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Freshwater Management Series No. 5

Guidelines for the Integrated Management of the Watershed
- Phytotechnology and Ecohydrology -


From the last part of the Twenty Century it became clear that water is becoming scarcer to the society due to overexplotation and quality degradation. This pattern has continued until today resulting in higher risk to human health, economic and social development as well as for ecosystem functioninig and environmental preservation.

Freshwater resources such as rivers, lakes, reservoirs and wetlands are suffering from various problems amongst them pollution originated from point and non-point sources; shore erosion and habitat lose due to construction and other unsustainable human activities and unsustainable practices. To stop and advert this trend there is a need to develop proper planning and management approaches within the context of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM). Integrated Water Resource Management as defined by the Global Water Partnership (GWP) is a process that considers the co-ordination of development and management of water, land and related resources to enhance economic and social welfare without jeopardizing the sustainability of the ecosystem. Ecohydrology together with the application of Phytotechnologies consider the basic principles of IWRM in the way they are practice.

The concept of Ecohydrology and its scientific foundations have been developed by UNESCO-IHP whereby through the manipulation of the biota, landscape and hydrology the possibilities of augmenting the ecosystem resilience to changes while also augmenting opportunities for interaction. Phytotechnologies on the other hand, are based on the use of vegetation and their natural services which complement Ecohydrology as through their application erosion of shorelines can be reduced, the soil and landscape could be preserved and recuperated, pollution prevented and controlled as well as the habitats restored just to mention a few applications. IETC in its pursue to maintain the quality and quantity of water resources for urban and ecosystem requirements is very much interested in the application of Phytotechnologies particularly since they can be considered as an Environmentally Sound Technology (EST) due to their nature.

Based on the complementarity of Ecohydrology and Phytotechnologies and similar interests in water resource management by UNEP-DTIE-IETC, UNESCO-IHP and UNESCO-Regional Bureau for Science in Europe (ROSTE) is that through a joint effort the present Guidelines for the Integrated Management of the Watershed have been produced. The objective of the Guidelines is to assist decision makers, technical experts and scientists alike to manage the watershed and related water bodies while also at the same time facilitate the better understanding of the opportunities that the application of Ecohydrology and Phytotechnologies offer for the purpose.

Also like to acknowledge the University of Łódź and the International Centre of Ecology of the Polish Academy of Sciences (ICE-PAS) for the effort towards the production of the present Guidelines for the Integrated Management of the Watershed.

Steve Halls


Andras Szollosy-Nagy
Water Division UNESCO


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