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Revista Reflexiones

On-line version ISSN 1659-2859Print version ISSN 1021-1209


ESPINOZA CISNEROS, Édgar  and  BLANCO RAMIREZ, Sara. Participative methodologies applied to socio-hydrology and their potential for social change: some reflections. Reflexiones [online]. 2020, vol.99, n.2, pp.125-158. ISSN 1659-2859.

Introduction and objective: Within the context of the II Research Sessions of the University of Costa Rica’s (UCR) at the Faculty of Social Sciences, this article examines the social change potential of participatory methodologies for environmental management, especially within the emerging field of socio-hydrology. To this end, it introduces two current research projects, striving to influence decision-making at various governance levels. Methods: Both projects apply new participatory approaches characterized by emphasizing the technological component. One of these projects relies on citizen science to strengthen environmental management capacities of local community groups through participatory monitoring of surface water quality in a watershed in the North Region of Costa Rica. This region is characterized by increasing social-ecological problems associated to water pollution from intensive agricultural activities. The other project presented utilizes participatory geographic information systems (PGIS) for mapping and spatially analyzing social values attributed to the ecosystem services provided by the Savegre fluvial system in the Central Pacific slope of Costa Rica. Results and conclusions: Based on these experiences, it is considered that these methodological approaches have the potential to strengthen regional and local sustainability strategies. However, they must be supported with a greater access for civil society to technologies, an increased development of more user-friendly scientific applications and technological tools, as well as a greater environmental awareness, especially within the Costa Rican context.

Keywords : Citizen Science; Participatory geographic information systems; Watershed; Social values; Water quality.

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