Integrated Water Resource Management, or its more popular acronym IWRM, is being posited by many as the ‘new approach’ that can solve all the problems in the water sector the world over. Ever since the 1992 Dublin international Conference on Water and the Environment and the Rio de Janeiro UN Conference on Environment and Development – better known as the Earth Summit – and the formation of Global Water Partnership (GWP) in 1996, there has been a bourgeoning of literature on IWRM, mostly uncritically acclaiming its virtues. The book under review, the first volume in the proposed series on Water in South Asia to be brought out by South Asia Consortium for Interdisciplinary Water Resources Studies (SaciWATERs), is a welcome addition to this growing literature on IWRM as it critically examines the notion of IWRM and brings out the ‘many meanings of integration in terms of what is integrated, who integrates, and how this is done, and how different groups understand and appropriate the concept in different ways’.
The book has twelve chapters grouped under two broad parts. Part I, IWRM: The Concept deals with some of important conceptual issues. Part II, Dimensions of Integration, tries to further detail out the issue of ‘integration’ through illustrative real world case studies drawn from the South Asian countries especially India and Sri Lanka.