Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) has become the international label for the `new approach' to water resources management. This volume, and in fact the entire series, investigates how this global concept resonates with regional, national and local concerns in South Asia.
This is the first volume in a new series under the aegis of the South Asia Consortium for Interdisciplinary Water Resources Studies (SaciWATERs) and explains the IWRM.
This volume begins by tracking the emergence of IWRM as a central notion in water debates. It then discusses the European experience with IWRM in the context of the European Water Framework Directive-the most comprehensive attempt so far at an IWRM-based water governance and management system. Thereafter, the book turns to South Asia. Among other things, the contributors argue that:
- in South Asia, IWRM is a concept in search of a constituency, and not a concept that has emerged from regional or local practice;
- understanding and implementing IWRM requires interdisciplinary analysis and frameworks;
- IWRM is a `boundary' concept-plastic enough to adapt to local needs and the constraints of several parties employing it, yet robust enough to maintain a common identity across sites;
- there are issues and limits in transplanting the model of river basin organizations, a central thrust within the global IWRM discourse; and
- a focus on water alone may be misguided, and that IWRM should look intensely at land-water linkages.
Peter P Mollinga is Senior Researcher at the Centre for Development Studies (ZEF) in Bonn, Germany. Prior to this, he was Associate Professor at the Irrigation and Water Engineering group at Wageningen Agricultural University, The Netherlands. He is also Convener of SaciWATERs (South Asia Consortium for Interdisciplinary Water Resources Studies), Hyderabad, India. He has worked on irrigation management and reform, and more generally on the politics of water. He is presently involved in land and water management related research in Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and India. His academic interest lies in the integration of natural and social science perspectives through the interdisciplinary study of water resources.
Ajaya Dixit is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Nepal Water for Health, a Nepali NGO that has built water supply schemes serving over 700,000 people in Nepal in partnership with community groups. He is also Founder of Nepal Water Conservation Foundation and Editor of Water Nepal, a journal addressing interdisciplinary water and development issues. He has taught hydraulics and water resources engineering at Tribhuvan University's Institute of Engineering until 1989. He has also worked extensively as an analyst on water resources and environment issues in Nepal and South Asia. He has been a member of government of Nepal's Water and Energy Commission from 1993 to 1997.
Dr Dixit has written extensively on water and environment and developmental issues. He is engaged with actors in development agencies and village-based Water Users Groups, and in making constructive linking of water engineering and social issues. His current research is the study of adaptive approaches to floods and droughts in South Asia and the study of the impact of Global Environmental Change on food systems.
Kusum Athukorala is Core Group Member for Sri Lanka of the SaciWATERs consortium based in Hyderabad, India, and its Theme Leader Advocacy. A former university teacher in Sri Lanka, she has worked extensively as a consultant, researcher and activist on development issues. Currently, her special interests include impacts of water transfers out of agriculture and post-tsunami river sand mining on rural sector in Sri Lanka and capacity building in the water sector. A long-term researcher, specifically on gender and water, she is part of several international water organisations, capacity building and promotion of allied issues.