Ecosystem services and integrated water resource management: Different paths to the same end?
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article
The two concepts that presently dominate water resource research and management are the Global Water Partnership's (GWP, 2000) interpretation of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) and Ecosystem Services (ES) as interpreted by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA, 2005). Both concepts are subject to mounting criticism, with a significant number of critiques focusing on both their conceptual and methodological incompatibility with management and governance, what has come to be known as the 'implementation gap'. Emergent within the ES and IWRM literatures, then, are two parallel debates concerning the gap between conceptualisation and implementation. Our purpose for writing this review is to argue: 1) that IWRM and ES have evolved into nearly identical concepts, 2) that they face the same critical challenge of implementation, and 3) that, if those interested in water research and management are to have a positive impact on the sustainable utilisation of dwindling water resources, they must break the tendency to jump from concept to concept and confront the challenges that arise with implementation. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.