Sustainable water security within the present constraints ? Integrated Resource Management
Water resources are sources of water that are useful or potentially useful to humans. It is important because it is needed for life to exist. Only 2.5% of the water on the Earth is freshwater, and over two-thirds of this is frozen in glaciers and polar ice caps. Water resource management is a very important issue from several angles such as the development of water bodies for the future, protection of available water bodies from pollution and over-exploitation and to prevent disputes. A paramount issue is a water-its availability, quality, and management.
What is Integrated Resource management?
Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) is a process which promotes the coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources in order to maximize economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems and the environment.
Integrated Water Resource:
The basis of IWRM is that the many different uses of finite water resources are interdependent. 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. There are plenty more examples of the basic theme that the unregulated use of scarce water resources is wasteful and inherently unsustainable.
IWRM is a framework designed to improve the management of water resources based on four key principles adopted at the 1992 Dublin Conference on Water and the Rio de Janeiro Summit on Sustainable Development. These principles hold that: (1) freshwater is a finite and vulnerable resource essential to sustain life, development, and the environment; (2) water development and management should be based on a participatory approach, involving users, planners, and policymakers at all levels; (3) women play a central part in the provision, management, and safeguarding of water; and (4) water has an economic value in all its competing uses and should be recognized as an economic good.
Importance of IWRM
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. Today, IWRM is often associated with the need to achieve water for multiple purposes in a sustainable and equitable manner. It also aims to manage and mitigate climate change, and extreme climate events.