Water resources management, like the management of any other natural resource, has been an evolving process. As our knowledge base increases, technology improves, and societal needs, views, and aspirations change, management practices change as well. Over the past fifty years, water management practices and processes have changed, mostly incrementally. The rate of these changes has accelerated during the 1990s. It is highly likely that the world of water management will probably change more during the next twenty years, compared to the past 2000 years. Thus, it is absolutely essential to consider how best to cope with these changes, pre-emptively, correctly, and in a cost-effective manner.
At the beginning of the twenty-first century, it is now becoming increasingly apparent that, at least for the developing countries, the role water projects can play, and should play, to promote regional development, thus improving the lifestyles of the people, especially the poor and the landless, needs to be urgently re-examined. Prima facie, it appears that this objective should receive as high a priority as those of economic efficiency and environmental quality.
By Asit K. Biswas, Chapter of the book: Water as a Focus for Regional Development, edited by Asit K. Biswas, Olcay Ünver and Cecilia Tortajada, 2004, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, pages 1-13.