C9 ASSESSMENT INSTRUMENTS
Good plans include social, environmental and economic assessments.
The planning process must take into account not only development options within the water sector itself but also scenarios for development and relations between other sectors that may have an impact on the water resources (e.g. water demand or water quality). Likewise, the consequences of water management decisions in other economic sectors (e.g. tourism or health) should be an integral part of the analyses made during the planning process. It is important that the planning process includes analysis of risks (climatic variations, as well as economic, political and other risks) and addresses the necessary and adequate measures to reduce or manage risks (C9.1).
The responsibility for the planning process itself inevitably rests with the authorities, be they national agencies, regional authorities, or river basin organisations. It is important that the responsible authorities design a planning process that allows for involvement and contribution from all affected parties, including the private sector, community groups and disadvantaged stakeholders (see also B2.1).
Environmental assessment allows effective integration of environmental considerations and public concerns into decision-making. Most governments pursue certain general objectives in terms of economic growth, income distribution/poverty alleviation, and proper management of natural resources. There may be some complementarities in these objectives, but it is accepted that significant trade-offs are involved. Given the existing scarcities of financial and human resources, it is particularly relevant to conduct a sound economic analysis of projects and policies is an important means of making the allocation process more efficient.