Aymara woman crossing fields on Isla del Sol (Island Of The Sun), Lake Titicaca, Bolivia. Photo: hadynyah / Getty Images .

Development funders and practitioners are increasingly recognizing that there are inextricable linkages between water resources management, social equality, and poverty reduction. Water resources are essential for human life, agricultural production, fish habitat, transportation, energy production, and other activities affecting people’s livelihoods. But while the social-hydrological dependency of watersheds and human life are known, it is not often factored into the basin-level modeling work that leads to watershed-level plans. This needs to change, if we are to ensure that sustainable environmental management contributes to social equality and poverty reduction efforts.

Researchers in SEI’s Water for Ecosystems and Livelihoods program are applying a new framework to include the interconnectedness of water, social equality, gender, and poverty reduction in the technical analysis of water models. These analytical tools enable decision-makers to address poverty and inequality in water resources plans.