Water governance and management challenges in the continuum from land to the coastal sea: spatial planning as a management tool

Water governance and management challenges in the continuum from land to the coastal sea: spatial planning as a management tool This paper explores the potential role of spatial planning in support of more coherent governance of water resources. Water resources throughout the continuum from land to the coast are being degraded with impacts on life supporting ecosystems, including the high seas. Human activities, both upstream in the terrestrial system and in the coastal zones, are clearly having a strong negative impact on environmental health in estuaries, coastal seas and the oceans in extensive areas of the globe. Governance systems to address water resources degradation have not produced clear and tangible management frameworks that are effective in overcoming conflicting or incompatible goals. Neither freshwater nor coastal ecosystems will be able to function properly and provide essential services to a growing world population if the current fragmented governance of land, water, coastal and marine resources continues unabated.