obras Derivadas 4.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.