Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM): Indicator of good governance in water sector

Tunisia has adopted sustainable water resources management, safe water supply and sanitation.  This necessarily coordinated management should encompass all dimensions: social, economic, environmental, legal and cultural, taking into account the entire surface, underground and non-conventional hydrological system and also the needs of the various sectors (drinking water, agriculture, tourism, industry). This is commonly referred to as Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

The aim is to maximize equitably the resulting economic and social well-being, without compromising that of future generations and the sustainability of vital ecosystems.

IWRM is not a technical solution but an approach and in practice a long process towards a collective responsibility shared between all the stakeholders of the sector (decision-makers, citizens…) aiming at a better coordination for the good management of the water sector. 

IWRM provides for a balanced participation between the State and users and offers the means to have concerted and shared decisions for a real appropriation of all stakeholders in the water sector.

IWRM is also aimed at considering together, i.e., interdependent, the different uses of water and their needs. This type of management advocates a change in the behaviour of all stakeholders: political decision-makers, administration and water users (farmers, households, civil society, etc.).

This change in behaviour must be demonstrated first and foremost by compliance with the laws in force and, above all, by their application by everyone.

To succeed in IWRM, many things must change in our behavior namely:

-To refine our behaviour for teamwork.

– The need to communicate more and better, while facilitating access to and sharing of information for others, avoiding the compartmentalization we create around us so that those closest to us are rarely aware of what we do.

– We can never succeed in IWRM if we do not create fruitful cooperation and exchange relationships in a win-win process.

To succeed in IWRM, we must place emphasis on the need of being proactive and innovative, leading to real and sustainable improvements based on what are called “effective transformation levers” that allow great impacts with easy and relevant actions.

Tunisia is a signatory to the Dublin Agreements (1992) on which integrated water resources management (IWRM) is based:

-freshwater is a finite and vulnerable resource, essential for life, development and the environment;

– the development and management of water resources should be based on a participatory approach involving users, planners and policy makers at all levels;

-women play a central role in the supply, management and safeguarding of water;

-water has an economic value in all its competing uses and should be recognized as an economic good.

The United Nations World Water Programme considers that water management with the IWRM approach is a potential indicator of good control over water resources management in the country. 


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