Progress of reciprocal collaboration between mountain villages and urban areas through water resources management (2009)

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Mountain villages in Japan are generally facing serious problems by losing vitality and declining economy due to the depopulation and aging. Nowadays, the marginal community is one of the biggest issues of nationwide Japan.

On the other hand, dams have supported the economical growth of Japan, however, still, there are strong needs to secure the water resources for urban and irrigation use.

At the time of the implementation of the dam project, the residents living in the dam project area are sought to relocate from their original places to other places. Some of the residents leave for far places from their original village community.

Therefore, the dam project has the possibility to facilitate/trigger the degradation of vitality of the mountain villages because of the decrease of population near the project area. In fact, the discontent of remained residents and mountain villages are accumulated because of the gap extension against prosperous urban areas.

Based on these backgrounds, various actions to enrich the reciprocal collaboration have been taken by persons concerned about the comprehensive point of view and those measures have been improved gradually.

This paper introduces three approaches:
  • the progress and contents of support program for water source area at the time of dam construction since 1970s;
  • the current situation of progress on reciprocal collaboration between mountain villages and urban areas through water resources management;
  • the latest institutional set-up of public sector towards the rebuilding of mountain villages.
The paper also illustrates how industrialization in Japan has invited the one way move of massive population from rural to urban areas during the last 50 years. Declining of birth rate nationwide also has progressed at the same time.

As a result, the depopulation and aging of rural areas have been getting more severely nationwide. Because of the declining of the young generations, the abandonment of cultivation of lands and the maintenance of forests has progressed. It has become difficult for residents to continue their traditional religious event.

The losing sustainability of village community, so called, the marginal community has become one of the most serious problems of nationwide Japan as well as the mountain villages in recent years.

Results of the study show the following:
  • the aim of water resources management is to contribute to building the prosperous society at the comprehensive point of view;
  • the effort to improve the water resource management never ends.
Year: 2009
Language: English
In: Global Development Network (GDN):,