Water management
Water management is the activity of planning, developing, distributing and managing the optimum use of water resources. In an ideal world. water management planning has regard to all the competing demands for water and seeks to allocate water on an equitable basis to satisfy all uses and demands. This is rarely possible in practice.

Water resources

Water is an essential resource for all life on the planet. Of the water resources on Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

 only three per cent of it is not salty and two-thirds of the freshwater is locked up in ice caps and glaciers. Of the remaining one per cent, a fifth is in remote, inaccessible areas and much seasonal rainfall in monsoonal deluges and floods cannot easily be used. At present only about 0.08 per cent of all the world’s fresh water. is exploited by mankind in ever increasing demand for sanitation
Sewage treatment
Sewage treatment, or domestic wastewater treatment, is the process of removing contaminants from wastewater and household sewage, both runoff and domestic. It includes physical, chemical, and biological processes to remove physical, chemical and biological contaminants...

, drinking
Drinking water
Drinking water or potable water is water pure enough to be consumed or used with low risk of immediate or long term harm. In most developed countries, the water supplied to households, commerce and industry is all of drinking water standard, even though only a very small proportion is actually...

, manufacturing
Manufacturing is the use of machines, tools and labor to produce goods for use or sale. The term may refer to a range of human activity, from handicraft to high tech, but is most commonly applied to industrial production, in which raw materials are transformed into finished goods on a large scale...

, leisure and agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

Much effort in water management is directed at optimising the use of water and in minimising the environmental impact of water use on the natural environment.

Successful management of any resources requires accurate knowledge of the resource available, the uses to which it may be put, the competing demands for the resource, measures to and processes to evaluate the significance and worth of competing demands and mechanisms to translate policy decisions into actions on the ground.

For water as a resource this is particularly difficult since sources of water can cross many national boundaries and the uses of water include many that are difficult to assign financial value to and may also be difficult to manage in conventional terms. Examples include rare species or ecosystems or the very long term value of ancient ground water reserves.

Agriculture: water's biggest consumer

Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 is the largest user of the world's freshwater resources, consuming 70 per cent. Industry uses a further 20 per cent and municipalities account for the remaining ten per cent. As the world's population rises and consumes more food (currently exceeding 6%, it is expected to reach 9% by 2050), industries and urban developments expand, and the emerging biofuel
Biofuel is a type of fuel whose energy is derived from biological carbon fixation. Biofuels include fuels derived from biomass conversion, as well as solid biomass, liquid fuels and various biogases...

 crops trade also demands a share of freshwater resources, water scarcity is becoming an important issue. An assessment of water management in agriculture was conducted in 2007 by the International Water Management Institute
International Water Management Institute
The International Water Management Institute is a non-profit research organisation with headquarters in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and offices across Africa and Asia...

 in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

 to see if the world had sufficient water to provide food for its growing population. It assessed the current availability of water for agriculture on a global scale and mapped out locations suffering from water scarcity. It found that a fifth of the world's people, more than 1.2 billion, live in areas of physical water scarcity
Physical water scarcity
Physical water scarcity is the situation where there is not enough water to meet all demands, including that needed for ecosystems to function effectively. Arid regions frequently suffer from physical water scarcity. It also occurs where water seems abundant but where resources are over-committed...

, where there is not enough water to meet all demands. A further 1.6 billion people live in areas experiencing economic water scarcity
Economic water scarcity
Economic water scarcity is a type of water scarcity caused by a lack of investment in water or insufficient human capacity to satisfy the demand for water. Symptoms of economic water scarcity include a lack of infrastructure, with people often having to fetch water from rivers or lakes for domestic...

, where the lack of investment in water or insufficient human capacity make it impossible for authorities to satisfy the demand for water.

The report found that it would be possible to produce the food required in future, but that continuation of today's food production and environmental trends would lead to crises in many parts of the world. Regarding food production, the World Bank targets agricultural food production and water management as an increasingly global issue that is fostering an important and growing debate. The authors of the book Out of Water: From abundance to Scarcity and How to Solve the World's Water Problems, published in 2011, laid down a six-point plan for solving the world's water problems. These are: 1) Improve data related to water; 2) Treasure the environment; 3) Reform water governance; 4) Revitalize agricultural water use; 5) Manage urban and industrial demand; and 6) Empower the poor and women in water management. To avoid a global water crisis, farmers will have to strive to increase productivity to meet growing demands for food, while industry and cities find ways to use water more efficiently.

