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IWRA World Water Congress 2003 Madrid Spain
IWRA WWC2003 - default topic
Author(s): KATKO Tapio S. and RAJALA Riikka P.

KATKO Tapio S. and RAJALA Riikka P., Institute of Environmental Engineering and Biotechnology (IEEB), Tampere University of Technology (TUT), P.O. Box 541, FIN-33101 Tampere, Finland: e-mail:



This paper reports on a study of how various types of water use purposes are prioritised in selected countries with different types and availability of water resources and socio-economic and cultural conditions.

A rapid assessment method based on a two-phase questionnaire was used. The first phase involved an analysis of three regions: East Africa (1988), the Baltic region (1994) and Finland (1993, 2001). The respondents were asked to rank ten water use purposes according to their importance. The results implied that there was wide agreement on which water use purposes should receive priority.

For the second phase, the questionnaire was modified: all water use categories were to be viewed by the respondents “as they are” and “as they should be". The ten countries and regions covered were: Colorado (USA), Finland, Karelia (Russia), Kenya, Kosovo, Latin America, Lithuania, Mexico, Tanzania, and Vietnam. The number of respondents was 97 in the first phase, and 339 in the second one. Except for Kenya and Lithuania, the respondents were BSc, MSc or MA students at universities.

Community water supply for urban and rural areas was ranked first in all countries except for Lithuania where it placed second. Nature conservation was ranked second. On average, hydropower was ranked third, varying between second and sixth place in national rankings. Industrial water supply was considered fourth most important. Probably the highest variations were noticed with respect to irrigation: from second priority in Colorado to the tenth in Karelia and Lithuania. One of the most confusing categories was probably “recipient body of wastewater effluent”. Also, while “nature conservation” was ranked high, “recreational use” was ranked second lowest in the ten nations/states.

We could categorise the water use purposes into four wider categories according to target groups: water for people, water for nature, water for food production, and water for industries. If any further research is carried out, it is suggested that issues related to water pollution control and rehabilitation of water bodies be included.

All in all, the priorities of water use purposes seemed to vary less than originally anticipated. It is suggested that while promoting the useful tool of integrated water resources management, water use purposes and related priorities should be fully taken into account at the national, regional and local levels.

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