In a world where climate change and irresponsible human activity are coupled, water resources and the entire ecosystem become endangered. Access to healthy water and water transportation has become a major concern, with sustainability being discussed globally.
While preserving healthy ecosystems, access to affordable drinking water and water-related hazards are all part of the conversation, our main task is defining what is water resource management. This guide will look into the different components of this concept and offer a comprehensive overview of how it works.
What Is Water Resource Management?
Water resource management (WRM) is a process that includes planning, developing, and managing water resources. The purpose of WRM is to ensure sufficient, adequate quality water and meet the demands of modern society. These include drinking water, sanitation, food production, recreation, and sustaining ecosystems.
Another critical aspect of WRM that we at Cypress keep in our main focus is water-related risks such as floods, droughts, and contamination. Still, climatic and non-climatic uncertainties make it impossible to plan and execute water security. This is why water resource management aims for holistic water usage by bringing together different organizations and creating plans and techniques to help reach this goal.
How Does Water Management Work
Our main goal for our water management activities is designing a manageable water system. Though this process might seem straightforward, it isn’t easy to achieve in practice.
Here are some of the most important aspects of water resource management that may help deepen the understanding of this process.
Water resource assessment
A key element in water management is tracking performance. Starting with water resource assessment, we can say that the main objective of this process is identifying the water availability and quality in an area.
Looking at the current situation globally, we find that the water crisis poses a significant threat to society. Research shows that by 2030, water demand will exceed supply by 40%.
Water allocation and distribution
Allocating water based on societal needs is a practice that has been around since the earliest of times. Water allocation is regularly implemented in cases of extreme drought and excessive water use to ensure fair distribution and conservation.
Our team at Cypress has plenty of experience with navigating the course of water. We have worked on several projects, including the Louisiana Coastal Area 6 Restoration Program. Some of the ecosystem restoration techniques this project included are river diversions, barrier island renourishment, and restoring hydrologic connectivity.
Water conservation and efficiency
We consider reducing unnecessary water usage, which is essential in water resource management. Some basic water conservation practices that businesses may uptake include:
- Regular water-consuming systems assessment
- Developing water conservation plans for their employees
- Using modern systems for water recycling and reuse
- Introducing drought-tolerant plants in office spaces
- Using moisture sensors for watering green areas
- Installing waterless urinals and high-efficiency toilets
Individuals looking for ways to prevent additional water wastage may consider some of the following practices:
- Installing water-saving showerheads
- Regularly inspecting faucets and pipes for leaks
- Watering the lawn only when needed
- Taking shorter showers
Water pollution prevention and control
With the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), a strong emphasis was put on protecting source water from contamination. With this, all states were required to develop a Source Water Assessment Program (SWAP) for drinking water systems.
However, regulating the discharged pollutants was a concern before 1996. In 1972, pollution water controls were introduced under the Clean Water Act. At Cypress, we have experience in EPA and State Government processes under the Clean Water Act. We offer services such as water quality modeling and parenting and engineering solutions to support water quality.
Today, some of the most common sources contaminating drinking water include animal waste, pesticides, motor oil, and other substances that runoff picks up. Individuals looking to preserve the safety of drinking water may practice the following:
- Avoid dropping anything down storm drains
- Cleaning up pet waste from the street
- Regular car and vehicle maintenance
- Properly disposing of medicine
Integrated Water Resource Management
Water management issues are complex by nature, and due to this, in the past, many preferred to address issues separately and treat them as distinct topics. But in reality, water quality, sustainability, and the environment are interrelated and cannot be solved individually.
Realizing the intricate nature of water issues set into motion the creation of a new approach called Integrated Water Resource Management. This process sees water resources as integral and aims to redefine how finite water is used.
Having identified the unregulated use of scarce water sources, IWRM was invented to manage integrated water resources better. This framework is based on the following principles that were part of the Dublin and Rio statements in 1992:
- Users, policymakers, and planners should participate in water management and development
- Treating water as an economic good
- Fresh water is finite and essential to the environment
- Women are central in safeguarding and maintaining water
Those interested in learning more about how water resource management works and the services that Cypress offers can look through our service section.
To best explain what is water resource management we had to look at some of the disciplines associated with this concept. Briefly put, water resource management is a conscious approach toward how we use and integrate water systems into society.
Many challenges, including water scarcity and climate change, threaten water availability. This is why water resource management and integrated water resource management aim to redefine how we treat and use water sources.
Overall, what remains clear is that for activities that address water scarcity to be successful, everyone must be involved. This includes us (the planners), government officials, and users alike.