June 1, 2004
The concept of integrated water resources management (IWRM) has been around for some 60 years. It was rediscovered by some in the 1990s. While at a first glance, the concept of IWRM looks attractive, a deeper analysis brings out many problems, both in concept and implementation, especially for meso- to macro-scale projects. The definition of IWRM continues to be amorphous, and there is no agreement on fundamental issues like what aspects should be integrated, how, by whom, or even if such integration in a wider sense is possible. The reasons for the current popularity of the concept are analyzed, and it is argued that in the real world, the concept will be exceedingly difficult to be made operational.