Water Is vital to every form of life. German news
Over-exploitation of surface and ground water, and worsening pollution caused by households, industry and agriculture are generating tensions and conflicts between user groups or upstream and downstream users which must be resolved. Droughts and floods are becoming more and more frequent. Agriculture uses more than two thirds of water reserves in order to feed the world, but it often fails to make efficient use of water. The demand for water will continue to rise, and the situation will continue to worsen. Several international conferences have already looked at ways of resolving these problems. A general consensus has emerged on the principles of water management, which are now widely accepted:
The Dublin conference on Water and the Environment in 1992 proposed the following principles for water resources:
Water has an economic value.
On the basis of these principles, basic premises and solutions for sustainable water resources management are being elaborated at the international level, in line with the principles of the Earth Summit, as laid out in Agenda 21 , Chapter 18.
Fields of Action
German development co-operation bases its work on the following principles:
Water must be seen as scarce economic treasure. Demand should be controlled by imposing cost covering tariffs. Parallel to this, pipeline losses should be reduced, consumption metered, illegal tapping and non-invoiced utilisation monitored and PR work undertaken.
The state should restrict itself to regulation and overall planning for the sector. Operational water management should be decentralised wherever possible, with a state watchdog. Among other things, this means developing instruments to protect water resources within the scope of a dialogue with water users.
Integrated water resource management should be based on river basins and groundwater reserves, rather than on existing administrative borders. Where conflicts arise between upstream and downstream users, or between different users or user groups, mechanisms must be put in place to reconcile these interests.
The German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), which is responsible for advising German ministries on issues related to natural resources and applied geosciences and on the geoscientific aspects of environmental protection and natural resource conservation in Germany and in developing countries, plays a supportive role in technical co-operation.
The Indo-German Development Cooperation is involved in a series of bilateral projects concerning the water issue in India. Watershed management systems (in Rajasthan, H.P., Maharashtra, A.P., Gujarat), irrigation schemes (in Rajasthan, H.P.), and drinking water supply (West Bengal, Maharashtra, Rajasthan) are some of the initiatives to assist the local population to have access to sustainable water resources and to increase the awareness for water as a precious natural asset.
http://www.irc.nl/ International water and Sanitation Centre
www.cgiar.org/iwmi International Water Management Institute
http://www.gwpforum.org/ Global Water Partnership