Freshwater Management: Problems and Challenges

Somlyody, L., Yates, D., & Varis, O. (1995). Freshwater Management: Problems and Challenges. IIASA Working Paper. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: WP-95-120

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Water (including increasing use relative to availability, and deteriorating quality) may be one of the most severe stresses on the exponentially growing human population in the next century. Problems are becoming increasingly complex and diverse and require more and more specific knowledge from both a technical and non-technical perspective. These complexities create the need to understand and comprehend the more detailed technical components as well as broader managerial and societal issues. These non-complementary elements will increasingly demand the efficient integration of various disciplines, sectors, countries, and societies. The major challenges addressed are whether we are capable of and prepared to realize the needed integration and whether we can resolve the large amounts of existing gaps and barriers. The paper analyzes major past and desired future trends in fresh water management. There is an attempt to draw from the three main socio-economic regions: the developed world, Central and Eastern Europe (including countries of the former USSR) and the developing world. A number of issues are selected with regards to integrated freshwater management: (1) Identification, occurrence, and perception of various problems (e.g. eutrophication, acidification, global warming, salinization, groundwater contamination, eco-system degradation, land cover changes, vulnerability); (2) Current integration of methodologies; their strengths and weaknesses; Large scale projects; dams, irrigation schemes and water transfers; (3) Global urbanization; (4) Wastewater treatment and pollution control types (considering also consumption emissions); (5) Modeling and monitoring; (6) Planning and environmental impact assessment; (7) Legislation and institutions; (8) Education and public awareness; (9) Sustainable development and time preference; (10) The role of science and engineering.

The past two decades showed tremendous developments in the management of water as seen from many different perspectives. In spite of these advancements there is still room for improvement. The focus of the present discussion lays mostly on the dissemination of lessons and questions which are crucial to likely future problems and desired improvements.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Working Paper)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 02:05
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:15

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