Water resources management encompasses the efforts of governments, communities, and other water stakeholders to choose among alternative uses of freshwater and coastal resources without depleting or damaging water resources and their underlying ecosystems.
Why Water Resources Management Matters
Water is a vital resource not just for humans, but also for a variety of aquatic ecosystems, including wetlands, watersheds, rivers, estuaries, and coastal areas. These critical habitats supply surrounding communities with a variety of valuable goods and services by moderating floods and droughts; naturally filtering waterborne contaminants; sustaining woodlands and living creatures; and forming the foundation of dry land, coastal, and aquatic food chains. Misuse and over-exploitation of water resources is accelerating their degradation, threatening humans and the natural resources we depend on for both livelihoods and survival. Meanwhile, shifting precipitation patterns impact water security through more frequent droughts, more damaging floods, accelerated snowpack melt, increased coastal erosion, and intensified crop losses.
USAID’s water resources management (WRM) efforts focus on sustaining watersheds and aquatic ecosystem services as the foundation for sustainable development. The Agency’s WRM programs explore opportunities to restore and protect natural systems, while using science to inform decisionmaking and helping to strengthen governance frameworks at both local and regional levels.