Strengthening Water Management Laws and Institutions

Countries around the world are facing unprecedented challenges in finding ways to sustain water quality and ensure that growing demand for water resources can be met while preserving the integrity of their aquatic ecosystems. Water-borne and water-washed illnesses continue to be a major source of disease and mortality, particularly among children in the developing world. At the same time, access to sufficient water for domestic purposes and livelihoods continues to pose challenges for many in both rural and urban areas. Moreover, entire ecosystems are often greatly affected by even minor fluctuations in water levels. As populations increase and demand for water multiplies, the need to cooperate in managing internationally-shared water resources also becomes more evident. Effective water resource management at the local, national, and international levels requires legal and institutional frameworks that transcend political boundaries, incorporate citizens in water-related decision-making, provide adequate protection of water quality and instream flows, and provide incentives for demand management, re-allocation, and innovative conservation measures. The specter of climate change highlights the need for such frameworks to be adaptable in the face of daunting uncertainty. ELI’s International Water Program works with governments, non-governmental organizations, universities, judges, the private sector and other stakeholders around the world to address these issues by developing and enhancing sound water legislation and management institutions.