OPTIMA: Optimisation   for Sustainable
Water Resources Management
   

Water Resources Management Related Issues:
identification, definition and classification

This document introduces a checklist of potential water related issues, supporting the   on-line questionnaire

These issues are used to describe and classify each of the case studies.
From the set of issues identified for each case, we can then derive the
criteria, objectives and constraints of the optimization approach.

Partners responsible for the case studies and the local actors and stakeholders (see also the on-line Stakeholder Data Base) are asked to go through the list, select and rank relevant issues, and provide some additional free-text comments further explaining their choice and assessment.

To facilitate this activity, and to compile as many opinions as possible in the spirit of the participatory approach, and to create a structured basis for a formal analysis of these inputs, the list will be implemented as an interactive on-line questionnaire, as an auxiliary tool and to support any direct field-work with the local actors and stakeholders.

For each of the issues to be selected and classified, there is an explanation and/or some examples problems that illustrate what the issues is meant to include, to facilitate a more consistent classification across cases.

As a parallel, supporting document, a   A Glossary of Terms   is also available.

The initial list prepared by FEEM, edited and extended by ESS: all partners are requested to provide their comments for continuous updates. Please note that we do NOT aim at eliminating redundancies, on the contrary, a good questionnaire design INCLUDES a certain amount of redundancy to ensure consistent assessment/answers.

The analysis of the inital set of responses can be found in Deliverable D02.1 available on-line for download as a PDF document.

  1. PHYSICAL CONDITIONS
    This section addresses the basic physical characteristics of the case study area, inasmuch as they contribute to the subsequent specific water resources management related issues and problems.
    • 1.1 Water Scarcity (precipitation/evapotranspiration balance, temporal availability, per capita availability)
    • 1.2 Floods and droughts (spatio-temporal distribution; regular floods related to heavy winter or spring rains, increasing damage level due to shifting land use (settlements in flood zones) recurrent summer droughts coinciding with peak demand periods for agriculture and tourism)
    • 1.3 Groundwater availability and quality (aquifer size and access, yield, saltwater intrusion, pollution of shallow aquifers)
    • 1.4 Watershed degradation (deforestation, land use, increasing impervious (sealed) areas due to urbanization the main concern here is land use change (primarily deforestation and urbanization) and its effects on runoff patterns (flooding) and water quality including erosion/sediments with subsequent problems such as reservoir siltation/capacity loss)
    • 1.5 Coastal interaction (salinity intrusion in groundwater and estuaries, coastal pollution due to pollution runoff)

  2. WATER MANAGEMENT
    This section addresses issues related to management, policy and institutional, and regulatory/legal aspects: the institutional framework (institutional competences by territory and by activity), participation (interactions between institutions and users, responsibility of institutions to users), regulatory framework (water legislation and enforcement) economic framework (water pricing), education (awareness of best available practices), technology assessment (investments and technologies used in the water cycle).
    • 2.1 INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK
      The EU Water Framework Directive (EC 2000/60) establishes the river basin (the natural geological and hydrological unit) as the appropriate level of coordination of action. The Directive promotes increased integration between departments, community and other stakeholders; on the contrary, bureaucratic departments have traditionally been organized around particular functions, such as agriculture or transport, with a high degree of vertical integration, but few functional links between departments, lacking effectiveness. The creation of a "River Basin Management Plan" and of "River Catchment Authorities" can help to develop such cross-sectoral working. However river catchment authorities, when existing, often play no more than an advisory role, lacking the ability to enforce decisions. Inadequate resources often limit their scope and effectiveness and they may not have a remit over the entire basin, which means that activities in one part of the basin can threaten other areas, especially downstream. Consequently, in many cases fragmentation prevails, possibly leading to overexploitation of the water resources. The set of questions below addresses this type of issues.
      • 2.1.1 Conflict and fragmentation of competences between institutions, overlap and conflicts: this may be applicable to a range of possible domain: water abstraction; water pollution; (drinking) water distribution; natural resources, environment; for all these topics, the following problems may be taken as examples, and be relevant individually or in any combination:
        • absence of legislation in establishing the competences incomplete implementation of legislation (ex: the river basin authority formally established by law, but never created in practice)
        • obsolete legislation
        • overlapping of competences between different institutions/authorities
        • fragmentation of competences, hierarchy among institutions not clearly defined
        • lack of communication/sharing of available information between institutions
        • absence of a "River Basin Management Plan"
        • inexistent judicial system for conflict resolution
        • ineffective judicial system for conflict resolution
        • financial resources not sufficient for accomplishing the tasks
        • human resources not sufficient for accomplishing the tasks

