Reports, speech and brochures on water


OECD work on water 2017-18

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Putting water at the centre of the global agenda - full speech

On 24 April, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, provided his perspective on the crucial need to deliver on present and future water challenges around the world and advocated for water as a driver of sustainable growth and development. The event took place at the Council on Foreign Relations, in New York.

Speech Angel Gurría Putting water at the centre of the global agenda

Recommendation of the OECD Council on Water

The OECD has been providing policy guidance on water to OECD members and non-OECD member countries since the early 1970s, covering a wide range of issues including water quantity and quality management, the management of water-related risks, governance, and pricing and financing water services and infrastructure and more. The Recommendation of the OECD Council on Water captures the main messages that derive from that work. It builds on a 2-year consultation process with OECD member countries, and stakeholders, in particular members of the OECD Water Governance Initiative. It provides a unique source of policy guidance that help address the pressing issues that central and subnational authorities need to respond to.


 Recommendation of the OECD Council on Water - cover

Diffuse Pollution, Degraded Waters - Emerging Policy Solutions

After decades of regulation and investment to reduce point source water pollution, OECD countries still face water quality challenges (e.g. eutrophication) from diffuse agricultural and urban sources of pollution, that is disperse pollution from surface runoff, soil filtration and atmospheric deposition. This report outlines the water quality challenges facing OECD countries today, presents a range of policy instruments and innovative case studies of diffuse pollution control, and concludes with an integrated policy framework to tackle diffuse water pollution.

 Diffuse Pollution, Degraded Waters

Water, Growth and Finance: Policy Perspectives

The challenge of water security is global, and growing. As populations, cities and economies grow and the climate changes, greater pressure is being placed on water resources, increasing the exposure of people and assets to water risks and increasing the frequency and severity of extreme climatic events. Rising water stress and increasing supply variability, flooding, inadequate access to safe drinking water and sanitation, and higher levels of water pollution are creating a drag on economic growth.

 cover of Water, Growth and Finance PP

Water and Innovation for Green Growth: Policy Perspectives

Green growth means fostering economic growth and development, while ensuring that natural assets continue to provide the resources and environmental services on which human well-being relies.  We need green growth because risks to development are rising as growth continues to erode natural capital – our water, soil, minerals, living organisms, the atmosphere, and all formations of the Earth’s biosphere.

 Water and Innovation for Green Growth: Policy Perspectives
Water and Cities: Ensuring Sustainable Futures

This report focuses on the urban water management challenges facing cities across OECD countries, and explores both national and local policy responses with respect to water-risk exposure, the state of urban infrastructures and dynamics, and institutional and governance architectures. The analyses focus on four mutually dependent dimensions – finance, innovation, urban-rural co-operation and governance – and proposes a solutions-oriented typology based on urban characteristics. The report underlines that sustainable urban water management will depend on collaboration across different tiers of government working together with local initiatives and stakeholders.

Water and Cities

Water Resources Allocation: Sharing Risks and Opportunities

Water resources allocation determines who is able to use water resources, how, when and where. It directly affects the value (economic, ecological, socio-cultural) that individuals and society obtain from water resources. This report overviews how allocation works in a range of countries and how the performance of allocation arrangements can be improved to adjust to changing conditions. Capturing information from 27 OECD countries and key partner economies, the report presents key findings from the OECD Survey of Water Resources Allocation and case studies of successful allocation reform. It provides practical policy guidance for water allocation in the form of a "health check", which can be used to assess the performance of current arrangements and manage the transition to improved regimes.

Water Resources Allocation

OECD Principles on Water Governance

The OECD Water Governance Principles provide the 12 must-do for governments to design and implement effective, efficient, and inclusive water policies in a shared responsibility with the broader range of stakeholders. They were developed using a multi-stakeholder approach within the OECD Water Governance Initiative, and backed by Ministers at the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting on 4 June 2015.

Since their adoption, the Principles have been endorsed by 42 countries and 140+ major stakeholder groups. The first 65 signatures from public, private and non-profit organisations were gathered at the 7th World Water Forum in April 2015 in Korea through the Daegu Declaration.

Work is underway to identify and scale-up local, basin and national best practices for each Principle, and to develop water governance indicators to assess the state of play of water governance in interested countries, basins and cities. Results will be published in an OECD Water Governance at a Glance report in 2018.

OECD Principles on Water Governance - cover

Securing Water, Sustaining Growth

This report was prepared as part of the GWP/OECD Global Dialogue on Water Security and Sustainable Growth. 

The objective of the report is to promote sustainable growth and well-being, by providing empirical evidence to guide investment in water security. It seeks to: analyse the dynamics of water security and growth; quantify water-related risks and opportunities and their trajectories; and assess the experience of past pathways of investment toward water security.

Securing Water, Sustaining-Growth


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