WPW Award

Keywords Of Water

Water and its keywords


There is a wide range of both chemical and microbial contaminants that may be found in drinking-water, some of which can have adverse health effects on consumers.

These contaminants can be derived from a number of sources including, in some instances, the water treatment process. Understanding the nature of sources of contamination and how these may enter the water supply is critical for assuring water safety (WHO, 2005).

World Health Organization, as an eminent organization in the field, publishes useful documentation for better understanding of the concept. Some of them you can find on the link below:

• World Health Organization (WHO) (2005)
Water Safety Plans Managing drinking-water quality from catchment to consumer

• World Health Organization (WHO) and UNiCEF (2014)  
Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation


Water security is defined as the capacity of a population to safeguard sustainable access to adequate quantities of acceptable quality water for sustaining livelihoods, human well-being, and socio-economic development, for ensuring protection against water-borne pollution and water-related disasters, and for preserving ecosystems in a climate of peace and political stability (UN-Water, 2013).

You can find the relating publications and some other atthe links below.

• UN-Water (2013) Water Security & the Global Water Agenda A UN-Water Analytical Brief

• Sadoff, C.W., Hall, J.W., Grey, D., Aerts, J.C.J.H., Ait-Kadi, M., Brown, C., Cox, A., Dadson, S., Garrick, D., Kelman, J., McCornick, P., Ringler, C., Rosegrant, M., Whittington, D. and Wiberg, D. (2015)
Securing Water, Sustaining Growth: Report of the GWP/OECD Task Force on Water Security and Sustainable Growth, University of Oxford, UK, 180pp.


Water is a gendered issue. Although women play a key role in the provision, management and safeguarding of water, gender inequality persists around the globe. Gender norms, customs and practices prevent women from participating in, contributing to and benefiting from water resources management. Engagement of men and boys is key to challenging gender-based discrimination in the water realm and that empowering women at the decision-making level is pivotal to water management.

The lack of sex-disaggregated data is a major obstacle to the production of scientific evidence on gender inequalities related to water and to the formulation of evidence-based policies.

Investing in engendering water contributes to strengthening social inclusion, eradicating poverty and advancing environmental sustainability.

Main sources:

WATER SOVEREIGNTY (Transboundary water allocations)

Starting from the concept of Food Sovereignty defined by Via Campesina 20 years ago, we could define Water Sovereignty as the right of local communities to participate in policy-making and designing water-related projects.

This requires transparency of foreign investments in public water provision since those cases are the subjects of international disputes. Concept of Water Sovereignty concept could be also applied in transboundary waters being the shared natural capital.

Although the concept requires further scientific explanation, we have chosen some relevant publications. You can find them on the link below.

• Naho Mirumachi, 2015
“Transboundary Water Politics in the Developing World”

• Devleena Ghosh, Heather Goodall, Stephanie Hemelryk Donald (2009). Water, Sovereignty and Borders in Asia and Oceania - Free reading available on JSTOR

• Joseph W. Dellapenna, (1994) Treaties as Instruments for Managing Internationally-Shared Water Resources: Restricted Sovereignty vs. Community of Property, 26 Case W. Res. J. Int'l L. 27 

• Kliota N., Shmuelia D. , Shamirb U (2000), Institutions for management of transboundary water resources: their nature, characteristics and shortcomings.
Water Policy Vol 3. p 229-255 


Water Governance relates to the range of political, social, economic and administrative systems that are in place to develop and manage water resources and the delivery of water services at different levels of society (Rogers & Hall, 2003).

Or put more simply, water governance is the set of systems that control decision-making with regard to water resource development and management. Hence, water governance is much more about the way in which decisions are made (i.e. how, by whom, and under what conditions decisions are made) than the decisions themselves (Moench et al., 2003).

