Basic Ideology of IWRM (Integrated Water Resources Management)

 IWRM or Integrated water resources Management is one of the most debated and somewhat controversial topic in country and global planning and development talks.  However the fundamental idea behind the thought of IWRM is that fresh water is a scarce entity and all different uses of fresh water are all different uses of it are all interlinked, competing and interdependent. And we cannot prioritize or emphasize the any one use at the cost of another.

And while this is and should be evident to all of us, so far no appropriate interest has been taken by relevant decision makers. Some of examples of its mutual-dependent uses are

·      Elevated requirement for irrigation purposes of fresh water results in less water availability for Industrial and Drinking purposes

·      Polluted wastewater from municipalities and industries is normally tolerated to be flow out into main river system unattended and untreated (mainly at the cost of so called economic development), it will harmful for the fisheries, ecosystem and biodiversity.

·      And if the water is confined and retained for fisheries and biodiversity the not as much of that can be diverted for other uses like irrigation.

·      A dam barrage or some other water retaining structure is very useful for collecting and distributing water as and when required for irrigation purposes, controls and diverts flooding and can be used for power generation. While on the other hand it also adds to water logging at upstream and detrimental for that particular river system’s unique biodiversity. And if the water is stored, a very less or no water will be available at the end of river, flows are almost dried up resulting saline sea water intrusion into delta land.

So examples are many and they all prove that all different water uses unregulated use of scarce water resources is extremely wasteful and unsustainable. That use may give a temporary or short term benefit for one purpose but may also produce much more danger to somewhere else.

So in IWRM, Integrated means that all different uses of water resources are to be considered together. And water allocations and management decisions should account for an overall sociological and economical goals and also include the sustainable development. And a coherent policy making, related to all sectors needs to be existed. One of the way to accomplish this integrated policy and decision making is to involve all user groups (e.g. farmer, household users, industrialists etc.) in water resource management from start of policy making till the management and execution. And from national level to grass root level. And by this way we will get many additional benefits such as, educated users apply local self regulations related to issues such as water conservation and catchment protection far more effectively than central regulation and surveillance can achieve.

The word  “management “ , in IWRM, is used in a more broader sense, And means that we must only just to focus on day to day management of water resources. But we must willfully manage water development in a ways that ensures long terms sustainable use even for future generations. And that we must left the planet in even better conditions for our new generations to come so that they should also get benefited from its resources as we are at present.

And as defined by Cap-Net “Integrated Water Resources Management is therefore a systematic process for the sustainable development, allocation and monitoring of water resources use in the context of social economic and environmental objectives.” And it further says implies that “It contrast with sectoral approach that applies in many countries.” Like where responsibility of drinking water rests with one agency, for irrigation with another and for the environment yet another, lack of cross –sectoral linkages leads to uncoordinated water resources development and management. And this is  what results in disputed and unsustainable system.

So it is only through the process o IWRM that we can wish that  we can enjoy economic and technological development along with a good future for our environment and freshwaters.

Currently following agencies are which are promoting the concept of IWRM on regional or global level

1.    Global Water Partnership

2.    Cap-Net

3.    Asian Developmant Bank

4.    World Bank

5.    UNEP

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