A rapidly growing world population results in an enormous water demand for manifold needs. Until the 1980s the widespread perception was that this water demand could only be satisfied by the development of new water resources. But the failures of the water decade and the debate about sustainable development that arose from the Brundtland Report (1987) were followed by a rethinking: in the long term only the appropriate management of water will guarantee a secure and sustainable water supply. In this context, the idea of an integrated water resources management (IWRM) emerged as guiding concept. The exact meaning of IWRM, however, was never determined. For this reason the development of IWRM is reviewed on the basis of international water-relevant events. Possible explanations are given for resultant main ideas of IWRM, such as participation, coordination, cooperation or efficiency. The outcome is that the IWRM-principles can be boiled down to the balancing of contrary interests. Furthermore it can be concluded that IWRM can be neither a fixed nor “the one and only” method: IWRM has to be a site-specific dynamic process of action and adaptation to create step by step an adequate environment for sustainable water-solutions.
|Keywords:||IWRM, Sustainable Development|
PhD Student, Institute of Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS), Institute of Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS) Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe GmbH, Karlsruhe, Germany
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