Some critics fear that privatization may encourage

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Unformatted text preview: Europe, initial water infrastructure development was based on massive subsidies. Some critics fear that privatization may encourage fragmentation, which IWRM seems to overcome. Privatization of the marketable aspects of water may result in single-purpose planning and management, which raises a question of open information channels and transparency. Moreover, for the developing world where basic infrastructure is not yet complete, a question remains of whether applying full cost recovery is ethical or practical. Water resource management by public or government organizations also has many success stories, e.g. in Finland and other European countries (Shen & Varis, 2000). It is important that IWRM not only deals with water supply and wastewater treatment, but combines many other functions, including flood control, poverty alleviation, food Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy | 18 Spring 2005 | Volume 1 | Issue 1 Rahaman & Varis: Integrated Water Resource Management this reason, water should be managed based on river basins, not only on administrative boundaries. The necessity of river basin management received positive attention at the Hague Forum, the Bonn Conference, and the WSSD summit; however, no clear mechanism for implementing the river basin management concept into practice has been suggested. Existing river basin commissions all over the world face difficulties enforcing basin plan provisions in other sectors, as well as regarding riparian governments. Other challenges include the lack of effective local participation, the absence of formal agreements on international water allocations, the limits on pollution, and the economic and military power imbalance between upstream and downstream countries. An increasing number of countries are experiencing water stress;1 nevertheless, in most river basins, mechanisms and institutions to manage water resource disputes are either absent or unsatisfactory (UNESCO & Green Cross International, 2003). Not only should plans and goals be developed, but so should practical frameworks for implementing joint river basin management through efficient institutions and productive participation of all riparian states. In addition, a greater focus on legal institutional arrangements is necessary, as it is practically absurd to implement integrated policy without some legal bindings. A common policy, including a supporting legal framework, is vital for implementing integrated transboundary river basin management. production, ecosystem conservation, drought management, and sustainability, and that the government’s presence is vital in the effective implementation of IWRM. Therefore, privatization of the water sector needs to be approached with caution, and the issue’s many facets must be considered far more than is happening in today’s ideological debate. Water as an Economic Good Water is recognized as an economic good in many international declarations, such as those reviewed above, as well as in the policies of major lenders and donors. However, there is a risk in fostering the notion of water as a commodity, because it shifts the public perception away from a sense of water as a common good, and from a shared duty and responsibility. A simple and straightforward solution, designed on the basis of pure economic efficiency, has the potential of ending up unsustainable. For the improvement of water infrastructure in the developing world, subsidies are vital. The principle of full cost recovery sometimes handicaps developing nations that are striving to provide basic needs by subsidizing their basic water infrastructure (Rahaman & Varis, 2003). However, water is a basic human need and access to minimum quantities of safe water (20 liters per person per day) should be everyone’s right. Lack of access to safe drinking water, sanitation, and irrigation is directly related to poverty and poor health. For example, in South Asia 300 million people have no safe drinking water and 920 million people have no adequate sanitation (WWC, 2000). In many developing countries, the...
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This note was uploaded on 01/08/2014 for the course SUST 520 taught by Professor Asunkis during the Fall '13 term at Black Hills State University.

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