Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) can be used to manage water, land, and related resources in a coordinated way. And therefore to maximise economic and social welfare in an equitable and ecologically sustainable framework (GWP, 2000). IWRM planning and decision-making should be an adaptive process: decision-makers and stakeholders continuously assess the situation and determine the best way to proceed.

The Deltares approach is based on a proven analysis framework (Loucks and Van Beek, 2017) for IWRM planning consisting of five main phases:

  • I. Inception – to set boundary conditions for the analysis
  • II. Situation analysis – to assess present and future water resources issues
  • III. Strategy building – to develop alternative strategies for decision making
  • IV. Action planning – to specify tasks, schedules, and resource requirements
  • V. Implementation – to execute the identified tasks, including monitoring and public consultation

This framework safeguards the thorough completion of planning processes and sign posts where and how scientific information, data and models can be used to support the analysis. That may be during the baseline problem identification, the exploration of the impact of different scenarios, the analysis and evaluation of measures and strategies, and system monitoring. The levels of detail in the analysis are tailored to the needs and capacities of the country, basin or region.

Using the analysis framework in the cyclical way required by the digital environment allows you to establish a sound understanding of an area’s water system, and to describe the importance and benefits of the sustainable management of water resources. That leads to knock-on improvements in planning decisions so that they cater to both present and future demand.

For additional information on Deltares’ IWRM framework of analysis, see Public Wiki for Governance System Analysis