Introduction to Integrated Water Management

Globally, fresh water is an abundant resource, yet there are still hundreds of millions of people worldwide who do not have access to a safely managed clean drinking water source and sanitation facilities (UN 2018). The number of developing and developed countries facing severe water-stresses is on the rise, and the OECD projects that demand from agriculture, manufacturing, electricity generation and domestic use will continue to grow, making fresh water one of the most contested resources on the planet. This global water crisis fuels conflict and uncertainty, undermining productive economies and increasing political instability. But, this crisis is not one of finite resources. Instead, the issue is how we manage water.

Equitable and efficient management of water is fundamental for enabling sustainable development and achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG6). This requires an integrated approach that ensures that we manage water, not just for basic human needs, but also for the maintenance of environmental services that are critical for healthy and functioning economies.

In this online training course you will be given an introduction to the theory and principles of Integrated Water Management (IWM) and will investigate the conceptual frameworks used to critically analyse water management problems and identify sustainable solutions.

The course will demonstrate the relevance of context-specific interventions and stakeholder participation essential to IWM in practice. International case studies will also allow you to gain an applied knowledge of IWM.

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Learning objectives

By the end of this online course, participants will have gained knowledge of the fundamental aspects of IWM, including:

  • the history and evolution of IWM theory and practice
  • principles and frameworks that guide IWM
  • key biophysical and socio-economic processes in the water cycle
  • understanding the complexity associated with water management
  • understanding why integration and systems approaches are required to deal with complexity to achieve sustainable management
  • understanding the challenges associated with implementing IWM
  • understanding of context-specific factors that influence IWM at basin, national and trans-boundary scales
  • the importance, and different levels of, participation and collaboration
  • exposure to international case studies.

Who should enrol?

This online course is for those who want to gain a basic understanding of IWM. It would benefit practitioners, policy makers, decision makers, students, utility directors and employees of water associations.

You do not need a background in water to enrol. You simply need a passion and interest in driving positive change.



The online course includes:

  • theory and frameworks for IWM
  • water management: the heart of sustainable development?
  • inclusive IWM: participation and collaboration for inclusive outcomes
  • IWM in practice: case studies and applying IWM.

This online course encourages the understanding and application of IWM theory and principles. Employees who undertake this course will have gained knowledge in:

  • IWM theory and practice through international case studies
  • how IWM has the potential to deliver multiple benefits to the environment, communities, organisations
  • critical analysis skills and frameworks to conceptualise complex water management problems.

Participants will also be introduced to a global group of participants, for peer-to-peer sharing of scenarios, challenges and initiatives, as well as future network building.

Online classes will be held during daylight hours, Australian Eastern Standard Time. Approximately four hours per week will be required to study materials and participate in online classes.

You will also need access to a computer with:

  • a minimum internet speed of 256 kb/ second (to participate in live classrooms)
  • a headset with built-in microphone
  • either Microsoft Windows (version XP or greater; Windows Vista, Windows 7 or 8) or Apple OSX (version 10.2 or greater).

Permission to download, install and run software on your computer may be required.

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