Managing water in an integrated and sustainable manner is currently challenging water resource managers throughout the world. It requires professionals from many disciplines working together with impacted stakeholders in crafting a strategy that is economically efficient, ecologically sound, and acceptable to all who are impacted by how this resource is managed over space and time. Such strategies can not be formed from the top down. However those at the top levels of government must be involved in facilitating a bottom–up, public participatory process of helping all those who are impacted by how water is allocated and managed achieve a shared vision of how their water resource system functions. This shared vision should include the economical, ecological and social impacts of alternative management policies, and the tradeoffs among conflicting multiple purposes for which water serves and among all economic, environmental and social objectives for which water can achieve. Appropriate technology is continually being developed that helps us manage water better, but it appears the real constraints to more effective management are often institutional or social. This paper attempts to outline some of the current water resources and environmental management issues and concerns, and suggests some ways of addressing them.
- water resources
- © IWA Publishing 2007