Over 1.4 billion people currently live in river basins where the use of water exceeds minimum recharge levels, leading to the desiccation of rivers and depletion of groundwater. Increasing water scarcity and climate change impacts, coupled with rising demand and competition between multiple users such as cities, industry, agriculture and the environment, are putting unprecedented pressure on river basins worldwide.
To address these challenges requires the sustainable management of water to optimize the use of water resources; addressing climate risks to reduce vulnerability and enhance resilience; and actions at the catchment level to protect water sources, increase water efficiency and improve water allocation.
The IWA’s Basins of the Future programmes aims to guide cities, industries and their basins in the sustainable planning and management of water resources across scales, from catchment to consumer, meeting growing demands and responding to the challenges of climate variability and change. We do this through building partnerships across scales; demonstrating and promoting approaches that work; through international frameworks and agenda-setting guidelines; and through advocacy for improved regulation, policy and financing.
The programme is taking a leading role in developing an “Action Agenda for Sustainable Basin Management”, which will provide guidance for a bottom up approach to basin management especially involving urban and industrial areas through their actions at the catchment level. Key recommendations from the Basin Leaders Forum at the IWA World Water Congress in Brisbane, Australia are being used to further strengthen the Action Agenda. The Agenda will be a mechanism to put the Principles for Water-Wise Cities into action by connecting basins with their urban stakeholders.