Managing water in urban settings

Half of the world’s people now live in towns and cities, a figure expected to reach two-thirds by 2050. In the areas surrounding urban centres, agriculture must compete with industry and municipal users for safe water supplies, while traditional water sources are becoming polluted with urban wastewater. As cities offer the best opportunities for selling produce, farmers often have no alternative to using polluted water to irrigate their crops. Depending on how developed a city’s wastewater treatment is, there can be significant health hazards related to the use of this water. Wastewater from cities can contain a mixture of pollutants. There is usually wastewater from kitchens and toilets along with rainwater runoff. This means that the water usually contains excessive levels of nutrients and salts, as well as a wide range of pathogens. Heavy metals may also be present, along with traces of antibiotics and endocrine disruptors, such as oestrogens.

Developing world countries tend to have the lowest levels of wastewater treatment. Often, the water that farmers use for irrigating crops is contaminated with pathogens from sewage. The pathogens of most concern are bacteria, viruses and parasitic worms, which directly affect farmers’ health and indirectly affect consumers if they eat the contaminated crops. Common illnesses include diarrhoea, which kills 1.1 million people annually and is the second most common cause of infant deaths. Many cholera outbreaks are also related to the reuse of poorly treated wastewater. Actions that reduce or remove contamination, therefore, have the potential to save a large number of lives and improve livelihoods. Scientists have been working to find ways to reduce contamination of food using a method called the 'multiple-barrier approach'.

This involves analysing the food production process from growing crops to selling them in markets and eating them, then considering where it might be possible to create a barrier against contamination. Barriers include: introducing safer irrigation practices; promoting on-farm wastewater treatment; taking actions that cause pathogens to die off; and effectively washing crops after harvest in markets and restaurants. .

Related academic journals

  • International Journal of Water Resources Development, ISSN: 1360-0648 (electronic) 0790-0627 (paper), Routledge
    Routledge is a British publishing house which has operated under a succession of company names and latterly as an academic imprint. Its origins may be traced back to the 19th-century London bookseller George Routledge...

  • International Journal of Water, ISSN: 1741-5322 (Online) ISSN: 1465-6620, (Print)Inderscience
  • Ground Water, ISSN: 1745-6584 (electronic) 0017-467X (paper), Blackwell Publishing
    Blackwell Publishing
    Wiley-Blackwell is the international scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons. It was formed by the merger of John Wiley's Global Scientific, Technical, and Medical business with Blackwell Publishing, after Wiley took over Blackwell Publishing in...

  • American Water Resources Association
    American Water Resources Association
    Founded in 1964, the American Water Resources Association is a non-profit professional association dedicated to the advancement of men and women in water resources management, research, and education. With almost 2,500 members, it is the major U.S. organization in the field...

    , ISSN: 1752-1688 (electronic) 1093-474X (paper), Blackwell Publishing
  • Journal of Water and Health, ISSN: 1477-8920, IWA Publishing
  • Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management
    Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management
    The Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management is a bimonthly scientific journal of engineering published by the American Society of Civil Engineers since 1993. The journal covers the development of methods, theories, and applications to current administrative, economic, engineering,...

    , ISSN: 0733-9496, ASCE
    American Society of Civil Engineers
    The American Society of Civil Engineers is a professional body founded in 1852 to represent members of the civil engineering profession worldwide. It is the oldest national engineering society in the United States. ASCE's vision is to have engineers positioned as global leaders who strive toward...

  • Journal of Water Supply Research and Technology, ISSN: 0003-7214, IWA Publishing
  • Urban Water Journal, ISSN: 1744-9006 (electronic) 1573-062X (paper), Taylor & Francis
    Taylor & Francis
    Taylor & Francis Group is an international company originating in the United Kingdom which publishes books and academic journals. It is a division of Informa plc, a United Kingdom-based publisher and conference company.- Overview :...

  • Water Asset Management International, ISSN: 1814-5442 (electronic) 1814-5434 (paper), IWA Publishing
  • Water Intelligence Online, ISSN: 1476-1777, IWA Publishing
  • Water Management
    Water management
    Water management is the activity of planning, developing, distributing and managing the optimum use of water resources. In an ideal world. water management planning has regard to all the competing demands for water and seeks to allocate water on an equitable basis to satisfy all uses and demands...

