River basin management

Policies for the use and protection of water resources in a country are set by national governments. Although the implementation of these policies is effective at many scales, where policies are implemented at the basin scale, there is the opportunity to deliver 'whole basin' solutions and to resolve upstream-downstream (for a river) and region-to-region (for a lake or groundwater resource) controversies. The 'whole basin' approach allows the assessment of impact at a system level. In other words, national policies, as well as international agreements and regional conventions for transboundary waters, are applied to natural basins. The relationship between administering water resources within a country and managing water in basins thus becomes dynamic and more responsive to changing circumstances, whether environmental, social or economic. (GWP 2009)

Institutional Challenges:

  • Re-ordering water management institutions around the river basin/catchment
  • Integrating various sectors of water management within the river basin → Problems of sectoral interplay
  • Cooperating across political/administrative boundaries → Problem of spatial fit
  • Depending on actors, institutions and instruments of other policy fields that are not organized around river basins

Regarding to that, the following information should be included in a river basin management plan:

  • A general description of the characteristics of the river basin district, including maps
  • A summary of the main pressures and human impacts
  • A map of specially protected areas (e.g. bathing waters, areas for habitats or species protection)
  • A map of the monitoring networks
  • A list of the environmental objectives or targets
  • A summary of the program of measures to maintain or improve water status
  • A summary of the public consultations and their influence on the plan
  • A list of competent authorities and a contact point for receiving more information.

(WISE 2008)