A1.2 Policies with relation to water resources
Governments, at both the national and local level, develop policies, plans and programmes of action which directly or indirectly affect water resources management. These include policies and plans for land use (particularly at the local level), environmental protection and conservation, economic development (in such areas as energy, agricultural, industrial developments), and trade. In most countries, water is dealt with by many ministries, for example, agriculture, transport and navigation, power, industry and environment, but there may be little co-ordination between them, and their focus is likely to be more on development type issues, as suggested above, than on water resource management.
It is therefore important to recognise the direct impact of non-water policies on water use and management. Tools for co-ordinating policies and ensuring that water implications are taken into account (and that other sectoral interests are recognised in water policies) include the establishment of institutional structures (see B1), such as:
To succeed, cross-sectoral mechanisms for co-ordination need to be driven by strong political champions, committed senior bureaucrats and internal financial and administrative support. The mechanisms should be set up at the level at which the policy is formulated.
Cross-sectoral understanding and commitment is difficult to achieve, but many tools can be used to support the process, including assessment of water resources and needs (C1), and planning processes where recognition of other sectoral needs and priorities are made explicit (C2). The legal framework itself can set out procedures for working with other economic and social activities.
Developing processes to introduce an integrated approach with non-water sectors can be complicated and costly, exacerbated by politics and widely differing vested interests. Although generalisations are difficult, experience suggests the following should be considered: