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Urban Water Resource Management

Urban Water Security

Urban water security involves supply of bulk water to the urban area from the surrounding landscape and the internal distribution in the urban area. While urban water security is closely linked to urban stability, particular problems originate from the fact that regulation of inter-urban water provision is generally limited only to the formal supply system while the informal supply of shanty-towns etc tends to remain unregulated. Similarly, small-scale industry often offers the backbone to employment and generation of income among uneducated sections of society. This means that efforts to reduce their massive pollution flows by for instance closing down such industry, while waiting for wastewater treatment facilities to be introduced, tend to meet enormous social problems.

Water Quality Monitoring

Water quality monitoring provides information that helps set policies and programs to protect and improve the quality of streams, rivers, and lakes.  It provides a basis for prioritising needs so that limited funds can be effectively allocated to improve conditions.  Monitoring also provides the basis both for determining whether those policies and programs actually result in measurable environmental improvements, and to increase policies and programs effectiveness.

Watershed Planning

To protect water resources, it is increasingly important to address the condition of land areas within the watershed because water carries the effects of human activities throughout the watershed as it drains off the land into surface waters or leaches into the ground water.

Ecosystem/watershed planning aims for achieving clean water and healthy, sustainable ecosystems. This requires taking a comprehensive look at ecosystem issues and tailor corrective actions to local concerns within the coordinated framework of a national water program.

Water Management Efforts

Water management efforts to reach hydro-solidarity while securing both water, food and environmental security should encompass both sequential reuse of blue water along the river system and proper attention to green/blue water interactions as well as pollution loads, degrading the usability of the accessible water.

Intra-basin hydro-solidarity: Adapting to the hydro-climatic constraints of catchments involves compromise building and depends on the existence of adequate institutions able to take cross-sectional approaches. Societal ability to cope is a fundamental precondition, involving human ingenuity both in terms of communal approaches and technical solutions.

Sharing principles will evidently have to be found for the unavoidable compromise building process in a specific river basin. Starting point will have to include attention to both international conventions, to different modes of "human livelihood rights", to long-term productivity of the basin soils, and to ecosystem resilience through biodiversity to surprising catastrophes.

Downstream water security: Rivers depletion is a real problem that has to be given adequate attention and for which mitigation efforts are urgent. It follows from the water balance equation that, with an increasing consumptive use of water linked to an intensification of agricultural production, river flow may decrease in response. A further consequence of such a phenomenon is that the dilution-flow for introduced pollution load will also diminish and that, as a result, pollution levels will increase even more.

Conceptual obstacles:  The most evident conceptual obstacle is the compartmentalised approach taken by most water professionals, representing typical differences in their sectoral focus. Second, there are a set of scientifically based paradigm locks which originate from a deep-going sectarianism within science incompatible with water's large complexity in both roles and functions.

Human momentum:  The older form of national scale hydro-solidarity took the form of the water-rich regions feeling obliged to supply "thirsty" water-poor regions with the water that they were considered to need. This transfer has been seen as a public duty, and in line with this view irrigation water has often been provided at no or minimal cost. According to the modern view - "perverse subsidies" are quite difficult to abolish. Both vote-collecting interests, strong lobbying groups, attention to society's safety and stability, and potential threats in terms of riots etc have to be taken into account.