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1.3 Creating synergies through international co-operation – integrated water resource managementt

Durch internationale Kooperationen Synergien schaffen – Integriertes Wasserressourcen-Management
(Quelle: WISDOM, DLR, DFD)

Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) is generally defined as a process for co-ordinated development and management of water, land and the associated natural resources. An IWRM process such as this pursues the goal of effecting economic and social well-being along with a sustainable way of managing ecosystems.

In the last few years, the principle of integrated water resource management has been the overlying concept for water management in Germany and Europe; not least through the implementation of the European Water Framework Directive concluded in the year 2000. The IWRM process puts the focus on water basins as units: if interacting stationary surface waters, aquifers and – where present – coastal waters are considered with an integrative approach, sustainable management will be achieved. Social framework conditions, the ecosystem and various usage requirements are all weighed against each other and discussed with all user groups and interest groups.

The Federal Government dedicated funding to IWRM in 2004 as part of the research for sustainable development programme being run by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The overriding goals of using IWRM in developing and emerging countries are:

  • Ensuring the population has on-site access to clean drinking water and secured means of sanitary disposal
  • Improving the positioning of German companies within the international water management markets
  • Supporting bi and multilateral collaboration within water as a scientific field
  • Promoting interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary and international co-operation between science, industry, administration and supply/disposal practice
  • Boosting Germany’s standing as a location of economics, education and research among international competition.

Eight research projects are currently being funded, taking place in China (project example 1.3.06), Indonesia (project example 1.3.05), Iran, Israel-Jordan-Palestine (project example 1.3.01), Mongolia (project example 1.3.04), Namibia, South Africa and Vietnam (project example 1.3.02). German and international researchers and companies are working together to establish the prerequisites for sustainable use of water supplies, frequently backed up by German monitoring and plant technology. The projects are being supervised by project co-ordinators Karlsruhe Water Technology and Waste Management Division (PTKA-WTE) and Jülich (PTJ-UMW).

Topic-based programmes and projects

Within the various funding programmes, the BMBF is supporting IWRM-related projects in partner countries that are not actually classed as developing or emerging but are also focused on fields such as developing and adapting water technology or sustainable land use. Examples of these are the International Water Research Alliance Saxony (IWAS) or concepts for sustainable development on the Volga and its tributaries. The transdisciplinary project entitled “Water related Information System for the Sustainable Development of the Mekong Delta” (WISDOM) intends to provide local authorities with a information system to help them use the resources available in a sustainable manner (project 1.3.08).

With the aim of developing comprehensive water management concepts for five hydrologically sensitive regions of the world, around 40 scientists from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ and the Technical University of Dresden have joined forces with Stadtentwässerung Dresden GmbH, the Institute of Hydrobiology (itwh), Dreberis GmbH and other partners from science, economics and politics to form the “International Water Research Alliance Saxony” (IWAS) (project 1.3.07).

The funding priority of IWRM and the results obtained are available on the BMBF website dedicated to IWRM (www.bmbf.wasserressourcen-management.de).