Developing appropriate policy and management systems is essential to enhance the value obtained from freshwater resources and to ensure its sustainability. This includes interventions to strengthen governance, improve knowledge and information systems including data collection and monitoring and evaluation, enhance human and institutional capacity, develop IWRM systems which focus on catchment and basins as the management unit, and mainstream gender. Cooperation and partnership, between multiple stakeholders and at multiple levels, from the local to the sub-regional to the regional, are at the core of successful interventions. These responses should improve the opportunities to meet urgent needs for potable water, sanitation, irrigation and hydropower, among others. A critical issue that will need to be addressed systematically is financing. The approach of the Africa Water Vision is set out in Box 20.

Box 20: Thematic areas towards achieving the Africa Water Vision for the year 2025

Strengthening governance of water resources

  • Developing and implementing institutional reform and capacitybuilding at local, national and transboundary water basin levels;
  • Using the water basin as the unit for water resource management;
  • Strengthening river basin and aquifer basin management;
  • Creating an enabling environment for cooperation between countries sharing international water basins;
  • Mainstreaming management at the lowest appropriate level and creating institutional arrangements for full stakeholder participation; and
  • Liberalizing water markets while meeting the basic needs of the poor.

Improving capacity and information

  • Establishing a sustainable system for data collection, management, and dissemination, including standardization and harmonization of data;
  • Building institutional and human capacity for effective water management;
  • Facilitating access to Internet services at local levels; and
  • Mainstreaming gender and youth concerns in all activities.

Meeting urgent water needs

  • Expanding safe water supply and sanitation services to meet basic human needs;
  • Ensuring adequate water for sustainable food security;
  • Ensuring that water for the environment is adequate in quantity and quality;
  • Ensuring adequate water for economic development in the areas of agricultural production, energy and hydropower production, industry, tourism and transportation;
  • Managing drought and desertification;
  • Conserving and restoring ecosystems;
  • Protecting water sheds and controlling siltation of hydraulic structures;
  • Meeting the needs of rural energy supply; and
  • Developing non-conventional water resources such as desalination and re-use of water.

Strengthening the financial base for the desired future

  • Mainstreaming cost-recovery and service differentiation, allowing for a range of service options, each with its own price tag;
  • Securing sustainable financing and initial donor assistance for tackling urgent water needs;
  • Securing sustainable financing for institutional reform;
  • Securing sustainable financing for information generation and management;
  • Shifting from government to private sector financing in the water sector; and
  • Establishing mechanisms for sustainable financing of water resources management.

Source: Donkor 2003