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The Dublin Principles for Water as Reflected in a Comparative Assessment of Institutional and Legal Arrangements for Integrated Water Resources Management

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Solanes, Miguel; Gonzalez-Villarreal, Fernando
Date: 1999
Agency: Global Water Partnership/Swedish International Development Agency, Stockholm, Sweden
Series: TAC Background Papers, no. 3
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/4985
Sector: Water Resource & Irrigation
Subject(s): water resources
water management
participatory management
public goods and bads
property rights
Abstract: "The purpose of this report is to analyse the relationship between the 1992 Dublin Principles, integrated water management and water law. The Dublin principles were an attempt to concisely state the main issues and thrust of water management: Freshwater is a finite and vulnerable resource, essential to sustain life, development and the environment; Water development and management should be based on a participatory approach, involving users, planners and policy-makers at all levels; Women play a central part in the provision, management, and safeguarding of water; Water has an economic value in all its competing uses, and should be recognised as an economic good. This report does not pursue to endorse a single given model or solution, but to provide a set of alternatives and experiences to readers seeking information about institutional issues affecting water management. In so doing the report assesses existing relationships between the Dublin Principles and national water law systems. The principle has been interpreted as a requirement for integrated management, responsive to the characteristics of water resources. Integrated includes technically appropriate water management (surface and groundwater, quality and quantity, water and soil, etcetera). Consideration of social needs, economic soundness and environmental requirements are implied. The ultimate goal is sustainable use and development of water resources. The review shows there are water policies and legislation concerned with integrated water management; water quality protection; flow and landscape considerations; ecological requirements; rational and guided water use; integration among soil, water, and other natural resources; protection of water supplies; water planning; recognition of the river basin; groundwater protection; mandatory assessment of water policies, plans, programmes and projects; and mandatory assessment of water related subsidies. There are also examples of legislation specifically concerned with the needs of all citizens, the common interest, benefits of individual users and the livelihood of population. Concrete examples of social concerns in water legislation are the preference often found for drinking water supply and sanitation, as well as the requirement of public access of British law. The link with development is also a tenet of water law. Legislative requirements for optimal use and full realisation of the economic benefits of water have been found. Some systems relate water planning to economic improvement and economic regions. Economic considerations are, in some countries, important normative criteria for decision making and program and project evaluation."

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