      • 2.1.2 Participation in water management - mechanisms, fora, active use: According to the Water Framework Directive member States shall encourage the active involvement of all interested parties in the implementation of the Directive, in particular in the production, review and updating of the river basin management plans. Member States shall ensure that, for each river basin district, they publish and make available for comments to the public (including users):(a) a timetable and work programme for the production of the plan, including a statement of the consultation measures to be taken; (b) an interim overview of the significant water management issues identified in the river basin; (c) draft copies of the river basin management plan. Access shall be given to background documents and information used for the development of the draft river basin management plan. Proper information of planned measures report on progress with their implementation are provided with a view to the involvement of the general public before final decisions on the necessary measures are adopted. The set of questions below addresses this type of issues.
        Applicable subtopics include: participation in the planning process; participation in the decision making process; specific problems can include:
        • public access to environmental/resource information
        • inexistent mechanisms of information of potential stakeholders
        • ineffective mechanisms of information of potential stakeholders
        • inexistent mechanisms of consultation of potential stakeholders
        • ineffective mechanisms of consultation of potential stakeholders
        • inexistent mechanisms of active involvement of potential stakeholders

      • 2.1.3 Coexistence of public and private responsibility, privatization: Water management was originally a governmental task. The size of this task however often requires the cooperation of all sectors of society. A strong collaboration between the public and the private sector can therefore be essential, if not indispensable. The private sector has always been involved in the water sector in some form or other. Delegation to the private sector range from service contracts (e.g. tendering for construction contracts in large urban supplies, or the informal provision of water in unserved areas) to full divestiture, with an increasing level of private involvement and control. There is a continuous debate about the effects of private participation in the water supply. Nowadays, it can be generally said that the fact that water supply is public or private does not condition its quality. However, as supply is a public good, two basic conditions should be met, before the decision about the involvement of the private sector is taken: Firstly, access to steady water supply for total population, including the poor and secondly, the protection of the environment.The set of questions below addresses this type of issues, relevant for the domains of water abstractions, pollution, and distribution. possible problems of privatization include:
        • limited service for certain areas and/or stakeholders (e.g., the operator gives preference to wealthier communities clients/users)
        • relaxation of environmentally sustainable abstraction practices
        • new and exclusively market oriented pricing mechanisms that could lead to social problems

    • 2.2 REGULATORY FRAMEWORK
      Regulation is here identified with Command and Control Policies. Command and control regulation uses the setting of standards. A standard is a mandated level of performance that is enforced in law; a standard simply makes excessive amounts of pollution illegal. In principle, the government can set the standard to yield the efficient level of pollution control. Governments set Ambient Standards (the amount of pollutant present in the surrounding environment), Emission standards (the level of emissions allowed), and Technology standards (which require polluters to use certain technologies, practices, or techniques). Regulation should also set principles for the allocation of water among the different uses (quotas by territorial units and sector) and for the service suppliers. Due to information asymmetry, authorities are not always in a good position to exercise control on the water users and suppliers and as a consequence regulation is not adequately enforced. Moreover, the competition over scarce water resources is increasing, often leading to conflicts. The set of questions below addresses this type of issues.
      • 2.2.1 Standards and quotas: Again, with water abstractions, pollution, and distribution as the main domains, possible problems at the general level include:
        • lack of norms for regulating water abstractions (ex: quotas by territorial units)
        • obsolete regulation, no longer reflecting the current situation
        • scarce monitoring (in space and time)
        • lack of enforcement of regulation, or inadequate penalties
        • awareness of the public about the level of implementation /infringements of regulation
        • lack of regulation in defining the activity of water users' associations
      • 2.2.2 Water rights and conflict resolution: Possible contribution to this issues may arise from:
        • unclear allocation of water rights
        • obsolete allocation of water rights
        • allocation of water rights not taking into account long-term
        • sustainability
        • lack of monitoring and enforcement of established water rights
        • lack of established priority between users in case of conflicts
        • over concurrent water uses (quantity)
        • lack of established priority between users in case of conflicts
        • over concurrent water uses (quality)
        • inexistent or ineffective judicial system for conflict resolution
      • 2.2.3 Public information access rights:
        • Free public access to environmental information
        • Public participation/hearings required in EIA/SEA process

