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Terms & Synonyms

Integrated River Basin Management

Official WHO Definition

Other Definitions

"Integrated river basin management (IRBM) is the process of coordinating conservation, management and development of water, land and related resources across sectors within a given river basin, in order to maximise the economic and social benefits derived from water resources in an equitable manner while preserving and, where necessary, restoring freshwater ecosystems." (GWP,2000).

WWF outline the following seven key elements to a successful IRBM initiative:

  • A long-term vision for the river basin, agreed to by all the major stakeholders.
  • Integration of policies, decisions and costs across sectoral interests such as industry, agriculture, urban development, navigation, fisheries management and conservation, including through poverty reduction strategies.
  • Strategic decision-making at the river basin scale, which guides actions at sub-basin or local levels.
  • Effective timing, taking advantage of opportunities as they arise while working within a strategic framework.
  • Active participation by all relevant stakeholders in well-informed and transparent planning and decision-making.
  • Adequate investment by governments, the private sector, and civil society organisations in capacity for river basin planning and participation processes.
  • A solid foundation of knowledge of the river basin and the natural and socio-economic forces that influence it.

Thus key IRBM functions are: (i) water balance assessment, (ii) policies and strategies, (iii) legislation supporting regulatory standards, (iv) planning and allocation, (v) surface and ground-water quantity and quality, (vi) inter-agency and community-driven coordination, (vii) capacity building and (viii) public awareness and participation.


Interpretations and Explanations


WHO-Lexicon page (translations and examples)

See also


External Resources


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