Related publication you can find on the links below:

• Rogers P., Hall W. A., Effective Water Governance. Global Water Partnership Technical Committee (TEC) No.7

• Huitema, D., E. Mostert, W. Egas, S. Moellenkamp, C. Pahl-Wostl, and R. Yalcin. 2009. Adaptive water governance: assessing the institutional prescriptions of adaptive (co-)management from a governance perspective and defining a research agenda. Ecology and Society 14(1): 26


Urban Water Governance requires separate analysis due to the specificity of the context. Specificity lies in the growing development challenges of rapid urbanization and raising population density in these areas. OECD has done remarkable survey covering 48 mainly OECD and BRICS cities and exposing leading features of future water governance in the urban context.

Free reading of the publication is available on the link below.

• OECD (2016), Water Governance in Cities, OECD Studies on water, OECD Publishing, Paris


Water Law is the field of law dealing with the ownership control, and use of water as a resource. It is most closely related to property law, but has also bacome influenced by environmental law. Because water is vital to living things and to a variety of economic activities, laws attempting to govern it have far-reaching effects.

Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations (FAO) has its own Legal Office that publishes Legislative Studies on new and updated approaches in the water law always cosidering the need for further imporvements. The studies emphasized important distinction between Water rights and the Rights to water. Publications relevant for the concept, you can find on the link below.

• UNFAO. 2002. Law and Sustainable development since Rio: Legal trends in agriculture and natural resource management, Legislative Study No. 73, Rome.

• UNFAO. 2003. Preparing national regulations for water resources management – Principles and practice, by Burchi, S. and D'Andrea A., Legislative Study No. 80, Rome.

• UNFAO. 2006. Modern Water Rights; Theory and Practice. Legislative Study No. 92, Rome

• UNDP-GEF International Waters Project (2011), International Waters: Review of Legal and Institutional Frameworks.


Water diplomacy is a theory and practice of implementing adaptive water management for complex water issues, developed at Tufts, MIT, and Harvard. The Water Diplomacy approach diagnoses water problems, identifies intervention points, and proposes sustainable solutions that are sensitive to diverse viewpoints and values, ambiguity and uncertainty as well as changing and competing needs (http://waterdiplomacy.org/).

Some relevant publications are available at the links below.

• Islam, S., Rapella C. A., (2015) Water Diplomacy: A Negotiated Approach to Manage Complex Water Problems. Universities Council on Water Resources Journal of Contemporary Water Research & Education Issue 155, Pages 1-10

• Hefny A., M. (2011). Water Diplomacy: A Tool for Enhancing Water Peace and Sustainability in the Arab Region. Technical Document, Presented in preparation for the Second Arab Water Forum Theme 3: "Sustainable and Fair Solutions for the Trans-boundary Rivers and Groundwater Aquifers" Cairo, 20-23rd November 2011


“IWRM is a process which promotes coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources in order to maximise the resultant economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems.” (GWP, 2000).

Related publications can be found at the links below:

• Agarwal A et al (2000). Integrated Water Resources Management. Global Water Partnership Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) Background paper No 4

• GWP., INBO (2009). A Handbook for Integrated Water Resources Management in Basins. Published 2009 by the Global Water Partnership (GWP) and the International Network of Basin Organizations (INBO). Preparation of this handbook has been supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France as part of their support to GWP and INBO.

• UN WWAP (2009), Hassing, J. et al. Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in Action. Jointly prepared by DHI Water Policy and UNEP-DHI Centre for Water and Environment 


Origins of the NEXUS concept come from the Food-Energy Nexus Program at United Nations University set in 1983 for better understanding the interconnection between the sectors during the project implementation in developing countries.

It appeared back on the scene at the time of world economic crisis in 2008 when the need for rapid and effective responses raised.

In recent years Nexus is promoted as desirable research agenda especially after the Bonn Nexus Conference in 2011. Although it aimes at providing global solutions, energy-water-food nexus implementation is highly linked to the local context. This is because local conditions are the one that determine the specific interconnection and priority between the resources needed. World Water Development Report from 2014 covered the connection between water and energy use. For better understanding of the concept refer to the publication provided below.

