Operationalizing integrated water resource management (IWRM) often involves decentralization of water management via community-based management (CBM). While attention has been given to the components leading to successful CBM, less is known about what factors motivate people's willingness to participate (WTP) in such programs. This study analyzed factors that influence household WTP in CBM in a transboundary watershed located where El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras converge – the Trifinio Region. Several variables were hypothesized to influence WTP: sense of community (SOC), dependence on water resources, level of concern for water resources, and socio-economic characteristics. In 2014, quantitative and qualitative data were collected from 62 households in five communities. Most respondents reported high levels of WTP in future CBM initiatives, and multivariate regression analysis revealed that SOC was the most important predictor of WTP, with wealth and perceptions of watershed management also statistically significant. Qualitative analyses revealed water availability was more concerning than water quality, and perceptions of inequitable access to water is an important constraint to developing CBM strategies. Taken together, these results suggest that enhancing SOC and relationships between local and regional levels of governance prior to establishing community-based projects would facilitate more success in implementing IWRM.

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