IWRM Explained

IWRM Explained

A Water Secure World

Sustainable development will not be achieved without a water secure world (GWP’s vision). A water secure world integrates a concern for the intrinsic value of water with a concern for its use for human survival and well-being.

UN-Water defines water security as “the capacity of a population to safeguard sustainable access to adequate quantities of acceptable quality water for sustaining livelihoods, human wellbeing, and socio-economic development, for ensuring protection against waterborne pollution and water-related disasters, and for preserving ecosystems in a climate of peace and political stability.”

GWP’s strategy describes a water secure world as one which harnesses water's productive power and minimises its destructive force. It is a world where every person has enough safe, affordable water to lead a clean, healthy and productive life. It is a world where communities are protected from floods, droughts, landslides, erosion, and water-borne diseases. Water security promotes environmental protection as well as social justice, and addresses the impacts of poor water management. A water secure world reduces poverty, advances education, and increases living standards. It is a world where there is an improved quality of life for all, especially for the most vulnerable—usually women and children—who benefit most from good water governance.

Water security also means addressing environmental protection and the negative effects of poor management. A water secure world means ending fragmented responsibility for water and integrating water resources management across all sectors – finance, planning, agriculture, energy, tourism, industry, education, and health. An integrated approach to water resources management is at the heart of GWP’s strategy

What is IWRM?

 

Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) is a process which promotes the coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources in order to maximise economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems and the environment.

IWRM helps to protect the world’s environment, foster economic growth and sustainable agricultural development, promote democratic participation in governance, and improve human health. Worldwide, water policy and management are beginning to reflect the fundamentally interconnected nature of hydrological resources, and IWRM is emerging as an accepted alternative to the sector-by-sector, top-down management style that has dominated in the past.

Why IWRM

 

Water policy and management need to reflect the fundamentally interconnected nature of hydrological resources, and IWRM is the accepted alternative to the sector-by-sector, top-down management style that has dominated the past. The basis of IWRM is that the many different uses of water resources are interdependent. For example, high irrigation demands and polluted drainage flows from agriculture mean less freshwater for drinking or industrial use; contaminated municipal and industrial wastewater pollutes rivers and threatens ecosystems; if water has to be left in a river to protect fisheries and ecosystems, less can be diverted to grow crops.