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Water Use Allocation towards Valuing Water Resources: Canadian and Global Perspectives

Congress: 2008
Author(s): Abdel-Zaher Kamal Abdel-Razek
1. Dr. Abdel-Razek is presently a manager, Water Resources Management Division, NL Department of Environment and Conservation, Canada Phone ++1709-729-4795 e-mail 2. He served on the CCME water conservation and economics task group, CCFAM aquaculture task group, and task group on Integrated Water Resources Management 3. He also served as supervisor for eleven Masters students who won Dean's awards in the Environmental Engineering program at Faculty of Engineering, Memorial University

Keyword(s): right to water; water use allocation system; efficiently utilize, willingly conserve, and appreciate the value of water resources; and Canada
AbstractIn its reflections on the public perception of water global problems, the Hague Declaration outlined seven global challenges including 1) meeting basic needs; 2) securing the food supply; 3) protecting ecosystems; 4) sharing water resources; 5) managing risks; 6) valuing water; and 7) governing water wisely. In this regard, we are continuously faced with the increasing global demand and pressure for reliable ground and surface water resources and those resources must be recognized as valuable and precious resources. These challenges and facts urge everyone on our plant earth to i) efficiently utilize, ii) willingly conserve, and iii) appreciate the value of those resources for present multi-use and future generations. Also, these three principles are considered to be vital tools to meet the global challenges that need to be addressed to achieve water security in the 21st century, based on the challenges outlined in the Hague Declaration. In addition to the logical notion of referring to the “right to water” as “human right”, the global situation necessitates that those three principles must be adapted by all levels of governments as tools for the global sustainability and security of those resources. Moreover, these three principles should be promoted and implemented for the benefits of i) individual users; ii) various water use sectors such as municipal, recreational, agricultural, institutional, aquaculture, pulp and paper, water and thermal power generation, mining, oil and gas, and other commercial and industrial water use sectors; and iii) environmental uses. Therefore, water use allocation systems “globally” must incorporate features for valuing water resources while addressing their common objectives to: 1) establish certainty and security for meeting basic human needs and food supply as well as investments in infrastructure and enterprises required for water uses that depend on reliable water supplies; and 2) ensure the sustainability of water resources through the promotion of those three principles to i) efficiently utilize, ii) willingly conserve, and iii) appreciate the value of those resources. Despite of the fact that those objectives are essential constituents for progressive water use allocation systems that reflect and appreciate the value water resources, there are global constraints including political risk, economic feasibility, and cultural concerns that restrict fulfilling those objectives. To the extent, in some cases, proper water use allocation systems may not exist at all. This paper examines and presents informative highlights on various aspects of several water use allocation systems and their associated economic instruments along with challenges to those systems in Canada and globally. More important, how those systems “will” or “will not” achieve water security in the 21st century. This paper also focuses on some systems that contain progressive features for ensuring the global sustainability and security of water resources throughout the 21st century.
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