What an IWRM-Integrated Water Resources Management Course should Contain

Posted on April 10, 2010


In an effort to encourage a move towards more sustainable approaches to water development and management, the World Summit on Sustainable Development-WSSD in 2002 called for all countries to draft IWRM and water efficiency strategies by the end of 2005. The recommendation of Government of India’s 10th working group on drinking water (Five Year Plan 2002-2007), suggested the integrated water management through water harvesting, conservation measures in a natural physiographic unit with the emphasis on direct or indirect artificial recharge of aquifers by utilizing surplus runoff. The committee also put forth the need to restructure the implementing machinery at center and state level, working together with NGOs and CBOs in planning, development and management through micro-watershed planning, to ensure the sustainability of water sources.

The group further suggested the rainwater harvesting measures, development of traditional water sources, restoration of existing water infrastructure, checks and balances in water intensive crops, restricting the deepening of agriculture bore wells, recycling of waste water in productive ways with strengthening and capacity building of user communities. Therefore, in our view the focus of any IWRM course should be to support people in various developmental goals of

  • Reducing poverty, increasing food security, fostering economic growth, protecting ecosystems
  • Tackling specific water challenges of-controlling flooding, mitigating the effects of drought
  • Expanding access to water and sanitation
  • Addressing increasing competition for water and water scarcity.

The course should also incorporate the elements of IWRM approach that talks about translating policy effectively into practice through a systematic process of internalization of reforms across different levels. As implementing IWRM approach needs clear strategies and guidelines which should encompasses through the ecosystem approach and here, the agencies need time to understand and internalize the common concern. The approach may have major potential of focusing upon livelihood options for poorer and the danger of excluding poorest from access. The importance of IWRM in poverty reduction is undoubtedly high, but because the benefits are rarely examined in detail, their full potential is unlikely to be realized. [Written in March 2010]