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Name The International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
Logo Image:IWMI_LOGO.jpg
Geographic Scope Global
Subject Focus Expertise Water management
Contact E-mail: iwmi@cgiar.org
URL http://www.iwmi.cgiar.org
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The International Water Management Institute is a nonprofit scientific research organization focusing on the sustainable use of water and land resources in agriculture and on the water needs of developing countries. IWMI works with partners in the South to develop tools and methods to help these countries eradicate poverty through more effective management of their water and land resources.

Research is the core activity of IWMI. The research agenda is organized around four priority Themes:

1. Basin Water Management
2. Land, Water and Livelihoods
3. Agriculture, Water and Cities and,
4. Water Management and Environment

Cross cutting activities in all themes include,

  • Assessment of land and water productivity and their relationship to poverty,
  • Identification of interventions that improve productivity as well as access to and sustainability of natural resources,
  • Assessment of the impacts of interventions on productivity, livelihoods, health and environmental sustainability.

IWMI's mission is to improve water and land resources management for food livelihoods and nature.

Key Resources

See also complete list of WaterWiki-documented IWMI-Publications


1.Integrated Database Information System (IDIS)

The Integrated Database Information System (IDIS) is an on-line data sharing platform that provides access to water, agriculture and environment scientific data to help researchers and their research partners improve the water productivity. IDIS contains over 1 billion records with focus on IWMI and CPWF basins. IDIS is funded by the CPWF and IWMI and hosted in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

2. African Transboundary Water Law Database

The African Transboundary Water Law Database comprises a searchable database of more than 150 different treaties, amendments and protocols which have been signed to manage the use of Africa’s transboundary waters. Most formal management of transboundary waters is done through treaties, agreements and protocols between the riparian states which share a given water source. Despite the importance of these agreements, relatively little work has been done on their documentation and analysis. This database was established to help share information on Africa’s transboundary water agreements. The website contains references to the largest known collection of African transboundary water law, a collection containing over 150 agreements signed between 1862 and 2004. The agreements have been classified according to a number of criteria to aid in their analysis and comparison. In the future, we expect to create searches based on these classifications. Efforts are also underway to link the agreement references with electronic copies of the documents.

3. IWMI's Remote Sensing/GIS Unit

IWMI's Remote Sensing/GIS Unit is a centralized facility for all spatial data related activities of IWMI at the headquarters in Sri Lanka and Regional Offices located in different parts of the world. Currently, the RS GIS Unit holds 3 terabytes of data. Although the emphasis is on IWMI benchmark river basins, large volumes of data are also available at National, Regional, and Global levels.

Source:IWMI website

4. World Water & Climate Atlas

IWMI's World Water & Climate Atlas gives irrigation and agricultural planners rapid access to accurate data on climate and moisture availability for agriculture. The Atlas includes monthly and annual summaries for precipitation, temperature, humidity, hours of sunshine, evaporation estimates, wind speed, total number of days with and without rainfall, days without frost and Penman-Montieth reference evapotranspiration rates. The core of the Atlas is data assembled from weather stations around the world for the period 1961-1990. Data can be extracted in summary, manipulated using the Atlas software, or exported in a standardized format for use in other applications. Users can also include their own local data for a more detailed picture of a particular area

5. IWMI Drought Information Centre

IWMI Drought Information Centre aims to be a portal of drought-related information, which, in the developing world especially remains largely uncoordinated. The Information Centre is an attempt to bring the resources of these countries together.

6. Eco-Hydrological Databases

IWMI's Eco-Hydrological Databases include three databases containing specific information pertaining to various aspects of functioning, requirements and management of freshwater ecosystems. The information is extracted from formally published papers and reports, unpublished documents, Internet sites and experts’ opinions. The three databases include:

Source:IWMI website

7. Global Environmental Flow Calculator

The Global Environmental Flow Calculator (GEFC) is a software package for desktop rapid assessment of Environmental Flows (EFs). Users can select a data source, display hydrological figures and calculate EFs.


The IWMI Global Policy Dialogue Model (PODIUM) is a interactive policy planning and scenario analysis tool which explores the trade-offs and future demands on water resources on a national scale. It is intended to foster dialog and stakeholder participation, and provide a basis for multi-sectoral planning and analysis. It is not intended to be used as a quantitatively reliable predictive tool, but is provided as an awareness raising exercise useful to explore the complex interactions of water scarcity, food security, and environment needs, in light of increasing populations and changing national diets.


WATERSIM is an integrated hydrologic and economic model designed to better understand the key linkages between water, food security, and environment, and develop scenarios for exploring key questions for food water, food, and environmental security, at the global, national and basin scales.

Selected Publications

  • From Integrated to Expedient:An Adaptive Framework for River Basin Management in Developing Countries (2007) - This paper examines management responses to environmental and hydrological change related to growing water scarcity. It draws on experiences in the catchment of the Great Ruaha River in Tanzania to reflect on the theory and process of creating effective and workable goals and strategies for river basin management.
  • IWRM Challenges in Developing Countries: Lessons from India and elsewhere (2007) - Converting a philosophy into practice is a challenge. Recent IWRM experiences in developing countries present a case in point. At the operational level, they take a rather narrow view of the concept and have largely tended to be introduced as a blueprint package. The key to successful IWRM implementation is integration—of the local resources and in the local context.
  • Planning and Managing Water Resources at the River Basin Level: Emergence and Evolution of a concept (2006) - The concept of a river basin as a management or planning unit has gone through several stages and is in a state of flux. From its early conceptualization in China and its western ‘discovery’ in the eighteenth century to its advent as the overriding concept behind European water policy, the river basin has been conjured up and mobilized in evolving contexts and with varying intentions. This report recounts the evolution of the concept of a river basin and how it has been associated with various strands of thinking and sometimes co-opted or mobilized by particular groups to strengthen the legitimacy of their agenda. This illustrates the fact that beyond its relevance as a geographical unit for the study of hydrology or for water resources development purposes, the river basin is also a political and ideological construct.

Click Here for all IWMI publications. IWMI's on-line publication section contains several thousand pages of peer reviewed research on water management.

Work on the Ground

  • Integrated Water Resources Management In Ferghana Valley (Iwrm-Ferghana) - This project is implemented by IWMI and the Scientific Information Centre (SIC) of Interstate Coordination Water Commission (ICWC) in the following three countries of Ferghana Valley: Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It aims to promote water reforms through the reorganization of water management institutions along hydrographic boundaries instead of administrative boundaries, while incorporating IWRM principles at all levels, facilitating policy and legal changes. Improve the livelihoods of farmers through reformed institutions and land and water productivity increases
  • Water Governance in Africa ((AFRICAN WATER LAWS AND INSTITUTES, AFRICAN MODELS FOR TRANSBOUNDARY WATER MANAGEMENT AND GENDER IN IRRIGATION IN AFRICA AND ASIA) - The main objective is to analyze indigenous water management practices and understand the correspondence and interaction with formal laws and institutions currently being designed and implemented under national and transboundary IWRM water reform, in order to formulate and test recommendations for institutional and legal design that empower the rural poor.
  • Managing Land and Water Resources in Coastal Zones - The overall objective of this project is to carry out an integrated natural resource management (INRM) research for development programs to increase land and water productivity for improved food security and livelihoods, in a manner that is environmentally sustainable and socially acceptable to various resource users at two coastal sites in the Mekong River Delta (Vietnam) and Gangetic Delta (Bangladesh).

Click Here for all current projects.
Click Here for selected past projects.


See also

External Resources


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