Integrated Approaches to the Management and Use of Water Resources

Following activities could be implemented for a sustainable water management:

  • Water resources protection and conservation:

(i) Establishment and strengthening of technical and institutional capacities to identify and protect potential sources of water-supply within all sectors of society;
(ii) Identification of potential sources of water-supply and preparation of national profiles;
(iii) Preparation of national plans for water resources protection and conservation;
(iv) Rehabilitation of important, but degraded, catchment areas, particularly on small islands;
(v) Strengthening of administrative and legislative measures to prevent encroachment on existing and potentially usable catchment areas;

  • Water pollution prevention and control:

(i) Application of the “polluter pays” principle, where appropriate, to all kinds of sources, including on-site and off-site sanitation;
(ii) Promotion of the construction of treatment facilities for domestic sewage and industrial effluents and the development of appropriate technologies, taking into account sound traditional and indigenous practices;
(iii) Establishment of standards for the discharge of effluents and for the receiving waters;
(iv) Introduction of the precautionary approach in water-quality management, where appropriate, with a focus on pollution minimization and prevention through use of new technologies, product and process change, pollution reduction at source and effluent reuse, recycling and recovery, treatment and environmentally safe disposal;
(v) Mandatory environmental impact assessment of all major water resource development projects potentially impairing water quality and aquatic ecosystems, combined with the delineation of appropriate remedial measures and a strengthened control of new industrial installations, solid waste landfills and infrastructure development projects;
(vi) Use of risk assessment and risk management in reaching decisions in this area and ensuring compliance with those decisions;
(vii) Identification and application of best environmental practices at reasonable cost to avoid diffuse pollution, namely, through a limited, rational and planned use of nitrogenous fertilizers and other agrochemicals (pesticides, herbicides) in agricultural practices;
(viii) Encouragement and promotion of the use of adequately treated and purified waste waters in agriculture, aquaculture, industry and other sectors;

  • Development and application of clean technology:

(i) Control of industrial waste discharges, including low-waste production technologies and water recirculation, in an integrated manner and through application of precautionary measures derived from a broad-based life-cycle analysis;
(ii) Treatment of municipal waste water for safe reuse in agriculture and aquaculture;
(iii) Development of biotechnology, inter alia, for waste treatment, production of biofertilizers and other activities; (iv) Development of appropriate methods for water pollution control, taking into account sound traditional and indigenous practices;

  • Groundwater protection:

(i) Development of agricultural practices that do not degrade groundwaters;
(ii) Application of the necessary measures to mitigate saline intrusion into aquifers of small islands and coastal plains as a consequence of sealevel rise or overexploitation of coastal aquifers;
(iii) Prevention of aquifer pollution through the regulation of toxic substances that permeate the ground and the establishment of protection zones in groundwater recharge and abstraction areas;
(iv) Design and management of landfills based upon sound hydrogeologic information and impact assessment, using the best practicable and best available technology;
(v) Promotion of measures to improve the safety and integrity of wells and well-head areas to reduce intrusion of biological pathogens and hazardous chemicals into aquifers at well sites;
(vi) Water-quality monitoring, as needed, of surface and groundwaters potentially affected by sites storing toxic and hazardous materials;

  • Protection of aquatic ecosystems:

(i) Rehabilitation of polluted and degraded water bodies to restore aquatic habitats and ecosystems;
(ii) Rehabilitation programmes for agricultural lands and for other users, taking into account equivalent action for the protection and use of groundwater resources important for agricultural productivity and for the biodiversity of the tropics;
(iii) Conservation and protection of wetlands (owing to their ecological and habitat importance for many species), taking into account social and economic factors;
(iv) Control of noxious aquatic species that may destroy some other water species;

  • Protection of freshwater living resources:

(i) Control and monitoring of water quality to allow for the sustainable development of inland fisheries;
(ii) Protection of ecosystems from pollution and degradation for the development of freshwater aquaculture projects;

  • Monitoring and surveillance of water resources and waters receiving wastes:

(i) Establishment of networks for the monitoring and continuous surveillance of waters receiving wastes and of point and diffuse sources of pollution;
(ii) Promotion and extension of the application of environmental impact assessments of geographical information systems;
(iii) Surveillance of pollution sources to improve compliance with standards and regulations and to regulate the issue of discharge permits;
(iv) Monitoring of the utilization of chemicals in agriculture that may have an adverse environmental effect;
(v) Rational land use to prevent land degradation, erosion and siltation of lakes and other water bodies;

  • Development of national and international legal instruments that may be required to protect the quality of water resources, as appropriate, particularly for:

(i) Monitoring and control of pollution and its effects in national and transboundary waters;
(ii) Control of long-range atmospheric transport of pollutants;
(iii) Control of accidental and/or deliberate spills in national and/or transboundary water bodies;