Water Resources Management – a global challenge for the future

In the past couples of decades over 80% of countries have reformed water laws – mainly as a response to expanding populations, urbanization and climate change.

While some of these measures were quite successful, global process has been rather slow when it comes to drinking water access, human health and water efficiency in agriculture.

A UN survey originally produced for informed decision-making at and since RIO+20 covers the efforts of over 130 national governments and their efforts to improve the sustainable management of water resources. The focus of this survey is on approaches to the management and use of water, known as Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).waterdrop.gif

The survey’s  findings include:

  • Water-related risks and the competition for water resources are perceived by a majority of countries to have increased over the past 20 years;
  • Domestic water supply is ranked by most countries as the highest priority for water resources management;
  • The majority of countries reported an increasing trend in financing for water resources development, although obstacles to implementing reforms remain;
  • Progress on water efficiency is lagging behind other water management reforms, with less than 50 percent of national reforms addressing water efficiency.

What becomes clear is that the introduction of IWRM on a national level varies greatly across the globe – from early planning stages to concrete implementation of new laws and policies.

Additionally to the report, there is also an interactive map showcasing the results of the survey. This simple but powerful tool allows you to explore the data by creating maps, histograms and bar charts, and comparing questions in scatterplots. It includes the status of IWRM plans, infrastructure, and financing in countries and regions.water.gif

Both, the report and the interactive map, support governments and decision-makers with their ways to deal with water management in the future. REEEP has also recognized the importance of water in regard to energy and sees this area as a vital subject for future calls and interventions.

“The sustainable management and use of water – due to its vital role in food security, energy or supporting valuable ecosystem services – underpins the transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient green economy,” said UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.


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