De Berkel River, The Netherlands

The De Berkel River has mobilized a recent grassroots stakeholder platform that engages with socionatural riverscape planning through restoration of meanders, removal of dikes and creative integration of river flows, life and livelihoods in the relatively deprived Zutphen region. It is a local initiative in interaction with the major ‘Room for the River’ and land use planning programs executed by the Dutch government in the rivers Rhine and IJssel.

Piatúa River, Ecuador

Around the highly biodiverse Amazon basin of the Piatúa River, in 2019, a coalition of indigenous communities, environmental NGOs, scholars and the national ombudsman have halted hydropower dam-building. Developing multiple alternative riverine water uses, practices and local technologies, they sued the State and international companies to stop oil and mining pollution, and now seek to mobilize the Constitution’s Rights of Nature.

Serpis River, Spain

The Serpis River faces several problems like discharge of untreated waste water, flood risks, invasive species, a dam inhibiting fish migration and water over-exploitation for irrigation. A civic initiative created a multi-stakeholder platform to raise awareness and discuss the river’s problems and possible solutions. Evoking new water culture notions, NGOs have contested the water transfer to agro-exporters, defending Serpis’ nature values.

Samaná River, Colombia

The Samaná River is one of Colombia’s last free-flowing rivers; it has been the site of fierce contestations against mega hydropower dam building. In 2019, riverine communities and environmental organizations protested successfully based on notions of Rights of Nature.

Guadalhorce River, Spain

In the headwaters of the Guadalhorce River three immense dams have been built for hydropower, irrigation and urban drinking water supply; further damming of tributaries is planned. Yet, local grassroots coalitions resist and fight for multi-functional ecological river flows and inventive riverine practices that enliven community livelihoods.

Quimsacocha river complex, Ecuador

The Quimsacocha River complex comprises 30 interconnected lagoons providing drinking and irrigation water. Communities protest against gold-mining development that pollutes their pastoral and agro-productive territory and misrecognizes the cultural and spiritual value of Quimsacocha’s sacred waters. A local-national coalition develops innovative wetland caring and sharing technologies, and mobilizes Rights of Nature to defend this wetlands’ rivers.

Biesbosch estuary and Het Wantij River, The Netherlands

The local environmental NGO Stichting Het Wantij has fought for over a decade to protect the river territory of Het Wantij (part of the Biesbosch nature park) against large infrastructure (bridges, roads), multinational chemical industries’ water pollution and felling of trees, promoting innovative techniques of ecological riverbank management. The NGO has successfully filed court cases to make the government comply with environmental legislation.

Ranchería River, Colombia

Ranchería River and its tributaries in the arid North-East of Colombia, have been affected by mining-related water diversion projects, pollution and dam construction. After indigenous Afro-Colombian communities (Wayuu) and environmental NGOs protested based on Wayuu worshipping of the river, ancient and recent river-dialoguing and co-living techniques, the Constitutional Court has recently recognized the rivers’ rights and installed a commission of guardians.