Water resource management is the activity of planning, developing, distributing and managing the optimum use of water resources. It is a sub-set of water cycle management. Ideally, water resource management planning has regard to all the competing demands for water and seeks to allocate water on an equitable basis to satisfy all uses and demands. As with other resource management, this is rarely possible in practice.
Water is an essential resource for all life on the planet. Of the water resources on Earth only three percent of it is fresh and two-thirds of the freshwater is locked up in ice caps and glaciers. Of the remaining one percent, a fifth is in remote, inaccessible areas and much seasonal rainfall in monsoonal deluges and floods cannot easily be used. At present only about 0.08 percent of all the world’s fresh water is exploited by mankind in ever increasing demand for sanitation, drinking, manufacturing, leisure and agriculture.
Much efforts in water resource management is directed at optimising the use of water and in minimising the environmental impact of water use on the natural environment.
Successful management of any resources requires accurate knowledge of the resource available, the uses to which it may be put, the competing demands for the resource, measures to and processes to evaluate the significance and worth of competing demands and mechanisms to translate policy decisions into actions on the ground.