Biodiversity, water and natural resource management

Meeting the Water Reform Challenge


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Publication Date:07/03/2012

The need to reform water policies is as urgent as ever. Water is essential for economic growth, human health, and the environment. Yet governments around the world face significant challenges in managing their water resources effectively. The problems are multiple and complex: billions of people are still without access to safe water and adequate sanitation; competition for water is increasing among the different uses and users; and major investment is required to maintain and improve water infrastructure in OECD and non-OECD countries. Despite progress on many fronts, governments around the world are still confronted with the need to reform their existing water policies in order to meet current objectives and future challenges.

Building on the water challenges identified by the , this report examines three fundamental areas that need to be addressed whatever reform agendas are pursued by governments: financing of the water sector; the governance and institutional arrangements that are in place; and coherence between water policies and policies in place in other sectors of the economy. The report provides governments with practical advice and policy tools to pursue urgent reform in their water sectors.

                               Table of contents                               

Executive summary

Chapter 1. Framing the water reform challenge
-Key water trends and projections
-Emerging issues in water policy
-Designing reforms that are realistic and politically acceptable
Chapter 2. Meeting the water financing challenge
-What are the benefits from investing in water and sanitation?
-How much investment is needed?
-Closing the financing gap
-Bridging the financing gap: Tapping repayable sources of funding
-The role of the private sector to help mobilise financing
-Beyond water and sanitation: Financing water resources management
-Moving forward on the water financing challenge
Chapter 3. Meeting the water governance challenge
-A multi-level governance approach for addressing complexity in the water sector 
-Observations from the institutional mapping of roles and responsibilities in the water sector
-Challenges to co-ordinating water policies across ministries and between levels of government
-Governance fragmentation at the metropolitan level
-Multi-level Co-ordination of Water Policies
-Moving forward on meeting the water governance challenge
Chapter 4. Meeting the water coherence challenge
-Framing the coherence challenges
-Linkages between energy, water and the environment
-Linkages between agriculture, water and the environment
-Moving forward on the water, energy and agriculture coherence challenge

OECD News release

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OECD Studies on Water: Meeting the Water Reform Challenge

Multilingual Summaries (view all)






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