Availability of water of the right quality, at the right time and place to meet environmental, economic and human needs requires active water resources management.
To assist policymakers in addressing this challenge, the OECD is working on policy responses in the following Key areas:
The OECD has published several synthesis reports on water management, and regularly analyses the experience of its member countries in the framework of the OECD programme on Environmental Performance Reviews.
Related work can be found under the following policy areas:
Building on recent OECD experience in the topic of financing drinking water supply and sanitation services, the OECD is currently exploring how best to approach the financial sustainability of the water sector. In 2010, an expert meeting was held on this issue and reviewed two background notes on a reference framework and a number of case studies. (Note that the selected case studies have not been edited by the OECD Secretariat.) A synthesis report will be published in July 2012.
Water outcomes are often influenced by policies outside the water domain. Increasing policy coherence between water policies and other sectoral policies is thus an important component of an integrated approach to water resources management. The OECD is currently preparing a report looking at institutional aspects of policy coherence as well as experiences with policy coherence between water, energy and agricultural policies. This report will be published in 2012. Past related work has looked at water-based transport and the water environment.
Recent OECD work has highlighted the need for improving the information base on which water policy decisions are made. As part of its broader effort on environmental data and indicators, the OECD regularly collects information on several aspects of water management.
In addition, the OECD organised in May 2010 a workshop in Zaragoza, Spain, on addressing the information needs of water policymakers.
Pricing is a major tool for managing water resources. Pricing water as a resource act as an incentive for water service providers to contain their demand for water. Similarly, pricing water services provides incentives to final consumers to reduce their consumption of water resources. Past OECD work on water pricing is reflected in the following publications.