IWA Publishing

Water resources management

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Managing regional or national water resources demands the integration of patterns and processes of both natural and social systems. This is essential to achieve the optimum interaction of man and nature since every aspect of water use and disposal impinges on ecosystems to a greater or lesser extent. Sustainability is the key issue: how can sustainable yields by abstraction from rivers, reservoirs and aquifers be defined so as to achieve the delicate balance between supporting economic development and lifestyle while still protecting the water environment from irreversible damage.

A first requirement is for more accurate information on how much water there is in a given area and at a given time at spatial and temporal scales that are of use to water resource managers. National river flow and groundwater archives are maintained in most countries to record and collate such information. In recent years, more sociological information is necessary on non-hydrological drivers and impacts, such as ownership and the real or implicit cost of land and water that have a profound effect on how water is used.

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