The Terrassa Water Observatory (OAT, Catalan acronym) is a project driven by the Citizens Parliament and the social movements found in the city of Terrassa. It is meant to channel the anthem of the social process to relocate water management to the municipality: “You write water, you read democracy!”
The OAT is a local participatory organ that works with full autonomy. It was created at the Municipal Plenary of the Town Hall in July, 2018 and formally constituted with its first meeting on the 20 th of February, 2019. The OAT’s started from the political will to improve the city’s governance by opening a space for the participation and collaboration of citizens and social agents. As stated in its Official Regulation, the OAT was created to establish a new citizen culture to manage common goods and services. Also meaning it is a democratic, social and political challenge.
The OAT promotes certain values on water. These values are settled through two main assumptions: water as a public responsibility; and, as a natural good indispensable for life and a human right. Water is a shared resource between people and nature. Therefore, we should use it responsibly and sustainably. It is also a scarce resource and will become even scarcer before climate change. Finally, is also a common good that cannot be treated as a commodity. These values are the building blocks for the city’s new water culture.
Mission and goals – About us
The main goal of the OAT is to articulate the people’s participation in strategic policy and decision making regarding the service, proposals, reports and studies, information and training, and public accountability. This goal is developed through the capacity to reaching agreement through consultation, assessments, deliberations and proposals. The outcomes are fully considered by the municipal government.
Its mission is to ensure compliance with the guiding principles of water management, as found in its Official Regulation. Also to ensure reaching the water goals defined in chapter 5 of the Service memory.
The Observatory is meant to create innovative ways of making politics through the collaborative will of the local government and the social and political stakeholders. Boosting up new participatory paths for the co-governance of public services and policies, it also contributes to the improvement of common services and goods towards governance for sustainability.
The OAT main tasks are:
- Exercise public control over water supply and the water cycle
- Issue reports, studies, proposals, opinions and publications
- Help develop a new water culture
- Participate in the definition of policies indicators for monitoring and transparency
- Stir up participatory processes
The Plenary. The main directing organ; it is also where agreements are reached since it channels the co-responsibility between the social, political and technical spheres found in water supply.
The Permanent Commission. The executive organ in charge of managing, coordinating and controlling how the OAT works in terms of achieving goals and developing tasks.
Working groups. These are spaces fully open for citizen participation; entities, collectives and individuals in general can become part of these groups to debate and reflect on proposed issues.
The OAT is supported by three open and collaborative networks:
Education Table. A network for developing a new water culture through educational tools and proposals for schools in order to incorporate related curricula and competencies.
Research Table. Aims to develop applied and integrated research with a staff from the academic, social activism, technical and professional fields; is meant to aid in achieving the OAT’s goals and tasks.
Citizen Table. Involves all the social entities with an active collaboration in developing the Water Watch project.