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development of water resources. These resources should be managed at both the river basin and aquifer levels. The management framework should envisage a high level of autonomy for the body responsible for water use and planning, allow for stakeholder participation in decision-making and generate and disseminate information. Where appropriate, specific river basin, catchment and groundwater authorities should be set up, and their capacities enhanced. Where water is shared, actions should be taken to build confidence among riparian states, enabling them to accept some form of restricted sovereignty regarding their common resource, based on both equitable utilization and regional cooperation. Besides institutional strengthening, sound and fair financial management, based on the “user pays” principle is needed to improve the efficiency of services, provide additional resources for investment, encourage demand management, and promote pollution control and prevention.

Research must be directed towards solving water use and planning problems, gaining a better understanding of the hydrodynamic and hydrochemical processes involved and enhancing water productivity. Action research should cover field and laboratory evaluation, assessment and monitoring, development and implementation of suitable water management strategies. This process requires enhanced basic and applied research and a large variety of tools ranging from field techniques to advanced technology for water control and regulation such as models, Remote Sensing, Geographic Information Systems, Decision Support Systems and spatial analysis procedures. All these tools have to be considered under a broad and integrated approach for addressing the use, planning, conservation and protection of both surface and subsurface water resources, that takes proper account of the environmental impacts and socio-economic effects of development.

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