Water is a unique natural resource – it has no substitute. It is a limited, scarce; and at the same time; essential resource for all life. Poor water management contributes to disease, malnutrition, reduced economic growth, social instability, conflict and environmental disasters.
A continuous decrease in per-capita availability, degradation of water quality that affects health and production, soil degradation and loss of productive land all lead to increasing competition for water between sectors and within communities. Climate change aggravates the situation and increases risks.
Awareness of issues at the political level is limited, and we’re experiencing fragmented and sectoral oriented water management. Local government cannot manage pressures on water resources, and investments in the water sector are not prioritised.
Water resources managers’ role continues to grow and often require one to understand and predict hydrologic changes that may depend on the complex inter-relationships between groundwater and surface water.
Thus, integrated water resources management (IWRM) makes perfect sense. It is a comprehensive approach to water resources management and water development, emphasising sustainability and further assisting governments in addressing poverty, hunger, health, and environmental sustainability.
It incorporates economic, social and environmental considerations into policy and decision making, directly involves the stakeholders and recognises the link between land and water.
Pressures and competing demands – a rationale for integrated water resources management.
Written by Dragan Tutulić, Water Group Leader – Principal