Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM): Low Priority for High-Income Countries

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Global Water Partnership cites inadequate management approaches may have counterproductive results for major infrastructure investments.

Spanning 183 countries, the Global Water Partnership (GWP) analyzed national development plans and frameworks from more than 80 Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

image credit Global Water Partnership | Key Climate Hazards Identified in Adaptation Components of N D Cs and Priority Areas and Sectors for Adaptation Actions in N D Cs

Of countries surveyed, 89 percent include investments in water infrastructure, institutions, or governance as a priority for climate change adaptation.

On the other hand, only "26 percent embrace integrated water resources management as an approach,” said Dr. Monika Weber-Fahr, GWP Executive Secretary.

“There are reasons for concern that with poor or inadequate management approaches forging ahead with major infrastructure investments can have counterproductive results.”

image credit Global Water Partnership | Different Prioritization of Integrated Water Resource Management in N D Cs based on country incomePrioritization of integrated water resources management is a key divide. Low-income countries view IWRM as a priority, while high-income countries consider it less so.

The difference in mentality may explain common and frequently heated debates in North American water communities about “best choices, formats, and timing for implementing water resources management and governance,” according to the report.

The report also calls for active engagement and priority action in regard to water infrastructure, institutions, and information systems:

  • Effective water allocation and sharing systems are a necessary element of adaptation.
  • Existing transboundary allocation and management regimes generally are not set up to take into account new climate variabilities.
  • Disaster risk reduction (DRR) ought to be at the heart of adaptation action.

Read the Preparing to Adapt: The Untold Story of Water in Climate Change Adaptation report in its entirety.