The objective of the Specialist Group is to promote the understanding, benefits and utilisation of integrated catchment management approaches for the beneficial and sustainable use of rivers, lakes and groundwater basins worldwide. It seeks to achieve this by the sharing of expertise and experience among its members and with other interested individuals and organizations, organizing specialist conferences, issuance of newsletters, undertaking cooperative projects and other activities of the International Water Association.
Management of watersheds as integrated hydrologic and ecosystem units, with an integrated approach to groundwater and surface water, water supply and water quality, climate change and its impacts on water resources, managing extreme events of flood and droughts, integrated urban water management, and environmental services from water resources. Whole system management approaches are key to a sustainable water future, because system management will lead to improvements in efficiency and the support of more sustainable systems. An integrated approach would allow greater system optimization and better outcomes.
The SG’s focus and priorities for 2015 are as bellow:
- Expanding membership including new members and students, and providing educational or other activities between conferences
- Contributing to watershed policy issues, including the Basins of the Future programme
- Publications through Water Science and Technology (a number of papers are currently being peer reviewed) and encouraging knowledge exchange, including trialling webinars
- Planning for the 2017 Watershed and River Basin Management conference. An announcement will be made in the first half of 2015
- Contributing to the Water and Development Congress to be held in Jordan in late 2015
The Water-Energy-Food Nexus idea is compatible with the whole watershed approach discussed above and the approach is starting to get some recognition as an approach for research, planning, and management.
The use of continuous data collection and remote sensing will continue to expand and grow. Challenges related to the processing and interpretation of these new and massive data streams (so-called Big data) are going to be a growing focus in water management.