An Integrated Approach
The Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei series on Economics, the Environment and Sustainable Development
Edited by Carlo Giupponi, Anthony J. Jakeman, Derek Karssenberg and Matt P. Hare
Sustainable development is one of the main guiding principles for our modern societies. Water and sustainable development are closely linked since the provision of water in sufficient quantities and of high quality have important impacts on our environment, society and industry as well as the wellbeing of the next generations. Nowadays, there are several emerging problems and risks that affect the sustainable management of water resources. Pollution trends and impacts of hazardous pollutants remain uncertain. Diffuse pollution from agricultural practices emerges as a major threat. Water resources and water demands remain unbalanced at various levels. Groundwater abstraction and overexploitation have serious environmental impacts. Reservoirs, for water storage, flood control, recreation and energy production remain controversial. Climate change will impact on both water availability and demands and the occurrence of extreme events. For instance, only in Europe, the occurrence and severity of floods has increased over the last three decades and represents about half of the material damages to be reimbursed by insurance companies. These problems have not only physical, chemical, biological and ecological dimensions but encompass also important socioeconomic issues, such as legal and regulatory frameworks for water resources management, methods to balance conflicting human and ecosystem demand, financial sustainability of water management systems. This shows the complexity water managers face for the sustainable management of water resources and the need to shift from strong traditional, local and regional water resources management approaches to more integrated river basin approaches dealing with uncertainties in environmental conditions, societal development and global change....