From isolated projects to IWRM: a quick-guide

Actions of one water user affects other water users up- and downstream in the catchment. The activity can reduce the water flow or alter seasonal fluctuations or it can change water quality. Water use by one sector can result in increased scarcity and higher water prices for other sectors. On the other hand expanding water services creates new job opportunities. Take for example the kilometers of green protection strips along rivers and wetlands. These buffers offer new agri-business opportunities around multiple uses of bamboo or reed. A dam offers opportunities for leisure and tourism.

Integrated Water Resources Management provides an holistic approach to put water users in connection to each other. Coordinated planning within catchment boundaries leads to better water allocation and maximized benefits. It helps to mitigate water shortages and water related conflicts and to ensure that investments benefits all water users in the catchment.

To avoid the implementation of isolated projects, a quick-IWRM scan has been developed. This quick-scan maps the links between the projects and other water users in the catchment and orients IWRM adaptation of the project.The IWRM quick-scan helps to identify opportunities for value creation from adding the IWRM approach to isolated projects. Each water user should ask themselves the question: how does my decision/ action affect access for other users (including ecosystems) to water or the benefits from its use? 

The 5-point quick-scan helps to analyse the links between projects and other water users in the catchment..

Benefits of Integrated Water Resources management in the catchment versus isolated projects

5-point quick-guide for integrating projects into the catchment

  1. What are the effects on water users downstream and upstream (Quantity, Quality, Access, Risks)?
  2. What are the new opportunities for value creation, business opportunities, potential for cash-flow generation.
  3. What can be done to improve resource efficiency (Water/Land/Energy/Financial) of the water use?
  4. What improvement (financial efficiency) can be achieved by joint planning/ joint project development?
  5. What can be done to reduce negative effects/ increase positive effects?


Water 4 for Growth: full version IWRM quick scan/guide From isolated projects to IWRM mainstreaming tool