• Rahman, M. Legal Knowledge Framework for Identifying Water, Energy, Food and Climate Nexus.

• UNFAO (2014) The Water-Energy-Food Nexus A new approach in support of food security and sustainable agriculture.

• Brears, Robert, 2015: The circular economy and the water-energy-food nexus. NFG Policy Paper Series, No. 07, February 2015, NFG Research Group „Asian Perceptions of the EU“ Freie Universität Berlin.

• Bizikova, L., et al (2013) The Water–Energy–Food Security Nexus: Towards a practical planning and decision-support framework for landscape investment and risk management. The International Institute for Sustainable Development.

• Hoff, H. (2011). Understanding the Nexus. Background Paper for the Bonn2011 Conference: The Water, Energy and Food Security Nexus. Stockholm Environment Institute, Stockholm.


Wastewater can have a number of definitions. The approach taken in UN-Water report is a very broad definition following that outlined in the UNEP/UNHABITAT document ‘Sick Water?’.

Thus, wastewater is defined as “a combination of one or more of:

• domestic effluent consisting of blackwater (excreta, urine and faecal sludge) and greywater (kitchen and bathing wastewater);

• water from commercial establishments and institutions, including hospitals;

• industrial effluent, stormwater and other urban run-off;

• agricultural, horticultural and aquaculture effluent, either dissolved or as suspended matter” (Corcoran et al. 2010).

Its effective management is essential for achieving sutainability of water usage.


• 2017 UN World Water Development Report, Wastewater: The Untapped Resource

• UN-Water (2015). Wastewater Management A UN-Water Analytical Brief

• Corcoran, E., C. Nellemann, E. Baker, R. Bos, D. Osborn, H. Savelli (eds). 2010. Sick Water? The central role of wastewater management in sustainable development. A Rapid Response Assessment. United Nations Environment Programme, UN-HABITAT, GRID-Arendal.




Water grabbing refers to situations where powerful actors are able to take control of or reallocate to their own benefit water resources at the expense of previous (un)registered local users or the ecosystems on which those users’ livelihoods are based. It involves the capturing of the decision-making power around water, including the power to decide how and for what purposes water resources are used now and in the future (Transitional Institute, 2014).

• Franco J., (2014). The Global Water Grab. HANDS OFF THE LAND TAKE ACTION AGAINST LAND GRABBING (TNI/FIAN/IGO/FDCL). Second edition

• Mehta, L.; Veldwisch, G.J. and Franco, J. 2012. Introduction to the Special Issue: Water grabbing? Focus on the (re)appropriation of finite water resources. Water Alternatives 5(2): 193-207

• "Handbook of Land and Water Grabs in Africa Foreign direct investment and food and water security”
Edited by John Anthony Allan, Martin Keulertz, Suvi Sojamo, Jeroen Warner 2013


Water Footprint is a measure of the appropriation of freshwater resources that considers direct water use (use of water within the urban boundaries) and indirect water use (e.g. use of water in the supply chain of the goods and services consumed in the urban area).

This water use, called the water footprint, can be divided into three components based on the sources of water used:
- Blue Water Footprint
- Green Water Footprint
- Grey Water Footprint

Related publications can be found at the link below:

• Arjen Hoeckstra


• Tony Allan

“Tackling the Threat to Our Planet's Most Precious Resource”

• Scipioni, A.; Bedin D.,; Manzardo A.,; Vigo. M.;

URBAN water footprint: a new approach for urban water management

This project is implement through the CENTRAL EUROPE Programme co-financed by the ERDF.


Water stress occurs when the demand for water exceeds the available amount during a certain period or when poor quality restricts its use.

Water stress causes deterioration of fresh water resources in terms of quantity (aquifer over-exploitation, dry rivers, etc.) and quality (eutrophication, organic matter pollution, saline intrusion, etc.) (European Environment Agency).

