Integrated Water Resources Management


The countries of the hemisphere share over 70 major transboundary river basins. In this context, the DSD primary objectives are to support Member States in their efforts to improve the management, conservation, and sustainable use of water resources by promoting social and economic growth. Specific actions involve the promotion of water governance, assistance in the development of policies, laws and regulations for integrated water resource management, capacity building in regional, national and local institutions, and promotion of the exchange of information through the IWRN (Inter-American Water Resources Network).


Furthermore, in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Bank, and the Global Environment Facility, DSD acts as a regional executing agency for various water resource management projects being conducted in trans boundary, multi-country river basins of Central and South America. 


Ongoing Projects and Initiatives


Brochures (PDF format): Amazon | Bermejo | Deltamerica | Guarani | La Plata | Pantanal | San Juan São Francisco |

Strategic Action Programme for the Binational Basin of the Bermejo River (VII Steering Committee Meeting of the project)
The project's third phase is being developed to assist the Governments of Argentina and Bolivia in the execution of the SAP. The primary objective of the SAP is to promote environmentally sustainable development within the basin, taking into consideration the program of investments being prepared by the Binational Commission for the Development of the Upper Bermejo and Grande de Tarija Rivers Basins. This is seen as the only solution for reversing the environmental degradation occurring to the land and water resources of the binational basin.

Development and Implementation of Mechanisms to Disseminate Lessons Learned and Experiences in Integrated Transboundary Water Resources Management in Latin America and the Caribbean - DELTAmerica

The project’s aim was to promote South-to-South learning, develop and implement mechanisms to disseminate the lessons being learned in GEF International Waters-related projects in Latin America and the Caribbean, and improve capacity for integrated land and water resource management. This Medium Sized Project (MSP) complemented the UNDP/GEF project, “Strengthening Capacity for Global Knowledge-Sharing in International Waters” (IW-Learn), by using Latin America and the Caribbean as a demonstration to illustrate how systematic exchange of project experiences, lessons learned, and best practices can improve integrated water resources management. Specifically, the project’s network sought to strengthen and improve mechanisms for the dissemination of information and lessons learned from GEF-IW projects and other experiences in integrated water resources management within the Latin America and Caribbean region. With such mechanisms, the project encouraged the assimilation of lessons learned into national water resources management policies and river basin master plans.

The Formulation of a Strategic Action Program for the Integrated Management of Water Resources and the Sustainable Development of the San Juan River Basin and Its Coastal Zone
The project is being developed to assist the Government of Costa Rica and Nicaragua in the conservation of natural ecosystems and social and economic development, and will address transboundary issues in the region through the promotion of the integrated management of freshwater basin and coastal resources.

The Integrated Management of Land-based Activities in the São Francisco River Basin Project
The project is being developed to assist the Government of Brazil in the promotion of sustainable development in the SFRB and its coastal zones. The project aims to formulate, with the active participation of key stakeholders, a strategic integrated and sustainable management program to address the physical, biological, chemical and institutional root causes of the progressive degradation which is affecting the basin. The project will focus on economic instruments and implementation activities with incremental costs to restore and sustain the coastal zone through improved river basin management.

The Integrated Watershed Management Practices for the Pantanal and Upper Paraguay River Basin Project
The project is being developed to assist the Government of Brazil in the implementation of a comprehensive and detailed watershed management program for the Pantanal and Upper Paraguay River Basin. The project activities seek to enhance and restore the environmental functioning of the system, provide protection to endemic species within the wetland and implement strategic activities to address the root causes of degradation.

Strengthening of the Water Sector in Brazil project
The project's primary objective is to strengthen the iniatives of the Secretaria de Recursos Hidricos (SRH) of Brazil in the formulation and implementation of national policy for the water sector. The project achieved the following outputs: 1) a national policy for the water sector, 2) effective coordination of the National Water Resources Service, 3) a catalogue of rivers, lakes, and dams throughout the country according to their use , and 4) the use of economic tools in water action.

