The approach for selection of case-study regions for WWDR1: "Water for People, Water for Life"

While water is naturally organized within river basins or within aquifers and while many water assessment issues should be approached within the context of the hydrological unit, many statistics are collected and analyzed within national administrative units. This poses a basic dilemma regarding the most appropriate geographical unit within which to assess water needs, water availability, water-related stress and the ability of societies to cope with stress.
It was decided, at least for the first edition of the WWDR, that the case studies should consider the river basin as the basic unit for assessment. Some of the selected river basins are international, some national. Thus some of the case study areas are very large in size, some relatively small.

It also seemed appropriate within case study regions to treat some sub-regions more intensively and thoroughly in order to highlight the importance of detailed analyses at very local levels.

Another important concept is that of tracking change in conditions through time. Thus benchmark or sentinel case studies were identified in which a series of assessments through time were made. Sometimes, within a river basin or country, more detailed attention was paid to particular watersheds or sub-regions in order to address problems at the most appropriate scale of investigation.

As a strategy, some 15 to 20 case studies were accepted for initial consideration. But only seven of them were published in the first edition of the WWDR. Many of the other studies are now being considered for inclusion within the second and subsequent editions of the WWDR.

For pragmatic reasons, as the first WWDR had to be published within a short and strict time schedule, data and information relative to the case studies had to be readily available and accessible (prior agreement was sought from national agencies regarding the use of and inclusion of any data).

Each case study is different. Therefore, different approaches were adopted in order to meet the broad range of problems within country- and river basin-defined case studies. In each case, particular problems were emphasized, such as health issues, food security, environmental degradation including biodiversity loss, urbanization or upstream/downstream competition.

The scale of the studies also varied greatly. With this diversity in mind, therefore, some freedom was given to each study to address its unique characteristics. While recognizing the need to allow some flexibility in treating particular situations, a standard set of questions was nonetheless applied to allow inter-comparisons between studies where possible.



Back to top