    • 2.3 WATER PRICING POLICIES
      According to the EU Water Framework Directive, water pricing policies should account for full cost of service provision: the environmental cost (ensuring the polluter pays principle), the operational cost and the capital cost (the long-term forecasts of investments in infrastructure by the public and private sectors, for example). Water pricing policies should provide adequate incentives for users to use water resources efficiently, and thereby contribute to the environmental objectives. The Directive requires River Basin Authorities to develop water pricing systems that are sensitive to the physical, social, institutional and political setting in each location. In other words, studies will be done on the breakdown of costs according to different sectors like households, industry and agriculture. At the same time, because water is so crucial to public health, the Directive will also provide exceptions for less-favored areas, so that basic services are provided at an affordable price. The governmental mechanisms for determining the use of natural resources tends to shift from a centralized, `command-and-control' approach, to a more `enabling' market-based approach, which favors monetary incentives and disincentives and greater flexibility. The set of questions below addresses this type of issues.
      Potential problems contributing to this issue include:
      • water pricing system not based upon full cost recovery principles
      • sectoral (households, industry, agriculture) consumption/sanitation tariff structure based on flat rate tariffs and not based upon metering
      • expensive water fees in relation to the average urban household income
      • expensive water fees in relation to the average rural (agriculture based) income
      • inadequate/obsolete metering technology
      • poor maintenance of implemented metering system
      • existence of minimum consumption tariff or fixed tariff
      • lack of incentives for efficient water use (e.g., water saving techniques)
      • lack of incentives for less polluting practices
      • non existence of a punitive tariff structure (aimed at reducing undue consumptions)
      • poor enforcement of existing punitive tariff structure

    • 2.4 EDUCATION AND AWARENESS
      • existence of specific information programs, information material, topical web sites, media coverage
      • involvement of schools and educational institutions as actors/stakeholders
      • specific education/awareness campaigns by any of the major actors
      • continuing education programs in the domain (e.g., for governmental institutions)
      • use of advanced information technology, data availability (electronic formats), use of telemetry, GIS/RS data, modeling, DSS

    • 2.5 GENDER ISSUES
      • Gender related inequalities in access to water ?
      • Number/percentage of female actors in key stakeholder institutions ?

    • 2.6 TECHNOLOGY AND INVESTMENTS
      An adequate set of technologies is fundamental for assuring access to sufficient and good-quality water supply and for assuring efficiency in water use. Each new source of natural water requires increased cost, mostly due to increasing infrastructure and transport cost. Water institutions should possess the adequate financial resources for investing in water infrastructures and water technologies. The set of questions below addresses this type of issues.
      Potential problems in this group include:
      • obsolete/poorly maintained technologies for water abstraction, treatment, and distribution, but also specific use such as irrigation.
      • high delivery cost, pumping, storage, networks, pipelines.
      • techno-economic barriers to investment in the maintenance of the infrastructural set
      • techno-economic barriers to investment in domestic R&D activities
      • techno-economic barriers to investment in water risks management
      • inappropriate cooperation with International Development Banks and International Financial Institutions

  3. WATER DEMAND
    This section addresses the breakdown of water demand according to different sectors :
    • household (socio-demographic trends and water demand from households),
    • tourism (tourism and recent trends and water demand from tourism),
    • agriculture (land use and water demand from agriculture),
    • industry (industrialization and water demand from industry),
    • other uses (e.g., water for navigation or environmental purposes, flood control).