Project for the Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development of the Guarani Aquifer System
The project is under preparation to support the Governments of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay in the sustainable integrated management and use of the Guarani Aquifer System (GUARAS). An initial short term objective is to support the four countries in jointly elaborating and implementing a common institutional and technical framework for managing and preserving the GUARAS for current and future generations.

     Guarani Aquifer System Project Reports     

The Water Level Observation Network for Central America (RONMAC)
RONMAC has been designed by the U.S. Government, the Organization of American States (OAS), the Regional Committee for Water Resources (CRRH), and the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua in direct response to the impact of Hurricane Mitch. Its objective is to provide support for the development and improvement of the geodetic framework of Central America, with direct benefits to coastal resources management, coastal hazard mitigation and emergency planning, design and development of coastal infrastructure and harbor facilities, and coastal navigation.

UNESCO/OAS ISARM Americas Programme - Transboundary Aquifers of the Americas

The UNESCO/OAS ISARM-Americas Programme (the regional initiative for the American hemisphere of ISARM - Internationally Shared Aquifer Resources Management Programme) is jointly coordinated by the UNESCO International Hydrological Programme (IHP) and the Department of Sustainable Development – previously known as Office for Sustainable Development and Environment - of the Organization of American States (DSD/OAS). (IAH-ALHSUD Congress in 2002 at Mar del Plata, Argentina). More...


A Framework for the Sustainable Management of the Water Resources of the la Plata Basin, with Respect to the Hydrological Effects of Climatic Variability and Change


Inter-American Water Resources Network (IWRN)
Our Department jointly with UNESCO and CES serves as the Technical Secretariat of the IWRN. The mission of this Network is to build and strengthen water resources partnerships between nations, organizations, and individuals that transcend disciplines, political boundaries, and language barriers; promote education and the open exchange of information and technical expertise; and enhance communication, cooperation, collaboration, and financial commitment to the implementation of integrated water and land resources management within the context of environmental and economic sustainability in the Americas.


Guidelines of the Network |  Focal points  | Summary of election process 


A multi-year project involving the GEF, UNEP, ACTO and the OAS aimed at helping the eight countries of the Amazon Basin and its 10 million inhabitants conserve and better manage the region’s waters, forests and wildlife, was formally launched in June 2005.  A key component of the project is to help countries and communities adapt and cope with acute climatic change.”

Project Document   | Annexes   | Press Release  (Spanish)


Caribbean Division


Integrated Water Resource Management and Management of the Coastal and Marine and Resources of the Caribbean Sea


Water Resource Management
Legislation Database


The OAS completes the first part of a comprehensive, on-line data-base and information portal comprised of national water regulations, laws, standards and norms.  The data-base will be complemented by related legal and other provisions, including information regarding public participation provisions relating to the management of water  


Events and News

September 15-17, 2009. Quito, Ecuador. Coordination Workshop UNESCO/OAS ISARM Americas. Agenda

► The UNESCO International Hydrological Program (IHP) presented Jorge Rucks, Chief of Integrated Water Resource Management of the DSD, with an award for his many years of service to the hemisphere in water resources management. More...

11 al 13 de agosto de 2009. Miami. Segunda Reunión de la Visión y Estrategia para la gestión de los Acuiferos Transfronterizos en las Americas en el marco del Programa UNESCO/OEA ISARM AMERICAS Agenda... | Más...

► First Meeting of National Focal Points on Integrated Water Resource Management. More...

► ACTO Newsletters: ACTO launches project to promote sustainable tourism in the Amazon.

► Environmental Trends and Challenges More...

IV World Water Forum: From March 16-22, 2006, approximately 100 ministers from around the world will be joined by some 15,000 people in Mexico City, for the Fourth World Water Forum.  This is the first time that Forum has taken place in the Latin America and Caribbean region. More...




This page was last updated on Wednesday September 29, 2010.