International Journal of
Water Resources and Environmental Engineering

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Water Res. Environ. Eng.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6613
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJWREE
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 337

Review

Making a case for systems thinking approach to integrated water resources management (IWRM)

Bloodless Dzwairo1*, Fred A.O. Otieno2 and George M. Ochieng1
  1Tshwane University of Technology, Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, Civil Engineering Department, Private Bag X680, Pretoria, 0001, South Africa. 2Durban University of Technology, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships, P. O. Box 1334, 4000, South Africa. 3Tshwane University of Technology, Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, Civil Engineering Department, Private Bag X680, Pretoria, 0001, South Africa.
Email: [email protected] , [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 22 April 2010
  •  Published: 17 July 2010

Abstract

 

While definite benefits could be gained from integrating the management of natural and human systems, taking into account the effects of human activities on the environment, the task of operationalising and implementing this approach in practice represents an enormous challenge. Some limitations highlighted include the definition of integrated water resources management (IWRM) itself, where it appears to be broad, all-encompassing and impressive but contains ‘‘lofty phrases’’ that have little practical importance for either present or future water management practices. This paper makes recommendations to uptake and incorporate the systems thinking approach (STA) in IWRM decision making processes, an approach envisaged to be more participatory and also process-oriented. Incorporation of socio-economic dynamics is also recommended, with a suggestion that the biophysical relationships like interactions in a basin between water, the human population and settlements should be analysed to the extent possible.

 

Key words: Integrated water resources management, operationalising IWRM, socio-economic dynamics, systems thinking approach.