Community Driven Watershed Management for Climate Change Adaptation in Nicaragua

Proyecto terminado

Environmental degradation and climate change are reducing the capacity of the Dipilto River watershed to provide ecosystem services (water, forest) to the population, increasing their vulnerability and deepening poverty. The program will strengthen dialogue among stakeholders, empower communities and provide economic incentives for restoring the hydrologic and environmental equilibrium of the watershed, increasing the resilience of its 27 thousand inhabitants.

Región/País Tema Período Presupuesto
Cambio climático y medio ambiente
Environmental policy
Reducción de riesgos de catástrofes
Preservación de los recursos hídricos
01.01.2016 - 30.06.2020
CHF  8’000’000

Nicaragua is one of the countries that are most vulnerable to climate change and climatic variability. In recent years, extreme and irregular rainfalls as well as more prolonged and extensive droughts are aggravating the pre-existing conditions of environmental degradation in the watersheds and increasing the vulnerability of the population to climate change (CC). Nicaragua is deemed a middle-income country; nevertheless, extreme poverty is still predominant in the rural areas. The government of Nicaragua has prioritized some watersheds of national interest, including the watershed of the Dipilto River, partially located in the dry corridor, because it provides water to the city of Ocotal (40 thousand people). The volume of water and its quality have dropped drastically in the last 15 years. Some 6 thousand families (27 thousand persons) live in the watershed; women head 35% of these families and women are the owners of 39% of the farms in the watershed.


Increased resilience of the ecosystems, the individuals, the families and the urban and rural communities, in the Dipilito River watershed, in the face of natural hazards and climate change effects.

Grupos destinarios

Direct: 27 thousand persons:

  • Rural: 900 families (6,000 persons); 35% headed by women.
  • Urban: 5,100 families (21,000 persons, 52% women) in the cities of Ocotal and Dipilto.

Indirect: 50 thousand persons (53% women) (total population of the municipalities of Dipilto and Ocotal) who will benefit from greater availability of water, and in general with the improvement of environmental conditions and more ecosystem services in the watershed.

Efectos a medio plazo
  1. Greater availability of water for the urban and rural population that lives in the Dipilto River watershed, through effective watershed management using an approach of shared responsibility among public, private and community stakeholders.
  2. Farmers and the urban target population adopt CCA practices and technologies that improve the ecosystem services of the watershed (more forest, better soil, more water) and make them more resilient in the face of CC and climate variability.

Resultados previstos:  

  1. Greater knowledge and strengthened technical, negotiating, lobbying, and management capacities of the public-private stakeholders organized in the Watershed Committee.
  2. Improved capacity and more adequate use of the water supply system.
  3. Municipalities in the Dipilto River watershed with capacities to implement the priority actions identified in Municipal Risk Management Plans and CC adaptation plans.
  4. Individuals, families and rural and urban communities actively involved in the management and implementation of the CAA agenda of their watershed, with knowledge about CC-DRR, with values and skills for protecting forests, soil, water, and biodiversity.
  5. Male and female producers and rural and urban organizations adequately manage ecosystems and diversify their productive practices, as a result of the implementation of incentive and environmental compensation mechanisms in the framework of the agenda for climate change adaptation and integral watershed management.

Resultados de las fases anteriores:  

  • The watershed intervention area defined by the government of Nicaragua on the basis of environmental criteria.
  • A watershed diagnosis prepared in a participatory manner with the government.
  • The implementation mechanism and intervention strategy defined.
  • CCA practices implemented in similar projects systematized.
  • To obtain baseline data, a system was installed for monitoring climate variables, water flow volumes, and sediment suspension in the Dipilto River, as well as in the Jícaro and Mosonte Rivers, located in neighbouring watersheds, with a view to probable replication in phase 2 of the program. Pluviometric stations and limnimeters were installed and systematic analysis undertaken of physical and chemical water qualities.

Dirección / Officina Federal responsable COSUDE
Crédito Cooperación al desarrollo
Contrapartes del proyecto Contraparte del contrato
Institución estatal extrangera
  • Central State of South East

Otras contrapartes

Nicaraguan Institute of Territorial Studies (INETER); National Water Authority (ANA); Nicaraguan Water and Sewerage Corporation (ENACAL); and the Social Emergency Fund (Nuevo FISE).

Municipal Governments of Ocotal and Dipilto.

Coordinación con otros proyectos y actores


Presupuesto Fase en curso Presupuesto suizo CHF    8’000’000 Presupuesto actual suizo ya emitido CHF    6’349’678
Fases del proyecto Fase 2 01.06.2020 - 31.12.2023   (Completed)

Fase 1 01.01.2016 - 30.06.2020   (Completed)