Water Policy: Allocation and Management in Practice

Water Policy: Allocation and Management in Practice

Water Policy: Allocation and Management in Practice

Water Policy: Allocation and Management in Practice


The successes and failures in the implementation of modern water policy options are considered, in an attempt to share real practical experience at all levels - local, regional, national and international.


As demands on finite water resources grow, so does the need for reasoned debate on water policy. The universal need for water makes such debate as relevant to the domestic consumer in a town in the Netherlands or a village in Namibia, the irrigation farmer in Bangladesh or Britain, and the Government Minister in Israel or India. Harmony between competing uses and users depends on mutually agreed water policy, and sound implementation of that policy. However policy formulation does not always include full consideration of the practical implications for effective implementation. Moreover, the ability to implement policies in an integrated manner is often lacking. This may be due to inadequate policy formulation in the first place, but it is often compounded by limited cooperation between professions and organisations.

This book examines successes and failures in the practical implementation of water policies. It describes water policies and their implementation at local, regional, national, and international levels and in all sub-sectors-domestic, industrial, agricultural and environmental uses of water. In all cases attempts have been made to derive lessons which cross disciplines, geographical boundaries, and levels, concerning successful policy implementation. The book will therefore be of interest to policy makers as well as policy implementers, and to a wide range of disciplines including management, planning, engineering, sciences, economics, law, administration, and politics.

1 Water allocation

The primary role of policy is to allocate water between competing uses and users. This essentially political activity involves people: individuals and their aspirations; communities and their multiple requirements; and nations, whose power struggles can involve access, or denial of access, to water. In the current situation of finite and often limited water resources Allan advocates the concept of virtual water, i.e. that water should be considered not just directly but as a component of many other commodities. This opens up new options for water allocation, that will however require better cooperation between the wider range of professionals involved. The importance of cooperation is taken up by Haque in an analysis of water policy in Bangladesh. He argues that integration and water user participation are essential elements in policy formulation and implementation. Abrams describes the new social and political situation in South Africa and how it is providing an exciting and unique opportunity to review institutional and legal aspects of water policy and allocation in that country. The benefits of cooperation over conflict with respect to water allocation are promoted by Kibaroglu. In this case the discussion is at the international level, between the neighboring States of Turkey and Syria. Al-Kloub and Al-Shemmeri tackle the subject at a practical level by proposing, with reference to Jordan, the use of a strategic planning tool which can balance a range of issues when considering water allocation priorities. The allocation problems faced in the irrigation sector in the UK are described by Weatherhead, who points out the mixed benefits of the current licensing system.

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