Strategic Water Management

20 May 2013

Better planning and management of river basins is needed urgently to reduce further pressure on our planet and its inhabitants.

Freshwater ecosystems and people around the world are already experiencing negative impacts due to water scarcity and extreme weather situations such as floods and drought.

It is estimated that half the world's population will live in water-stressed areas by 2025; and, that approximately 14 billion of economic damage is caused annually by flooding.

We've worked in partnership with the General Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Planning and Design, Chinese Ministry of Water Resources, the Asian Development Bank, and UNESCO to produce a series of technical water publications that bring together experiences and lessons from around the globe on how to better plan and manage our precious water resources.

The books offer guidance on a range of issues, ranging from how to effectively allocate water resource to meet competing demands while ensuring environmental needs are still met and how to reconcile the many competing demands for water resources within a basin, through to sharing insights and frameworks from emerging best practice for flood risk management.

Read more about each of the books in the three part series below.

Strategic basin planning

Growing competition for scarce water resources has driven major changes in the way river basin planning is undertaken. This has resulted in a shift away from ‘technical’ approaches designed to maximise water availability and led to more strategic approaches to basin planning. These approaches aim to optimise outcomes by reconciling the competing demands of different sectors of the economy, the natural environment, and society as a whole.

Drawing on experiences from around the world, this book distils best practice approaches to basin planning in large and complex basins and provides an overview of the emerging good practice.

Part A includes discussion of the evolution of basin planning and provides a framework for strategic basin planning, including environmental planning.

Part B describes some of the techniques involved in basin planning, including conducting a situation assessment, addressing uncertainty, techniques for identifying objectives and balancing trade-offs, and developing thematic plans.

Basin allocation planning

As water scarcity has increased globally, water allocation plans and agreements have taken on increasing significance in resolving international, regional and local conflicts over access to water. This book considers modern approaches to dealing with these issues at the basin scale, particularly through the allocation of water amongst administrative regions.

Drawing on experiences from around the world, this book distils best practice approaches to water allocation in large and complex basins and provides an overview of emerging good practice.

Part A includes discussion of the evolution of approaches to water allocation, provides a framework for water allocation planning at the basin scale, and discusses approaches to deciding and defining shares to water and to dealing with variability and uncertainty related to water availability.

Part B describes some of the techniques involved in water allocation planning, including assessing and implementing environmental flows and the use of socio-economic assessments in the planning process.

Flood risk management - a strategic approach

Over recent decades the concept of flood risk management has been cultivated across the globe. Implementation however remains stubbornly difficult to achieve.

In part this reflects the perception that a risk management paradigm is more complex than a more traditional standard-based approach as it involves ‘whole systems’ and ‘whole life’ thinking; yet this is its main strength and a prerequisite for more integrated and informed decision making.

This book results from an international collaborative effort to explore and distil best practice approaches to flood risk management in challenging large scale and inter-related environments.

Part A provides a historical perspective on the flood events that have shaped modern approaches.

Part B describes emerging good practice, including (i) the purpose and characteristics of strategic "Flood risk management, (ii) the goals, objectives and outcomes sought, (iii) the necessary governance frameworks, (iv) the development of adaptive strategies, (v) the relationship with ecosystem services, (vi) the barriers to, and enablers of, implementation, and, finally, (vi) the ‘nine golden rules’ that underpin good "flood risk management decision making today.

Part C presents particular techniques in more detail, including (i) risk and uncertainty analysis, (ii) spatial planning, (iii) infrastructure management, (iv) emergency planning, (v) flood hazard and risk mapping, (vi) the management of "ash "floods and (vii) insurance.

River Basin Planning

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