• Schlosser C. A et al (2014); The Future of Global Water Stress: An Integrated Assessment. MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change. Report No. 254


Water hazards like floods, intense rainfall, and droughts can have devastating impacts on societies and their economies. Recovering from these impacts might be very difficult, especially in urban contexts where various social and technical systems are intertwined and interdependent.

Over the coming decades it is expected that both the frequency and intensity of water hazard will continue to increase as a result of climate change, rural-urban migration, population growth and increased scarcity of water resources.

Building resilience to these hazards – the ability of a community, society or area to remain functioning under a range of hazard magnitudes – therefore remains an important need to sustain the livability and economic competiveness of cities (UNESCO-IHE).

• Richard J.T. Klein, Robert J. Nicholls and Frank Thomalla (2004). Resilience To Natural Hazards: How Useful Is This Concept? EVA Working Paper No. 9 DINAS-COAST Working Paper No. 14 Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam, Germany

• Carl Folke, Steve Carpenter, Thomas Elmqvist, Lance Gunderson, CS Holling and Brian Walker. Resilience and Sustainable Development: Building Adaptive Capacity in a World of Transformations
AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment 31(5):437-440

• 4th edition of the UN World Water Development Report (WWDR4)
"Managing Water under Uncertainty and Risk"


According to the General Comment No.15: The water supply for each person must be sufficient and continuous for personal and domestic uses.

12. These uses ordinarily include drinking, personal sanitation, washing of clothes, food preparation, personal and household hygiene.

13. The quantity of water available for each person should correspond to World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.

14. Some individuals and groups may also require additional water due to health, climate, and work conditions. As we can see The General Comment calls for UN interagency collaboration applying WHO standards into the corpus of the human right. WHO guidelines state that access can be defined as the availability of at least 20 litres of drinking water per person per day within a distance of not more than 1 km of the dwelling, corresponding to a maximum water hauling round trip of 30 minutes. (WHO,2003).

For further information on the Availability of water you can refer to the WHO publication provided below.

• Puri S. and Aurelii A. (2009). UNESCO Atlas of Transboundary Aquifers
• Gleick P.H. (1993). Water in crisis. A guide to the world’s freshwater resources. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
The UN World Water Development Report 2015, Water for a Sustainable World



According to the General Comment No.15: have to be accessible to everyone without discrimination, within the jurisdiction of the State party.

More concretely, according to WHO basic access can be defined as the availability of at least 20 litres of drinking water per person per day within a distance of not more than 1 km of the dwelling, corresponding to a maximum water hauling round trip of 30 minutes.

General Comment correctly pointed out sub-dimensions of accessibility:
1. Physical accessibility
2. Economic accessibility
3. Non-dicrimination principle
4. Information accessibility

Most remarkable research in this field is done by Joint Monitoring Programme of WHO and UNICEF. The latest available version is done in 2015 and presented the progress achieved toward MDG goals. UN-Water has also made a significant contribution toward establishing international standards and reducing discrimination in access to water.

You can find publications referring to the topic atthe links below:




Water affordability is a central element to water access. When water costs make water unaffordable, it can pose a health and safety issue and a myriad of administrative and political problems.

Water affordability is typically measured by the annual cost of water bills as a percentage of median household income. (Pacific Institute, 2013).

Affordability of water is one of the dimensions addressed in the Resolution on the human right to water and sanitation (64/292, 2010). Resolution and post-2015 development agenda fostered deeper analysis on the subject.

Some of them you can find on the links below:





General Comment No.15: The Right to Water under normative content of the right to water states that Water should be treated as a social and cultural good, and not primarily as an economic good. The manner of the realization of the right to water must also be sustainable ensuring that the right can be realized for present and future generations.

Interesting study on this topic has been done on Northern Australia Water Futures Assessment. You can find it on the link below.



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