chapter  1
6 Pages



The water world has become saturated with new concepts such as water govern ance, water security, Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM)—concepts that coexist with pre-existing notions such as water policy and institutions, and water management. While the new conceptual lenses may generate insights that improve responses to the world’s water challenges, their practical use is often encumbered by ambiguity, confusion, and even fatigue associated with the steady flow of new “solutions” that can be interpreted in multiple ways. One result is lost time and energy devoted to sorting through the meanings and measuring sticks for a slew of new words, often in an ad hoc quick-and-dirty fashion, in order to achieve progress in deadline-oriented development projects. Another result of this ambiguity is the wild use of these terms in the context of policy discussions and develop ment dialogues, which can distract people into sorting through meanings rather than sorting through issues and solving problems.