Integrated Water Resources Management

Past Projects

  • Artibonito
  • Bermejo
  • DELTAmerica
  • Guarani
  • La Plata
  • Pantanal
  • San Francisco
  • San Juan


Youthful Water Initiative for the Americas (YWIA)

Two thirds of earth’s surface is covered with water, however, just a part of it is appropriate for human consumption. On top of this, the world is experiencing water shortage nowadays. Some causes for this are: population growth; expansion of business activity, rapid urbanization, climate change, and depletion of aquifers. Despite America possesses 30 % of the worlds water resource, in some regions it is highly restricted, which means distribution of water resources is extremely uneven.(1)


It is also important to mention that water is an essential resource for supporting stable socio-economic development. Latin America, for instance, is one of the regions where economic growth has been highly accomplished recently and there are projections that indicate that it will continue growing(2). thereby, it is also expected that the demand on water supply will increase. In addition, there have been significant environmental changes recently in terms of both natural impacts and societal challenges. Political leaders are now consent in that the changes are a reality and that revised institutional supports should be followed.(3)

Lastly, it is imperative to address (mention) that just a low percentage of water has been treated properly. Therefore, the situation regarding on the poor water treatment is severe especially in urban sectors, needless to say water pollution in this region.

""….been included as a high priority agenda item at the Latin American and Caribbean Initiative for Sustainable Development (LACI), this topic is now one of the crosscutting themes in LACI affairs, given its influence on the alleviation of poverty, environmental protection, health, and the struggle to attain economic growth…"(4)

(1) Water Resources Management in Latin America and the Caribbean, 2003, UNEP

(2) World Economic Outlook, 2010, IMF

(3) Regional Policy Dialog for Latin America and the Caribbean, Version: Stockholm, Sep.2010

(4) Water Resources Management in Latin America and the Caribbean, 2003, UNEP.


Among the main challenges that can be identified are: people’s relatively low perception about the importance of water resources compared to those in developed countries, which might lead to apathetic participation; overall educational lack in the member states, which makes it hard for the water agencies to make a cooperative framework with local institutions; raising funds for operation and maintenance, financing infrastructure and institutional development; water law reforms, other institutional innovation, stakeholders’ participation.

Project Goals

Given the lack of consciousness to preserve water resources, the main goal of the project is to disseminate-promote information and knowledge on Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) among young leaders of the member states, which lead to a new water culture in the society.

To achieve this, it’s necessary to arouse the importance of integrated water resources management amid policymakers, educators and youth, and to drive adequate reactions among policymakers who can back up with reformed institutional systems. The final purpose, consequently, is to make water workshops/seminars/trainings, persistent in each member states and keep this up-to-date.

Education Allocates Proper Solutions

Studies conducted throughout decades show that growing poverty in Latin America is mainly due to lack of education. In recognition of the connectivity between resources and its management, it can be said that improvement in education will increase the income opportunities and benefit the environment.(5)

"As our understanding of the interactions between water management and society develops, it becomes increasingly evident that the past focus on developing infrastructure has overlooked the need for a strong knowledge base and capacity to plan, manage and use that infrastructure and enable proper governance of the water sector. Today, there is a growing consensus that knowledge and capacity in the water sector is a primary condition for sustainable development and management of water services." (6)

(5) Empowering Civil Society to Monitor the Environment, David Lakshmanan

(6) The United Nations World Water Development Report 2


Paying attention to both, current water issues and preparation for future challenges, this project pursues the whole range of educational levels categorizing it as three groups: potential policy makers, educators and trainers, and young generations.

The educational frame will be structured in a way that it can deal with various aspects of the issues based on two themes, i.e., innovation and collaboration. A core component of this project is workshops/seminars/trainings.

There will be approximately 35 water activities across 33 countries of member states. Every activity intends for participants to get fully involved in the program in order to promote the generation of innovative and collaborative ideas.


Water Education for Teachers (WET)(7) is performing its role successfully for global water education. This will provide a substantiated program for water education, especially for the youth and educators. The International Hydrological Program (IHP)(8) is well a established water program within the UN-UNESCO. With its highly accumulated hydrologic resources (information and knowledge), it will support the education for both policy makers and the youth.

Department of Sustainable Development of the Organization of American States (DSD/OAS), in partnership with institutions such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP and UNESCO), the World Bank, and the Global Environment Facility, Integrated Water Resource Management of Department of Sustainable Development (IWRM/DSD) acts as a regional executing agency for various water resource management projects being conducted in transboundary, multi-country river basins and aquifers in the Americas.

(7) Water and Education for Teachers (WET): Project WET is an example of water awareness raising and knowledge transfer at primary and secondary education level. Project WET is an international, interdisciplinary, water science and education program for formal and non-formal educators of kindergarten through grade twelve students. It is a source of information and materials, professional development training courses, networking assistance, and a valuable resource for organizations that have questions about water education and creating their own education initiatives. Since the inception of Project WET in 1984, the program has attracted global interest. The goal of the Project WET program is to facilitate and promote the awareness, appreciation, knowledge, and stewardship of water resources through the development and dissemination of classroom ready teaching aides. The need for Project WET was identified by both educators and water managers. Educators need materials that are relevant, hands-on, and engaging for students. Water policy makers, managers, and scientists have a critical need for public understanding of and involvement in water issues.

(8) International Hydrological Program (IHP): The International Hydrological Program, the sole fresh-water oriented research program of the UN System, responds in an integrated way to the growing concerns over the resource water and the ever increasing need for education, training, knowledge transfer and public awareness raising at all levels. Within the broad set-up, the characteristics of the IHP, as a scientific program will be reflected by emphasizing university- postgraduate degree- and continuing professional education. As far as public awareness is concerned, priority target groups are the youth and the present-day (political) decision- makers.