Integrated Water Resources Management
) has been defined by the Technical Committee of the Global Water Partnership
(GWP) as "a process which promotes the coordinated development and management of water, land
and related resources, in order to maximize the resultant economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems." Operationally, IWRM approaches involve applying knowledge from various disciplines as well as the insights from diverse stakeholders to devise and implement efficient, equitable and sustainable solutions to water and development problems. As such, IWRM is a comprehensive, participatory planning and implementation tool for managing and developing water resources
in a way that balances social and economic needs, and that ensures the protection of ecosystems for future generations. Water’s many different uses—for agriculture, for healthy ecosystems, for people and livelihoods—demands coordinated action. An IWRM approach is an open, flexible process, bringing together decision-makers across the various sectors that impact water resources, and bringing all stakeholders to the table to set policy and make sound, balanced decisions in response to specific water challenges faced.
It has been agreed to consider water as an 'economic commodity' in order to emphasize on its scarcity in the Dublin Principles:
- Fresh water is a finite and vulnerable resource, essential to sustain life, development and the environment.
- Water development and management should be based on a participatory approach, involving users, planners and policy makers at all levels.
- Women play a central part in the provision, management and safeguarding of water.
- Water has an economic value in all its competing uses and should be recognized as an economic good.
One of the major fields of focus has been to increase women's involvement in drinking water and sanitation projects, especially in the developing countries. International Water Management Institute (IWMI), UNESCO and International Water and Sanitation Centre are some of the institutes that have undertaken research in this area.
- Rahaman, M.M. & Varis, O. 2005. Integrated water resources management: evolution, prospects and future challenges. Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy 1(1):15-21. http://ejournal.nbii.org/archives/vol1iss1/0407-03.rahaman.html. Published online April 12, 2005.
- Biswas,A.K.,Varis,O. & Tortajada, C. (Eds.) 2005. Integrated Water Resources Management in South and Southeast Asia. New Delhi : Oxford University Press.
- Rahaman, M.M., Varis, O. & Kajander, T. 2004. EU Water Framework Directive Vs. Integrated Water Resources Management: The Seven Mismatches. International Journal of Water Resources Development, 20(4): 565-575.