Water Management

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Description of water resource management. Explanation.

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Definition Water Management. Description

Water management is the whole of activities that aims to plan, develop, distribute and make optimum use of ground, surface and marine water resources under defined water policies and regulations.

It includes: management of water treatment of drinking water, industrial water, sewage or wastewater, management of water resources, management of flood protection, management of irrigation, and management of the water table. It has:

  • QUANTITATIVE ASPECTS: Both an excess of water and a shortage of water are undesirable.
  • QUALITATIVE ASPECTS: Ensuring the presence and supply of sufficient water of good quality.

Water management is sometimes also referred to as: hydrology, water resource management or water cycle management.


Challenges in Water Management

Water is a crucial resource for all life on Earth. Of the water resources on our planet only 3% is fresh. About two-thirds of this 3% is locked up in ice caps and glaciers. Of the remaining 1%, a fifth is in remote, inaccessible areas.

Moreover, seasonal rainfall in monsoonal deluges and resulting floods are difficult to control and use.

Water is becoming increasingly scarce due to growing population, etc. Although there are major differences between countries in the availability of clean, safe water for drinking, sanitation, manufacturing, leisure and agriculture.

Successful management of water resources requires accurate knowledge of the resources available, the uses to which they may be put, the competing demands for the resources, measures to and processes to evaluate the significance and worth of competing demands and mechanisms to translate policy decisions into practical actions.


Examples of water management

Here is a list of some typical water management topics:

  • Quantity (safety, transport)
    • Ensuring safety against flooding and against rising ocean/sea levels.
    • Controlling the amount of water that enters and leaves a country (through rivers).
    • Management of flood protection. Investigating how high and stable dikes must be in order to guarantee sufficient safety.
    • Maintenance of pumping stations, weirs and other structures in waterways.
    • Keeping draining waterways clean to keep the drainage capacity large enough.
    • Management of the water table. Monitoring and regulating the groundwater level.
    • Building reservoirs to have sufficient water in dry periods.
    • Management of water resources.
    • Management of irrigation.
  • Quality (health, environment)
    • Management of water treatment of drinking water.
    • Management of industrial water.
    • Management of sewage or wastewater.
    • Monitoring the quality of surface water, ecology.
    • Determination and enforcement of a flushing policy of polders to combat saline seepage.

Changes in water management

Due to climate change, sea level rise, soil subsidence and increasing pressure on scarce available space, there is an increasing awareness worldwide of the need to deal with water more professionally. Ancient technical measures and solutions are no longer sufficient. Governments, civil society organizations and market parties are looking for other, more sustainable solutions. This change is sometimes referred to as the water transition.


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