This guidebook by UN-HABITAT, provides an overview of the principles and practices required for sustainable urban water catchment management. It deals with the principles and practices for better management of water resources which, in turn, will lead to general improvement in the health of the local population, food security, environmental protection and sustainable development. It states that it is necessary to develop enduring partnerships among the participating institutions and organizations in the catchment area.
Along side, policies, laws and regulations should be geared to provide an enabling framework as needed for formulation and implementation of action plans at the local level. The guidebook also comprises case studies from Australia, India, Latin America and South Africa to showcase the prospects of local action for water resources management.
The guidebook has details about the following key issues in urban catchment management:
- Development and establishment of a "Catchment Management Strategy" and action plans by involving various stakeholders.
- Implementation of "Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM)" at the local level to regulate allocation, abstraction, conservation, development and control of the water resources.
- Coordination of integrated action plans at the local level and establishment of an effective conflict resolution mechanism.
- Development of enforceable standards of air and water quality and acceptable emission limits of pollutants in the catchment.
- Laying down of mandates and capacity building in the institutions mandated to ensure natural resource management in the catchment area.
- Provision of access to basic water and sanitation services for the urban poor especially those living in informal settlements.
- Implementation of good practices in the management of liquid and solid wastes in the catchment area.
- Arrangements for alternative means of livelihood for the people who have to eke out their existence through unsustainable exploitation of natural resources in the catchment area
- Implementation of rational land use planning or zoning to protect fragile ecosystems in the catchment area.
- Institutionalization of the requirement for "Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)" prior to investment decisions for major development projects in the catchment area. Development of guidelines and codes of "Environmentally Sustainable Practices" for each of the key sectors viz. agriculture, industry, forestry, fisheries etc.
- Public education on environmental issues and mobilization to enable participation in informed decision-making processes in all catchment management matters.
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