Integrated Water Resources Management: State of the art and the way forward
ABSTRACT: The concept of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) has gradually gained recognition from water officers, users and academics over the last twenty years. This is largely because IWRM advocates a coordinated approach for managing water resources in a way that balances social and economic needs with care for nature. Whilst these general principles are difficult to argue with, IWRM is both controversial and elusive in practice. Critics argue that IWRM is too vague a concept to be meaningful, and that it lacks a sufficiently clear series of steps for its practical implementation. Not the least of its shortcomings is the fact that many decisions affecting water are made outside the world of water planning. Based on the Spanish experience, this chapter examines the role of water accounting, food trade, environmental externalities and intangible values as key aspects of water management which still need to be resolved in practice.