Multiple uses. Water is a resource for drinking and washing but is also necessary for livelihoods.
Holistic management. Both the supply of and the demand for water should be considered when creating management strategies.
Multiple perspectives. Water is an economic, social and environmental good.
Participatory approach. Local communities must help make decisions about their resources.
Women involvement. The role of women in collecting, distributing and managing water must be recognized.
The IWRM approach promotes more coordinated development and management of land and water, surface water and groundwater, the river basin and its adjacent coastal and marine environment, and upstream and downstream interests.
It is also about reforming human systems to enable people to obtain sustainable and equitable benefits from those resources. For policy-making and planning, taking an IRWM approach requires that:
- water development and management takes into account the various uses of water and the range of people’s water needs;
- stakeholders are given a voice in water planning and management, with particular attention to securing the involvement of women and the poor;
- policies and priorities consider water resources implications, including the two-way relationship between macroeconomic policies and water development, management, and use;
- water-related decisions made at local and basin levels are along the lines of, or at least do not conflict with, the achievement of broader national objectives; and
- water planning and strategies are incorporated into broader social, economic, and environmental goals.