    , ISSN: 1751-7729 (electronic) 1741-7589 (paper), Thomas Telford
  • Water Policy, ISSN: 1366-7017, IWA Publishing
  • Water Practice & Technology, ISSN: 1751-231X, IWA Publishing
  • Water Research
    Water Research
    Water Research is a journal of the International Water Association, and publishes research on the science and technology of water quality and its management....

    , ISSN: 0043-1354, IWA Publishing
  • Water Resources Management, ISSN: 1573-1650 (electronic) 0920-4741 (paper), Springer
  • Water Resources Research
    Water Resources Research
    Water Resources Research is a peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the American Geophysical Union. AGU states that WRR is an "interdisciplinary journal integrating research in the social and natural sciences of water."...

    , ISSN: 0043-1397, American Geophysical Union
  • Water Science and Technology, ISSN: 0273-1223, IWA Publishing
  • Water Science and Technology: Water Supply, ISSN: 1606-9749, IWA Publishing
  • Water Utility Management International, ISSN: 1747-776x (electronic), 1747-7751 (paper), IWA Publishing

Industrial resources

  • Water Planning Tools, a research initiative which develops and pilots tools for managing water risk and water security in Australia
  • SmartDitch, Solutions in Water Management
  • Sustainable Water Management International, SWMI transforms water infrastructures into sustainable, that means efficient, secure and profitable systems
  • BigCatEnergy, Solutions for Water Management of water produced from Coal Bed Methane and Coal Seam Natural Gas Wells
  • e-Journal AWWA, ISSN 1551-8833, American Water Works Association
    American Water Works Association
    American Water Works Association was established as an international non-profit professional organization dedicated to the improvement of water quality and supply. Founded in 1881, it claims a membership of around 56,000 members worldwide as of 2010.AWWA has become the largest organization of...

  • eWater Cooperative Research Centre - Australian Government funded initiative supporting water management decision support tools

External Links

See also

  • Aquatic toxicology
    Aquatic toxicology
    Aquatic toxicology is the study of the effects of manufactured chemicals and other anthropogenic and natural materials and activities on aquatic organisms at various levels of organization, from subcellular through individual organisms to communities and ecosystems.In the United States aquatic...

  • ATP Test
    ATP test
    The ATP test is a process of rapidly measuring actively growing microorganisms through detection of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP.-ATP testing method:...

  • Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management
    Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management
    The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management is an independent professional body and a registered charity, advancing the science and practice of water and environmental management for a clean, green and sustainable world....

  • Clean Water Act
    Clean Water Act
    The Clean Water Act is the primary federal law in the United States governing water pollution. Commonly abbreviated as the CWA, the act established the goals of eliminating releases of high amounts of toxic substances into water, eliminating additional water pollution by 1985, and ensuring that...

  • Deficit irrigation
    Deficit irrigation
    Deficit irrigation is a watering strategy that can be applied by different types of irrigation application methods. The correct application of DI requires thorough understanding of the yield response to water and of the economic impact of reductions in harvest...

  • EU water policy
  • History of water supply and sanitation
    History of water supply and sanitation
    This article covers the history of water supply, plumbing, sanitation and sewage collection and disposal.-Ancient age:During the Neolithic, man dug the first permanent water wells, from where vessels could be filled and carried by hand. The size of human settlements was largely dependent on nearly...

  • Hydrobiology
    Hydrobiology is the science of life and life processes in water. Much of modern hydrobiology can be viewed as a sub-discipline of ecology but the sphere of hydrobiology includes taxonomy, economic biology, industrial biology, morphology, physiology etc. The one distinguishing aspect is that all...

  • Hydrological Ensemble Prediction Experiment
    Hydrological Ensemble Prediction Experiment
    HEPEX is an international initiative bringing together hydrologists, meteorologists, researchers and endusers to develop advanced probabilistic hydrological forecast techniques for improved flood, drought and water management. HEPEX was launched in 2004 as an independent, cooperative international...

  • Hydrology
    Hydrology is the study of the movement, distribution, and quality of water on Earth and other planets, including the hydrologic cycle, water resources and environmental watershed sustainability...

  • Integrated urban water management
    Integrated urban water management
    Integrated urban water management is a philosophy of varying definitions and interpretations. According to the authors of the book entitled, "Integrated Urban Water Management: Humid Tropics", IUWM is described as the practice of managing freshwater, wastewater, and storm water as components of a...

