Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) seeks to manage the water resources in a comprehensive and holistic way considering the water resources from a number of different perspectives or dimensions. It acknowledges the entire water cycle with all its natural aspects, as well as the interests of the water users in the difference sectors of a society, addressing both the natural and human dimensions of water.
For a country to change its water management towards a more holistic and integrated management system, it will require to review its water policy. The three key principles of IWRM also known as the three E's are:
- Equity- Humans have a basic right of access to water resources. Policy is related to the fact that water is often considered a public good.
- Ecological Integrity- Water resources can only persist in a natural environment capable of regenerating water of sufficient quality.
- Efficiency- Institutional arrangements should be such that the cost recovery of the water services are attained.