Water for Development | WWF

Water for Development

Posted on
14 August 2009
A review of integrated water resource management in EC development programming.

The services provided by freshwater ecosystems are crucially important to the livelihoods, health and security of many millions of people in the developing world. However, water is a limited resource facing many competing demands exacerbated by external stresses such as the impacts of climate change.  Meeting and managing these  demands requires an integrated approach to water resource management if the supply of freshwater services is to be sustainable.

The EU has made strong and repeated commitments towards the principles of Integrated Water Resource Management including the promotion of these principles in its development cooperation policy and programmes.  A study undertaken by WWF in 12 countries reviews the extent to which these commitments have been put into practice. 

The study found that, in general, planning of water interventions is based on demands or projected outcomes and not on the actually availability of the natural resource. Furthermore, climate change implications for water management in all sectors are rarely taken into account.  There are few signs at the programming level that the EC is a strong advocate of an integrated approach to water resources management.

The study recommends taking a broader approach to water management in all sectors which rely on water resources including agriculture, sanitation, drinking water, infrastructure, industry, energy, transport and to support national water resources management plans wherever possible.  It also recommends taking steps to encourage transboundary approaches to water management by all relevant states as well as donors.