    • 3.1 DEVELOPMENT OF DEMAND (generic)
      • 3.1.1 Population growth (general)
      • 3.1.2 Urbanisation, land use change
      • 3.1.3 Economic development (tourism, industry)

    • 3.2 HOUSEHOLDS
      There is growing concern regarding the increasing stress on water resources caused by population growth, unsustainable consumption patterns and uncontrolled uses, both in urban and rural areas. Although, despite the broad recognition of the central role of water in sustainable development, including in efforts to eradicate poverty, addressing the water needs of the poor through concerted global action has not been given enough priority. Provision of safe drinking water and sanitation services remains one of the most critical challenges humanity is facing today. The set of questions below addresses this type of issues.
      • 3.2.1 Water quantity
        • eccessive demand of water by the household sector
        • eccessive demand of water by the urban population
        • eccessive demand of water by the rural population
        • pressure on water demand due to population growth
        • pressure on water demand due to immigration
        • pressure on water demand due to urbanization
        • pressure on water demand due to improvements in lifestyle
      • 3.2.2 Water quality
        • insufficient quality of water for the household sector
        • weak water discharges collection system (sewer system)
        • unsustainable exploitation of the main water compartment
        • (surface water, groundwater, reservoirs) water reuse practices inexistent or scarce
      • 3.2.3 Water technologies
        • "low consumption technologies" implemented at household level (e.g., toilets, washing machines) inexistent or scarce
        • water conservation technologies at household level (e.g., roof tank) inexistent or scarce
        • water recycling technologies inexistent or scarce

    • 3.3 TOURISM
      Water exploitation for tourism growth and leisure activities has been playing an increasingly important role in the water budget: luxury hotels and resorts with their extensive laundry, swimming pools and irrigated gardens and golf courses are obvious examples. In countries showing a development lag tourism can represent an important income source. But at the same time the exploitation of water for such purposes, under conditions of water scarcity, poses priority questions and contributes to the competition over scarce water resources. The set of questions below addresses this type of issues.
      • 3.3.1 Water quantity The per-capita demand (per toursit) is comparatively high, well above the local population; at the same time, the temporal distribution is usually unfavorable, with the peak demand coinciding with the (summer) periods of minimal water availability.
        • pressure on water demand due to tourism growth
        • tourism development limited by water scarcity
        • unsustainable exploitation of the main water compartment (surface water, groundwater, reservoirs)
        • conflicts between the most popular tourist resorts and original water users
      • 3.3.2 Water quality The demand on water quality for domestic use in the tourism sector are usually high; at the same time, irrigation of gardens and golf courses can be accomplished with recycled treated waster.
        • tourism development limited by poor water quality
        • weak water discharges collection system (sewer system)
        • water reuse practices inexistent or scarce.
      • 3.3.3 Water technologies
        • "low consumption technologies" implemented in tourist structures (e.g., toilets, washing machines) inexistent or scarce
        • water conservation technologies in tourist structures (e.g., roof tank) inexistent or scarce
        • water recycling/re-use technologies (e.g., for irrigation) inexistent or scarce

    • 3.4 AGRICULTURE
      Countries consider food self-sufficiency essential for a growing population in spite of increasing water overexploitation and land degradation. Agriculture is thus the major user of water in many countries. There are serious concerns about the performance of irrigated agriculture: water use productivity remains low, the environment suffers and issues of poverty are not addressed adequately. In rural areas, one dimension of poverty is that poor people have little access to land and water resources. Although resources are limited, water losses in irrigation systems are enormously high due to lack of know-how, poor water management practices, the failure to apply the user-pays principle consistently, and the continuously deteriorating state of infrastructure. While agricultural land use, in general, seems to be decreasing, high-consumption activities such as irrigated agriculture and in particular green houses are proportionally increasing. The set of questions below addresses this type of issues.
      • 3.4.1 Water quantity
        • Irrigation: pressure on water demand due to the increase of crops
          • agriculture development limited by water scarcity
          • shift of crops due to water scarcity
          • conflicts between water use by agriculture and other uses of water
        • Pastures and livestock (including aquaculture)
          • pressure on water demand due to the increase of livestock
          • pasture/livestock development limited by water scarcity
          • conflicts between water use by pasture/livestock and other uses of water
      • 3.4.2 Water quality
        • Irrigation
          • agriculture development limited by poor water quality
          • shift of crops due to poor water quality
          • unsustainable exploitation of the main water compartment (surface water, groundwater, reservoirs)
          • water reuse practices inexistent or scarce
        • Pastures and livestock (including aquaculture)
          • pasture/livestock development limited by poor water quality
          • unsustainable exploitation of the main water compartment (surface water, groundwater, reservoirs)
          • water reuse practices inexistent or scarce
      • 3.4.3 Water technologies (irrigation efficiency)
        • Irrigation
          • low consumption "irrigation technologies" inexistent or scarce
          • water conservation technologies inexistent or scarce
          • water recycling technologies inexistent or scarce
        • Pastures and livestock (including aquaculture)
          • water conservation technologies inexistent or scarce
          • water recycling technologies inexistent or scarce

