Territorial water governance in the Gulf of Fonseca region

Project completed
Without water, there is no life
Without water, there is no life ©FDFA

The programme facilitates the establishment of a system of territorial water governance, sustainable and integral water resource management, and the construction of 6 strategic water works as a result of private-public agreement in the Choluteca, Sampile and Nacaome watersheds in the region of the Gulf of Fonseca. The program empowers public-private water users and political stakeholders who lead national water policy and it indirectly benefits 66,000 families.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Climate change and environment
Rule of Law - Democracy - Human rights
Environmental policy
Water resources conservation
Democratic participation and civil society
Water sector policy
01.01.2016 - 17.04.2021
CHF  8’050’000

In the region of the Gulf of Fonseca the diversity of the productive systems, soil quality and economic structures is especially great in watersheds like Choluteca, Sampile and Nacaome that have the most concentrated population and an expanding economy. They face serious problems of water scarcity and quality due to the effects of climate change combined with over-exploitation and inadequate management of natural resources. This generates increased competition and conflict over diverse uses of water resources.


Contribute to the gradual development of a system of territorial water governance by three watershed councils in the region of the Gulf of Fonseca, ensuring equitable, sustainable and integral water management.

Target groups
  • The Watershed, Sub-Watershed and Micro-Watershed Councils of the Choluteca, Sampile and Nacaome rivers.
  • Representative local stakeholders from the private sector, environmental organizations, water boards, municipalities and municipal associations that participate in watershed structures.
  • Residents and the various water users who benefit from strategic investments in the two priority watersheds.
Medium-term outcomes

Outcome 1: The Choluteca, Sampile and Nacaome Watershed Councils, in conjunction with the Goascorán Watershed take inclusive joint decisions and consolidate their positions as water governance bodies in accordance with national policies and the legal framework.

Outcome 2: Within the framework of the Choluteca, Sampile and Nacaome watershed bodies, the local governments in the Gulf of Fonseca region lead the process of integral water management, strategic investment, and application of best practices for conservation, use and sustainability, providing water security for the vulnerable population.


Expected results:  

  • Watershed bodies create public-private spaces for agreement and pacific management of water conflicts.
  • Public and private stakeholders participating in the watershed structures have strengthened capacities and powers for managing water needs.
  • Participating public institutions have improved technical capacity for exercising their water governance powers.
  • Public-private stakeholders in the two priority watersheds apply good practices for rational and sustainable water use.
  • Watershed Councils have improved capacities for managing strategic and sustainable water investments.
  • Within the framework of the General Water Law, the Ministry of the Environment has approved the “Special Regulation for Watershed Bodies” that establishes the creation, legalization and functions of the watershed bodies.

Results from previous phases:  

  • The issue of territorial water governance has been raised and has become a topic of discussion among various public and private stakeholders in the Gulf region.
  • The principal public-private stakeholders in the region are interested in participating in the process.
  • Physical and social characterization studies of each of the five watersheds in the Gulf of Fonseca region form the basis for establishment of a regional information system.
  • Approved Ministerial Agreement that regulates the organization, legalization and operation of the watersheds bodies.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
  • Other international or foreign NGO North

Coordination with other projects and actors
  • Proyecto BRIDGE (SDC) – IUCN.
  • SuizAgua programme, Colombia on the waterprint.
  • Our Goascorán Watershed programme.
  • Human Rights and Social Audit Strengthening programme (FDHAS).
  • Gulf of Fonseca SURCOMPITE – DEIT.
  • Cooperation agency initiative in the south “Dry Corridor Alliance”.
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    8’050’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    7’712’811
Project phases Phase 2 01.04.2021 - 30.06.2024   (Completed)

Phase 1 01.01.2016 - 17.04.2021   (Completed)