Comment: Water Development Policies

During the past five years much has been written about water develop­ment policies, both for and against, some of which warrant sober reflec­tion by the water policymakers and some instant dismissal. A major prob­lem stems from the fact that many people with policymaking functions in water development agencies have administrative backgrounds, and only limited knowledge and understanding of complex issues associated with wa­ter management policies. While this is not unique to water management, the problem ,is compounded by the fact that lack of expertise makes it difficult for some policymakers to distinguish between advice that is rational and worth listening to and irrational advice that should be ignored. Unfortunately policymakers sometimes consider seriously the opinions of those who are most vocal but not necessarily well informed.

By Asit K. Biswas, 1986. Article published in Towards Environmentally Sound Water Management, UNEP, Nairobi, Kenya, pages 290-292.