What and why?
Many different sectors are dependent on water, and as a result, where water resources are limited, conflicts over use arise. The commonly fragmented management of water resources is particularly inept at solving such conflicts and ensuring sustainable use of the resource.
Water resources are naturally confined to water basins so from an ecological perspective, it would be most appropriate to manage these resources at this scale.
Further, most of the world’s freshwater resources are transboundary, and that coordination and cooperation across national borders, while necessary, can be especially challenging.
By bringing together stakeholders from different sectors and regions, IWRM promotes the coordinated development and management of water- and land-related resources, in order to maximize economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of ecosystems.
IWRM is not an end but a means of achieving sustainable management of water resources, through aspects such as international cooperation and capacity-building and stakeholder participation.