An integrated management approach for water security in all sectors

The exploitation of freshwater resources, population growth and the impacts of climate change calls for water management based on sound knowledge and sustainable practices. This White Paper covers the Danish approach to Integrated Water Resource Management and addresses complex water challenges.

Increasingly difficult to reconcile goals

The conflicting interests of nature and the different sectors involved in sharing limited water resources must be addressed in an integrated fashion at both policy and operational level. Water resources management authorities all around the world have found help in the principles of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

According to the UN Water report on integrated approaches to water resources management (2012), around half of all countries have made significant progress towards implementing the principles of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) while many others are well underway. The principles aim at securing water for all sectors, conserving water in a sustainable way and protecting water resources from pollution. However, it is increasingly difficult to adhere to these objectives as populations grow, demands for food and energy rise, the climate changes and environmental sustainability becomes increasingly important.

Danish Expertise in implementing IWRM

From a global perspective, access to clean water is essential for the prosperity and health of all living creatures. Denmark’s broad political commitment for the protection of environment and groundwater resources provides a continual institutional platform, which is key to ensuring sustainable water management.

Denmark played a key role in the international foundation and development of IWRM being the first country to pilot and apply IWRM in national and international projects and by hosting the Secretariat of the Technical Advisory Group of the Global Water Partnership. Strict environmental regulations, private-public partnership, public, high quality data and significant involvement of research and knowledge institutions have driven Denmark ahead in integrated water resources management. Today the public authorities and the private sector, made up of consulting companies. This white paper provides an overview of steps and methods for implementing Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) to address complex water challenges.

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