Water: securing Bhutan's future

Integrated water resource management serves as a foundation upon which the planning and implementation of climate resilience is being pursued in Bhutan. Water has been sculpting Bhutan’s landscape for millennia, flowing down from majestic alpine mountains to the narrow valleys and deep gorges that make up the country’s iconic landscape before spreading out toward the southern plains. Water needs to be managed well, and in an integrated and adaptive way. This kind of management is very challenging because it involves many actors and stakes. Water is not a sector in the traditional sense. Rather, it is a complex fabric—particularly in Bhutan—of interconnections between agriculture, ecology and energy that need to be recognized and managed as a system. This view of water management gives coordination a central role. Bhutan’s framework for integrated water resource management (IWRM) adopts coordination as its core management principle. It builds on a strong Bhutanese tradition of water sharing and collective management, examples of which are illustrated in this book.

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