Integrated Water Resources Management became a widely accepted guiding principle in the water sector after it was accepted by the governments of the world during the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. However, critique of the IWRM approach has grown recently (“too generic”, “too complex”) and the world is facing different challenges now than 20 years ago: 1.5 billion more inhabitants, increasing complexity and uncertainty, rapid urbanization, water and food security, economic disruptions, global changes, etc.. Do we need new ways of thinking and new approaches for the management of water resources that could guide practitioners and water management around the globe?
The objective of the panel was to summarize outcomes of recent IWRM initiatives and to reflect upon questions such as: What are the biggest water challenges that the world faces today and in the future? What are the most important messages (or lessons learnt) from different IWRM research initiatives? What are the major drivers of water management beyond the water sector? What are efficient ways to integrate sectoral knowledge from different disciplines in order to improve adaptive IWRM strategies? The implementation of IWRM often requires long-termed water sector reforms. What is an adequate contribution of research projects that are generally constrained in time and design? How to transfer scientific results into practice? What are the core concepts, tools and measures and political and institutional prerequisites to achieve an IWRM?
The panelists were:
Chair: Stephan von Keitz (Hessian Ministry of Environment, Agriculture, Rural Areas and Consumer Protection, Germany)
Janos Bogardi (Executive Officer, Global Water Systems Project, Germany
Peter Krebs (University of Technology Dresden, Germany)
Jonch Torkil Clausen (Water Policy Adviser, DHI Group, Senior Adviser, Global Water Partnership, Denmark)
Per Stålnacke (Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research – BIOFORSK)
Bai-Mass M. Taal (African Ministers’ Council on Water – AMCOW)