The Mekong river. Photo: Hannah Wright/Unsplash

Water management is getting increasingly difficult. Growing demand and a changing climate are posing critical challenges for policymakers, who must grapple with both an uncertain future and competing interests, ensuring water security for people, cities, agriculture, and ecosystems.

The status quo to addressing these challenges is Integrated Water Resource
Management (IWRM). While the past three decades have seen IWRM having a profound impact on water planning practices, it has not yet yielded sustainable water outcomes. The results can inadvertently create conflict, exclude critical users, or ignore gaps in water management.

The Stockholm Environment Institute is introducing new ways of thinking about sustainable water planning through its Water Beyond Boundaries (WBB) initiative. The objective is bold and ambitious: create a new agenda for managing water that addresses the challenges of scale, scope, and time, currently missing in IWRM applications.

This new agenda will be relevant, realistic, and rigorous, addressing the three gaps in the IWRM framework, stretching water management to be more comprehensive, successful, and inclusive.