An integrated vision of water resources management

An integrated vision of water resources management

Urban growth, temperature rise and melting glaciers threaten river deltas around the world. Southeast Asia – from India to China – in particular will be severely affected. Large numbers of people live in poverty, countries are densely-populated and coastlines are long. According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the chance that people in this region will be affected by water-related disasters is about 25 times greater than in Europe. How are people tackling water challenges in Asia?

Fernando Bretas

Water and Sanitation Lead Specialist, Water and Sanitation Division (WSA) Inter-American Development Bank

Fall 2014
Editorial by REVOLVE

This editorial is featured in REVOLVE #13 on pages 6-7.

For any civilization, adequate water resources are essential to survival.

The great civilizations of Mesoamerica and South America developed on the basis of agricultural surpluses produced by com- plex irrigation systems, which required efficient handling of water resources. Today, the growing demands for food by populations that are increasingly energy-intensive jeopardize the availability of reliable water resources and the sustainability of ecosystems. This prognosis becomes even more complicated in a context of global warming, rapid urban growth and globalization.

Formulated in 1992, the Dublin principles, established what is consid- ered a holistic approach to integrated water resources management (IWRM) in response to public sector policies which, at the time, were not well coordinated. After 1992, several countries and institutions, when dealing with water management issues adopted the IWRM philosophy. For instance, in 2012, in preparation for the Rio+20 conference, the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development carried out a worldwide survey to assess progress in the implementation of IWRM, and the OECD did a study of the status of governance of water resources in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). The results of both studies highlighted governance as one of the key limitations to implement the IWRM concepts and guidelines, such as problematic coordination among institutions, weak institutional capability and insufficient funding.

In 1998, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) adopted an IWRM strategy with orientations and mandates for the implementation of institutional arrangements for IWRM, development of the necessary instruments and mechanisms and the operation and maintenance of water resources infrastructure. One of IDB’s most important experiences with IWRM is being conducted in Peru, a country with abundant but poorly distributed water resources and where the impact of climate change is significant, mainly in glaciers, which feed major rivers and streams in the driest parts of the country. The situation is aggravated in selected watersheds due to the competing uses of water, triggering conflicts among the various users, including agriculture, mining and domestic supply.

Since 2001 the IDB has supported Peru in the implementation and consolidation of an IWRM approach that culminated with the approval of the Water Resources Law in March 2009. That same year, IDB financed Water Resources Modernization Program provided institutional support…

Fantastic Plastic?

Revolve #13 – Fall 2014

Hosted and led by UNESCO, the United Nations World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) coordinates the work of 31 UN-Water members and partners in the World Water Development Report (WWDR). WWAP monitors freshwater issues in order to provide recommendations, develop case studies, enhance assessment capacity at a national level and inform the decision-making process.