Water management must make a series of important transitions E
In meeting water resource challenges, a series of transitions are underway which have major implications for water management.
  • From development or management to development and management: For decades water resource management was equated with the building of water infrastructure. Experience showed this to be a major error, for economic, social and environmental reasons. In reaction, some have shunned hydraulic infrastructure as being unnecessary and destructive. The emerging view is that both of these extremes are wrong and that, in most developing countries, both management improvements and priority infrastructure have an essential and complementary roles in contributing to sustainable growth and poverty reduction.
  • From Local to Regional and International Management. Water management is moving from being just a local issue to a national issue, and from a national to an international one, requiring new approaches to financing, dispute prevention and resource management.
  • From Disputes to Cooperation. Growing demand for water for cities, industries and the environment means that there is a growing need for consensual mechanisms (from the local to the international level) for dispute resolution, and for re-allocating water in response to changing demands and values. Water could become a cause of conflict; alternatively it could become a major catalyst for cooperation at all levels - and even economic integration. Experience has shown that benefit-generating hydraulic infrastructure has played an important role in regional integration and stability in Eastern Europe (the Baltic Sea), South East Asia (Thailand and Laos), South Asia (the Indus Basin) and Southern Africa (Lesotho Highlands).
  • From Public to Public-Private Partnership. Much of the necessary infrastructure is multi-functional (e.g. reservoirs generating electricity and providing protection from floods). Financing of water resources infrastructure is not cleanly separable into public and private but increasingly requires public-private partnerships. While private investment and management must play an increasing role, this must take place within a publicly-established long-term development and legal and regulatory framework, and without crowding-out community-managed infrastructure and beneficiary participation in design and management of water systems.

Source: World Bank Water Strategy, 2001
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