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Title Community monitoring to facilitate climate change adaptation by local institutions in water-scarce regions of Central America
Post date 08/16/2018
C1 Background and Explanation of Rationale To better manage common pool resources, scholars and practitioners have recommended incorporating citizen monitoring into resource governance systems (Ostrom, 1990). Despite abundant case study evidence for these recommendations, empirical evidence for the impacts of community monitoring is scarce. Moreover, none of the existing studies were done in the context of natural resources. Whether citizen monitoring in the area of natural resources affects resource outcomes thus remains an open, empirical question. In our study we test the impact of community monitoring on the management of groundwater by community-based water management organizations (CBWMOs), which are the most important suppliers of water in rural areas of low and middle-income countries globally. To achieve this goal, we run a randomized controlled trial (RCT) with CBWMOs where we conduct public workshops to present the monitoring system and to recruit and train monitors. Monitors gather and report information using primarily a novel cellphone application called SIMA that distributes the information to CBWMO committee members and to the citizens in the respective community.
C2 What are the hypotheses to be tested? We hypothesize that citizen monitoring and communication will reduce water pumped from aquifers and will improve water quality. Our theory develops four primary mechanisms through which citizen monitoring work: (1) enhanced supply of information to the management committee on the real-time conditions of the water supply, water infrastructure and water use; (2) enhanced scrutiny of the management committees’ activities and performance by citizens, (3) greater community interest about the water system and its management performance, and (4) enhanced scrutiny of citizens actions. Changes in these primary mechanisms are hypothesized to affect other secondary mechanisms: better maintenance of infrastructure (repair leaks, hire a half-time or plumber availability), better management procedures (better pricing, better financial management, more transparency) and fewer violations of household water use restrictions (informal connections, water used as input in businesses). The better management procedures could directly affect water consumption by increasing prices to maximum permissible increasing-block levels, or it could increase resources by improving financial management, which could lead to more investment in maintenance and infrastructure. Better maintenance of infrastructure could improve water quality and reduce water waste, which could reduce water pumping, and improve cost-effectiveness of CBWMO efforts to deliver water. Fewer violations of water use restrictions could improve water quality, reduce water consumption and increase CBWMO income, which in turn could increase investment in the water system. The two main outcome variables are electricity expenditures from groundwater pumping and water quality. Six secondary variables capture mechanisms: (i) degree of conservation pricing, (ii) institutional count metric, (iii) maintenance expenditures and repairs needed, (iv) number of citizens’ suggestions or requests in the last month, (v)scrutiny of the management committees’ activities and performance done by citizens, and (vi) community interest about the water system and the management performance. We also measure seven moderators: (1) number of CBWMO water connections; (2) the average tenure (in years) of the management committee members (question 18); (3) the gender composition of the management committee (question 18); (4) age of the management committee members (question 18) (5) CBWMO’s belief about the severity of water scarcity; (6) the participation in the 2015 CBWMO Management Training RCT, and (7) the power-off system of the pumps.
C3 How will these hypotheses be tested? * We conducted an RCT with 161 CBWMOs: 80 in the treated group and 81 in the control group. We conduct workshops in the 80 treated CBWMOs to present the monitoring system and train monitors. Monitors are also incentivized to send weekly reports through the app and CBWMOs committee members are reminded to read the weekly reports. We collect baseline and endline surveys at the CBWMO level for almost all the variables, except for the electricity data that is provided by the energy companies and some process variables that are measured through the cellphone application. For the estimation of the main outcome variable electricity expenditures, we estimate a random effects model. See the description of all the other models in Section 5 in the Costa Rican Pre-Analysis Plan.
C4 Country Costa Rica
C5 Scale (# of Units) 161
C6 Was a power analysis conducted prior to data collection? Yes
C7 Has this research received Insitutional Review Board (IRB) or ethics committee approval? Yes
C8 IRB Number #HIRB00006127
C9 Date of IRB Approval 07/26/2017
C10 Will the intervention be implemented by the researcher or a third party? Researchers
C11 Did any of the research team receive remuneration from the implementing agency for taking part in this research? No
C12 If relevant, is there an advance agreement with the implementation group that all results can be published? not provided by authors
C13 JEL Classification(s) P48, Q54, C93