Integrated River Basin Management (IRBM) | WWF

14 case study examples of managing large rivers

This page provides links to 14 case studies on managing large rivers. Before reviewing them, one should be aware that although all have produced substantial outputs, none of them presents a complete, functioning IRBM process because few, if any, such cases yet exist.

A new discipline
IRBM is, after all, a very new discipline that requires time to plan and begin implementing, let alone to reach the stage of maturity when tangible, on-the-ground benefits are seen at basin-wide level.

Instead, each case study demonstrates the use of one or more particular approaches, tools or processes intended to promote and catalyse wider IRBM schemes within the respective basin.

Projects in different stages of development
Not all of the projects are at the same stage. Some, such as the Danube and Everglades, reflect long-term engagement of WWF and its partners over a decade or more, and in these can be seen the promise of basin-wide achievements. Others are working their way towards the river basin scale, perhaps having started out as smaller site-specific or issue-specific projects.

WWF offers these case studies as food for thought and as experiences from which others may learn and benefit. We do not claim to have all the answers, nor do we in any way claim that this represents a definitive text on IRBM. There is still much to be learned. We hope, however, that this work will provide some guidance, stimulate some ideas, and spur some action to make IRBM a reality in more basins in more parts of the world.

Case study layout
Each of the 14 case studies presented here from river basins across the world follows a standard format, including:

  • a summary of basin characteristics
  • the role of WWF and its partners
  • the conservation method demonstrated
  • the resources devoted
  • a chronology
  • lessons learned.

Lessons learned
The lessons learned from individual basins have been aggregated and synthesised to draw general lessons that can be of value in most places, under most circumstances.