Trends in integrated water resources management research: a literature review

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

The integrated water resources management (IWRM) paradigm has emerged as the main guiding framework for water resources development and management. Since the IWRM approach started to gain prominence with the 1992 Rio de Janeiro Summit and the Dublin Conference, developing and developed countries worldwide have adopted and transposed the tools and principles embodied in this holistic approach into their national policies as well as their regulatory and institutional frameworks. The scientific community has performed extensive studies within the IWRM field. In fact, there is a growing literature analysing multi-dimensional functions to pursue an IWRM approach in water resources management. The main objective of this study is to perform a literature review of the scientific knowledge in the IWRM field published between the years 2000 and 2011. A total of 353 papers published in scientific journals were carefully reviewed and extracted from the ISI Web of Science database. The main results show that: (a) the dominant research topics in IWRM analysis focus on its institutional framework, on equitable water allocation (sustainable management of water resources), and on IWRM implementation and stakeholder participation; and (b) the leading countries in scientific research into IWRM are Germany, the USA and South Africa.

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