awareness of environmental issues. As a result water resources development in the twenty-first century will be obliged to:
rely to a lesser extent on government funding;
provide a higher level of service;
abate soil, air and water pollution.
In this context, operation, management and maintenance of water resource systems should also be improved. Governments will cease subsidizing water resources use and planning with the result that, the main beneficiaries, i.e. the users, will ultimately take over the government role of providing basic services. As individuals they can do little, but as water users’ groups and associations, they will probably be able to do a better job. than bureaucratic frameworks. Obviously, the transition from state owned enterprises to a market oriented economy will be a lengthy and slow process in which each party will try its best to defend its ideas and interests. Moreover, the laws and rules regulating different aspects of water use and related subjects are outdated and often obsolete. If legislation and regulations are not sufficiently dynamic to accommodate the rapid changes taking place in society, they become obsolete and are no longer able to reflect the changing socio-economic conditions of groups and individuals. Consequently, one of the most important issues to be addressed is the conceptualization of the form of institutional and financial interrelationships in water resources management so as to clarify stakeholders’ responsibilities and avoid conflicts. In the strive to face these challenges, research and expertise should focus on:
the role of governmental institutions and the private sector in maintaining effectiveness of water use and planning projects;
the processes by which the level of services should be redefined and specified;