On-line version ISSN 1816-7950
LEENDERTSE, Kees; MITCHELL, Steve and HARLIN, Joakim. IWRM and the environment: a view on their interaction and examples where IWRM led to better environmental management in developing countries. Water SA [online]. 2008, vol.34, n.6, pp. 691-698. ISSN 1816-7950.
This paper investigates the interaction between water resources management and the environment. It argues that an integrated, holistic approach to water management is beneficial for the environment but also that environmental concerns are not to be ignored for integrated water management to be effective. To this purpose the paper introduces the interactions between different water uses and why it is important to address these interactions for sustainable water resources management. It explains how the environment is being effected by the use of water by other sectors, and the benefits and implications of an integrated management system for the environment. Illustrated by several practical cases in Asia, Southern Africa and small island developing states, the paper makes a strong case for IWRM to be an effective approach for sustainable management at river basin level. It also demonstrates that stakeholder engagement form the start. and the process being driven by local interests and addressing real needs are elements of IWRM without which it will not work. The paper argues that addressing environmental is essential for sustainable use of water resources, and that strong political support and institutional backing is required for IWRM to be successful.
Keywords : integrated water resources management; environment; river basins; interaction; water uses; benefits; implications; institutional; legislation; instruments; stakeholder participation; local management.