Robust water resource management solutions to complex water issues incorporate cutting-edge knowledge and innovation which are integrated into water projects to strengthen their impact. New knowledge that draws on the WBG’s global experiences, as well as partner expertise are filling global knowledge gaps and transforming the design of water investment projects to deliver results. Multi-year, programmatic engagements in strategic areas are designed to make dramatic economic improvements in the long term and improve the livelihoods of millions of the world’s poorest people.
The Bank’s Thirsty Energy initiative is analyzing the economic impact and tradeoffs to help the energy sector increase its awareness and improve management of the massive amounts of water needed for energy production.
The Bank also supports transformational engagements, which seek to optimize spatial, green and co-benefits among water and other infrastructure sectors. The Mozambique Water Resources Development project, for example, combines multi-purpose use of water and governance components to increase the yield of the Corumana Dam.
A large proportion of World Bank-funded water resources management projects include institutional and policy components. In Morocco, a Water Sector Development Policy Loan (US$100 million) in 2007 supported comprehensive water reform to address legislative, financing and planning gaps in the water sector. This work led to a reform program in which water-demand management, conservation, and resource management became new thrusts in Morocco’s water strategy.
With 263 international rivers in the world, supporting cooperative water management is an important contribution for fostering gains from water resources to alleviate poverty. The Bank supports the joint management of transboundary watercourses in various ways, especially in Africa.
- In the Senegal River Basin, World Bank projects have contributed to more effective management of the resources of the Senegal River and to the inclusion of Guinea into the organization responsible for this management, allowing integrated water resources management in the entire basin.
- In the Mekong River Basin, the Bank is supporting riparian states such as Cambodia and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic in strengthening their integrated water resource management and disaster risk management capacities, cooperating closely with the Mekong River Commission that cooperatively manages the basin.
The Bank follows an integrated flood management agenda, which includes well-functioning early warning systems, infrastructure, and institutional arrangements for coordinated action to address increased variability and changes to runoff and flooding patterns.
- In Yemen, World Bank financing (US$80 million total) provided vital flood control structures in and around the city of Taiz. By the project's closing in 2008, major parts of Taiz had been transformed into livable and flash flood-secure neighborhoods. The project contributed to an increase in land values of more than 100% and a reduction in damages to residential properties and businesses from 160 and 660 per year to zero. Flood structure and complementary wastewater connections helped to improve health and sanitary conditions by reducing the flow of wastewater into wadis (riverbeds), which had become breeding grounds for malaria-carrying mosquitoes.
- In China, the Hai Basin Integrated Water and Environment Management Project, completed in 2011, promoted an integrated approach to water resource management and pollution control and contributed to the restoration and protection of marine environments, ecosystems, and biodiversity in the Bohai Sea. It was implemented in 16 counties in northern China, benefitting over 20 million people. Better water use and pollution control in the Basin has improved resident health and living standards. Farmers also benefited from more efficient consumption-based irrigation management, which increased water productivity, crop yields, and incomes.
Sustainable groundwater management is also a priority of the World Bank. With groundwater being depleted faster than being replenished, the World Bank has collaborated with key global partners through years of consultations to putting together a framework for groundwater governance. The 2030 Vision and Global Framework for Action represents a bold call for collectively responsible action among governments and the global community to ensure sustainable use of groundwater.
The primary challenge of achieving water security is the ability to make decisions in the present that sufficiently account for the needs of the future. This becomes particularly important in water projects that involve investments in long-lived infrastructure which must deliver benefits for many generations to come. Innovative analytical work such as the recent report on Confronting Climate Uncertainty in Water Resources Planning and Project Design is helping global development experts and country clients deal with climate related risks. Other work focuses on innovative tools such as Remote Sensing for water resources management to bridge data gaps for sound decision-making.
Last Updated: Oct 09, 2015