    • 3.5 INDUSTRY
      For many poor countries, industrialization could make a significantly larger contribution to economic growth; hydropower - a renewable source of energy - can contribute to a more sustainable exploitation of natural resources. Several factors limit the exploitation of its potential, however. It requires large capital investments and is constrained by environmental and social concerns and costs - although good practices have emerged over the years that to a large extent can mitigate these effects. The set of questions below addresses this type of issues.
      • 3.5.1 Water quantity
        • pressure on water demand due to industrialization, including light and heavy industries
        • industrial development limited by water scarcity
        • pressure on water demand due to the shift towards more water-consuming industrial production
        • pressure on water demand due to the importance of the hydropower sector hydropower sector development limited by water scarcity
        • conflicts between water use by industry and other uses of water
      • 3.5.2 Water quality
        • industrial development limited by poor water quality
        • weak water discharges collection system (sewer system)
        • unsustainable exploitation of the main water compartment (surface water, groundwater, reservoirs)
        • water reuse practices inexistent or scarce
      • 3.5.3 Water technologies (efficiencies, recycling, reuse, BAT)
        • low consumption "production technologies" inexistent or scarce
        • water conservation technologies inexistent or scarce
        • water recycling technologies inexistent or scarce

    • 3.6 OTHER USES (environment, shipping, flood control)
      There have been growing conflicts between biodiversity conservation and increasing demands for land and water for other purposes. An effective and coherent water policy must take account of the vulnerability of aquatic ecosystems located near the coast and estuaries or in gulfs or relatively closed seas, as their equilibrium is strongly influenced by the quality of inland waters flowing into them. Aquatic ecosystems, both freshwater and marine, are sensitive to water quality problems stemming from extensive human activities, including industrial effluents, agricultural chemicals and human wastes. The poor enforcement of legislation meant to support ecosystems as well as insufficient knowledge and understanding of them are contributing to the loss of biodiversity. The set of questions below addresses this type of issues.
      • 3.6.1 Environmental water allocation e.g., for wetlands (quantity/quality)
        • conservation of protected areas/habitats (e.g., estuary/wetlands) and species/biodiversity not guaranteed because of the exploitation (quantity and quality) of water
        • restoration of altered critical habitats not guaranteed because of the exploitation (quantity and quality) of water
        • ecological flows in rivers and minimum retention in wetlands ("Environmental Water Use") not guaranteed because of the exploitation (quantity and quality) of water
      • 3.6.2 Shipping (low flow constraints)
        • minimum flow in rivers, necessary for navigation purposes, not guaranteed due to the exploitation of water
      • 3.6.3 Flooding (high flow constraints)
        • increased risk of natural disasters due to the exploitation (quantity and quality) of water
        • increased risk of soil erosion due to the exploitation (quantity and quality) of water

  4. WATER SUPPLY

    • 4.1 QUANTITY (supply/demand ratio, reliability, see also 1.1)

    • 4.2 QUALITY (relative to national or WHO standards, specific problems, NO3, fecal coliforms, etc.)
      • 4.2.1 Surface water
      • 4.2.2 Groundwater (general aquifer problems, see 1.3, well management, protection zones, pumping, cost and reliability)
      • 4.3 Non-conventional Sources are they considered/used: water harvesting, recycling and re-use, artificial groundwater recharge, desalination, inter-basin transfers ?

    • 4.3 ACCESSIBILITY
      • 4.3.1 Households (availability, reliability, quality of piped water)
      • 4.3.2 Agriculture (only applies to small-scale subsistence farming ?)
      • 4.3.3 Industry (only applies to small scale cottage industries ?)

    • 4.4 INFRASTRUCTURES
      • 4.4.1 Water abstraction and storage, reservoirs, water harvesting
      • 4.4.2 Sanitation, Sewer systems, Water and wastewater treatment and discharges
      • 4.4.3 Water distribution networks (canals and pipes), losses
      • 4.4.4 Preservation of natural resources, water allocation


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