National and local development planning processes need water sector practioners. There is little room for decision-making that is based on negotiations between users, line agencies, NGOs and politicians, for example.
Policymakers, researchers, NGOs, and farmers are pursuing various technical, institutional and policy interventions to meet this challenge. It seeks to help development policy makers and practitioners in different sectors to understand the principles and practice of the IWRM approach.
However, there has been a lukewarm response to such initiatives from farmers, especially smallholders.
With growing populations, changing weather patterns, and increasing pollution of surface water bodies, countries across the world are relying more and more on finite groundwater reserves built up over centuries, for household, agricultural, and industrial needs.
International food trade can have significant impacts on national water demand. While the government promotes drips as longterm investments for water saving and sustainable agriculture, the farmers look for more immediate and assured benefits, such as lower costs and increased incomes.
It can cause salt water intrusion into fresh water aquifers and subsidenceof the land surface. This includes creating policies and laws that institutionalize the equitable participation of men and women.
Some researchers have suggested that international food trade can and should be used as an active policy instrument to mitigate local and regional water scarcity.Both are developing nations with large agricultural populations, high population densities and a high proportion of agriculture under irrigation. Several of these mark a significant shift from current paradigms and making this transition is proving to be difficult. As a consequence, the so-called IWRM initiatives in developing country contexts have proved to be ineffective at best and counterproductive at worst. Although much mention is made of participation and IWRM, little is being done on the ground. Ultimately, a range of options for reducing the adverse impacts of water resources development remain to be put into practice in Africa — resulting in avoidable disease burden. Research is increasingly highlighting that in devising water management strategies to conserve water and halt the decline of groundwater levels, policymakers must conduct holistic studies of hydrologic systems to find appropriate solutions that will result in real water savings. However, there has been a lukewarm response to such initiatives from farmers, especially smallholders. Consideration of differential impacts at different potential dam sites can enable selection of development options with fewer disease externalities.
Water planning is still largely expert-driven, and focused on procedures and targets. As a consequence, the so-called IWRM initiatives in developing country contexts have proved to be ineffective at best and counterproductive at worst.
The way we use and manage our water today will make it easier to address the challenges of tomorrow. While the initial focus was on water for economic growth, provisions were later made to protect the environment and provide affordable water for the poor, demonstrating the iterative nature of IWRM in practice.