In news– The United Nations has estimated that by the year 2050, four billion people will be seriously affected by water shortages, hence shifting the attention from linear water management to a multi-dimensional integrated water management approach, that is, the ‘One Water’ approach is needed.
What is the ‘One Water’ approach?
- ‘One Water’ is the recognition that all water has value, regardless of its source.
- It includes managing that source in an integrated, inclusive and sustainable manner by including the community, business leaders, industries, farmers, conservationists, policymakers, academics and others for ecological and economic benefits.
- The new water management approach, also referred to as Integrated water resources management (IWRM).
- IWRM is an “integrated planning and implementation approach to managing finite water resources for long-term resilience and reliability meeting both community and ecosystem needs”.
- This approach also recognises that all water has value and by considering the potential of every form of water, none of them should be treated as a waste product.
Characteristics of the approach-
A ‘One Water’ approach can be analysed and implemented in many different forms, but all share some common unifying characteristics:
- The mindset that all water has value — from the water resources in our ecosystems to our drinking water, wastewater and stormwater.
- A multi-faceted approach meaning that our water-related investments should provide economic, environmental, and societal returns.
- Utilising watershed-scale thinking and action that respects and responds to the natural ecosystem, geology, and hydrology of an area.
- Partnerships and inclusion in recognising that real progress and achievements will only be made when all stakeholders come forward and together will take a decision.