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Bilateral cooperation

Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM)


Women at the river Juba. Copyright: Manoocher Deghati/IRINWater is one of Earth's most valuable resources and will remain vital for future gene­rations. The sustainable ma­na­ge­ment of water re­sour­ces is there­fore one of the major chal­lenges for the future and plays a key role in rea­li­sation of the Millennium Develop­ment Goals.

In all its develop­ment acti­vities in the water sector, Germany adheres to the inter­natio­nal­ly agreed model of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

At the heart of this approach is a focus on the social framework and the eco­sys­tem as a whole. The aim is to balance demands from different sources in an in­te­gra­ted process, involving all water users and thereby achieving the greatest consensus possible.

The water resources management system takes account of all usage interests and activities – including transregional and trans-sectoral ones – that could affect the hydro­logi­cal region. In the context of a project for supplying potable water this could mean, for example, that it is necessary to take into con­si­de­ra­tion any existing hydropower plants, anti-erosion measures and forest con­ser­va­tion along the upper reaches of a river, the contamination of water and soil by waste and general land-use planning.

The key objectives of IWRM include the sustainable use of water resources, peaceful resolution of water conflicts, affordable access to potable water for the poor, and the prevention of diseases caused by polluted water.

The approach requires a united effort at national and international level if it is to be put into action. Its component strategies address issues from the lowest appropriate level, extending up to government policy. The water users are always directly involved.

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