An Integrated Approach
Edited by Carlo Giupponi, Anthony J. Jakeman, Derek Karssenberg and Matt P. Hare
Chapter 4: Sustainable Water Management and Decision Making
Carlo Giupponi, Anita Fassio, Jacobo Feás Vàzquez and Jaroslav Mysiak 4.1 DECISION MAKING IN WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT Human society is always interacting with water, land and air, the natural resources of the earth. In particular: Water is essential to all life, all ecosystems and all human activity. Wisely used, water means harvests, health, prosperity and ecological abundance for the peoples and nations of the earth. Badly managed or out of control, water brings poverty, disease, floods, erosion, salinisation, waterlogging, silting, environmental degradation and human conflict. This quote from the World Water Council’s Constitution (WWC, 1996) illustrates the essential role of water in our world. Water is a basic element for human survival; it is an important production factor in our economy, particularly in agriculture, and it is the habitat of a wide range of species. As stated in the Introduction to this book, the IWRM approach, firmly bounded in the sustainability concept, stresses the need to view water resources in a holistic way, in which socioeconomics and environmental sciences should find integration. But water management must not rely only on robust and integrated scientific knowledge, it also needs to be supported by clear policy and regulatory frameworks and needs to be put in practice by means of adequate tools. The sustainable use of water resources, as defined in a number of policies and regulations, requires coherent and efficient tools that can assist decision making. For the purposes of this work, a useful definition of decision making which leaves...
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