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 | http://ejournal.nbii.org
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.
- Fall '13