Integrated River Basin Management (IRBM)

Practical solutions for managing rivers better

Practical solutions exist for addressing problems of water supply and quality in ways that conserve and restore freshwater ecosystems.

Rapidly growing knowledge about how water moves through the environment and technological advances in water management are providing tools to meet and potentially overcome the global water crisis. In fact, science tells us that there is enough freshwater in the world to meet present needs and accommodate growing populations. The challenge is to protect the sources of freshwater and manage its use in a manner that is both equitable and ecologically sustainable.

Examples of tools that exist or are being developed to protect and better manage freshwater resources include:

Yet none of these tools will be effective in isolation. Indeed, if one solution is pursued while other issues or sectors are ignored, the effects are at best strictly localised and at worst temporary and ultimately futile.

Integrated river basin management (IRBM) provides the framework in which the full range of tools and approaches can come into play, with multiple sectors working together, rather than at cross-purposes, to manage and conserve freshwater resources sustainably and equitably.

Tribal girl collecting water from the Srepok River, Vietnam. / ©: WWF-Canon / Elizabeth KEMF
Tribal girl collecting water from the Srepok River, Vietnam.
© WWF-Canon / Elizabeth KEMF

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