Towards sustainable water resources management - a strategic approach


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Towards sustainable water resources management - a strategic approach

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EC Guidelines based on the EU Water Framework Directive (HTM-package)


European Commission

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The Guidelines opens with rationale for the strategic approach. It then elaborates its governing principles and the proposed programming framework - divided into Focus Areas - for their application. The term 'Focus Areas' has been adopted from Agenda 21, the key document of the 1992 Earth Summit, as the most straightforward way to describe the programming contexts into which water resources management and service delivery fall.

The chapters in Part I are as follows:

Chapter 1
Water resources management: the challenges describes the many challenges facing development co-operation relating to water in the contemporary world. It highlights the competing stresses to which the resource is subject, arguing the case for a holistic approach to water husbandry and use. The chapter describes the international consensus on policy and practice that has emerged from the continuing process of macro-level discussion relating to water, and the practical challenges stemming from the new perspective. It also explores key water-related challenges in the contemporary world, including the pressures on resources and freshwater quality imposed by population growth, urbanisation, and environmental constraints, and their potential for conflict.
Chapter 2
Managing water resources equitably, efficiently and sustainably: Guiding principles sets out the first key element of the strategic approach. It starts by describing the core principles consistent with the international consensus, and proceeds to more detailed principles under the following headings: institutional and management; social; economic and financial; environmental; information, education and communications; and technological.
Chapter 3
Managing water resources equitably, efficiently and sustainably: Programmatic contexts describes the second key element of the strategic approach: the contexts in which the guiding principles are to be applied. The contexts - or Focus Areas - are as follows: Water resources assessment and planning, which includes all activities designed to assess the availability of the natural resource, protect its quality, and plan its use; Basic water supply and sanitation services, which covers service provision in rural areas and marginal or poor urban areas, usually consisting of low-technology, community-managed systems; Municipal water and wastewater services, which covers major urban and industrial installations and systems, including wastewater treatment and sewerage systems; and Agricultural water use and management, which covers installations and activities related to agricultural use of water, especially for irrigation.
Chapter 4
Overview of actions implied by adopting the Strategic Approach provides a summary description of the types of action addressed comprehensively and systematically in Part II. These are grouped according to priority themes for action.


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