Sustainable Management of Water Resources

Sustainable Management of Water Resources

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

Experts across a wide range of specialist fields including social sciences, informatics, ecology and hydrology are brought together in this truly multidisciplinary approach to water management. They provide the reader with integrated insights into water resource management practices that underpin the three pillars of sustainable development – environment, economics and society – through a series of international case studies and theoretical frameworks.

Chapter 2: Policy Setting for Sustainable Water Management: GATS Rules and Water Management Systems

Gérard Mondello

Subjects: economics and finance, environmental economics, environment, environmental economics, management natural resources, water


Gérard Mondello 2.1 INTRODUCTION Nowadays, scientists recognise that fresh water resources are being exhausted, polluted, and overexploited.1 However, and maybe paradoxically, in physical terms, the same quantity of water is being exchanged, following a natural cycle of evaporation and precipitation. Human activities and water policies have heavily impacted on the regularity of this natural cycle and, as a consequence, on the quality and the quantity of water available for human use. To ensure the sustainability and efficiency of water use in the future, a programme of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM)2 should be implemented without delay. IWRM recognises two important, but potentially conflicting, aims. The first one is based essentially on the ethical and moral ideal of providing free and fair access to water resources for every human being. The second aim recognises that IWRM must follow sound economic practices. Recent studies of water management have concluded that the quantity and quality of water must be dealt with in an integrated way, for example, it must consider how efficient allocation and distribution can also be made equitable (see, for instance, Spulber and Sabbaghi, 1997; Shirley, 2002). However, when faced with the harsh realities and complexities of this much debated subject, it quickly becomes apparent that it is far simpler to write about IWRM than to successfully implement it in the real world. Whatever the level of economic development in a country, the management of the water system raises the same basic questions. These are: what should be the...

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