  • Integrated Water Resources Management
    Integrated Water Resources Management
    Integrated Water Resources Management has been defined by the Technical Committee of the Global Water Partnership as "a process which promotes the coordinated development and management of water, land...

  • International Bottled Water Association
    International Bottled Water Association
    The International Bottled Water Association, or IBWA, founded in 1958, is a trade association of companies in the bottled water industry....

  • International trade and water
    International trade and water
    International trade and water is a term that is used to describe the relationship between international trade and the water being used by humans. The substantial increase in human population during the 20th century combined with rapid increases in overall global economic development has resulted in...

  • International Water Association
    International Water Association
    The International Water Association is a self-governing non-profit organization which aims to cover all facets of the water cycle. The body is headquartered in London, with a global secreteriat based in The Hague and offices in Beijing, Bucharest, Nairobi, Singapore and Washington DC.The group's...

  • International Water Management Institute
    International Water Management Institute
    The International Water Management Institute is a non-profit research organisation with headquarters in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and offices across Africa and Asia...

  • Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management (Netherlands)
  • Oregon Water Trust
    Oregon Water Trust
    The Oregon Water Trust is an environmental organization based in the U.S. state of Oregon. Its mission is to restore surface water flows for healthier streams in Oregon by using cooperative, free-market solutions...

  • Peak water
    Peak water
    The term Peak Water has been put forward as a concept to help understand growing constraints on the availability, quality, and use of freshwater resources...

  • Public water supply
  • Rainwater harvesting
    Rainwater harvesting
    Rainwater harvesting is the accumulating and storing of rainwater for reuse before it reaches the aquifer. It has been used to provide drinking water, water for livestock, water for irrigation, as well as other typical uses. Rainwater collected from the roofs of houses and local institutions can...

  • Seawater
    Seawater is water from a sea or ocean. On average, seawater in the world's oceans has a salinity of about 3.5% . This means that every kilogram of seawater has approximately of dissolved salts . The average density of seawater at the ocean surface is 1.025 g/ml...

     - Desalination
    Desalination, desalinization, or desalinisation refers to any of several processes that remove some amount of salt and other minerals from saline water...

  • Spragg Bags
  • Virtual water
    Virtual water
    Virtual water refers, in the context of trade, to the water used in the production of a good or service. For instance, it takes 1,300 cubic meters of water on average to produce one metric tonne of wheat. The precise volume can be more or less depending on climatic conditions and agricultural...

  • Water and sanitation in Latin America
  • Water conservation
    Water conservation
    Water conservation refers to reducing the usage of water and recycling of waste water for different purposes such as cleaning, manufacturing, and agricultural irrigation.- Water conservation :Water conservation can be defined as:...

  • Water distribution on Earth
    Water distribution on Earth
    Water is widely distributed on Earth as freshwater and salt water in the oceans. The Earth is often referred to as the "blue planet" because when viewed from space it appears blue...

  • Water efficiency
    Water efficiency
    Water efficiency can be defined as:# The accomplishment of a function, task, process, or result with the minimal amount of water feasible;# An indicator of the relationship between the amount of water required for a particular purpose and the amount of water used or delivered.Though the two are...

Water management authorities
  • Water law
    Water law
    Water law is the field of law dealing with the ownership, control, and use of water as a resource. It is most closely related to property law, but has also become influenced by environmental law...

  • Water politics
    Water politics
    Water politics, sometimes called hydropolitics, is politics affected by the availability of water and water resources, a necessity for all life forms and human development...

  • Water management hierarchy
    Water management hierarchy
    Water Management Hierarchy is a hierarchy of water conservation priorities. Levels of the hierarchy from the highest to the lowest in terms of the priority for water conservation include elimination, reduction, outsourcing/reuse and regeneration. The most preferred option is elimination,...

  • Water quality
    Water quality
    Water quality is the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of water. It is a measure of the condition of water relative to the requirements of one or more biotic species and or to any human need or purpose. It is most frequently used by reference to a set of standards against which...

  • Water supply
    Water supply
    Water supply is the provision of water by public utilities, commercial organisations, community endeavours or by individuals, usually via a system of pumps and pipes...

Water supply and sanitation by country
  • Water transportation
    Water transportation
    Water transportation is the intentional movement of water over large distances. Methods of transportation fall into three categories:* Aqueducts, which include pipelines, canals, and tunnels,...

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