Perspectives Papers

GWP publishes Perspectives Papers to contribute to discussions on important issues related to water and development. We welcome responses to these occasional papers.

Storing water: A new integrated approach for resilient development. No. 13 (2021)

Perspectives paper on water storage

Storing water has long been a cornerstone of socio-economic development, particularly for societies exposed to large climatic variability. Nature has always supplied the bulk of water storage on earth, but built storage has increased significantly, particularly over the twentieth century. Today, numerous countries suffer from water storage gaps and increasingly variable precipitation. This paper examines options and challenges for water resources and climate change communities.

Read: English


Sharing Water - the role of robust water-sharing arrangements in integrated water resources management. No. 12 (2019)

Perspectives Paper: Sharing WaterWater is scarce and getting scarcer. According to the UN Sustainable Development Goal 6 Synthesis Report ( 2018), 52% of the world’s population will be put at risk by 2050 if pressures on water resources continue.  This Perspectives Paper offers a framework and a set of questions designed to assist local communities and local water managers consider the case for seeking to improve existing water-sharing arrangements.

Read: English


Climate insurance and water-related disaster risk management – Unlikely partners in promoting development? No. 11 (2018)

There is a growing consensus that insurance, risk transfer, and sharing mechanisms have an important and growing role to play, particularly in offsetting the economic impacts associated with extreme events. What is less clear is the extent to which such instruments encourage adaptation programmes and policies that would serve to minimise future loss and damage and, hence, contribute to sustainable development. 

 Read: English (Briefing Note: English)


Collaborative modelling – Engaging stakeholders in solving complex problems of water management, No. 10 (2017)

Analytical models play an increasing role in the complex world of water resources planning and management. They support key decision-making for managing flood risk, building dams, managing groundwater, and bringing together social, economic, and environmental issues. But models only provide us with one view of the world. This paper argues for bringing stakeholders together in a procedure much earlier in the planning process.

Read: English  

Linking Ecosystem Services and Water Security, No. 9 (2016)

 This paper argues that the 2015 UN Development Agenda, which promotes integration among all water and water-using sectors, offers a timely opportunity to view, value, and manage aquatic ecosystems as an integral part of water security planning. 

Read: English



Beyond Increasing Block Tariffs, No. 8 (2016)

This paper raises important questions concerning access to piped water services, especially for the poor. As such, it could have ramifications for how communities and countries reach the water supply objectives of Sustainable Development Goal 6 and the 2030 Agenda. The paper finds that increasing block tariff (IBT) regimes fail the most basic of inclusive development tests.

Read: English


Coordinating Land and Water Governance, No. 7 (2014)

This paper aims to initiate a debate to coordinate land and water governance for the sake of global food security. The arguments are that the new geopolitics of land and water calls for a more strategic, governance-level response in which land and water are reconnected, and the political dimension of the modalities of their allocation and use are fully recognised.

Read: English


The Links Between Land Use and Groundwater, No. 6 (2014)

This paper argues that a common understanding of groundwater–land and land–groundwater interaction is needed to facilitate cross-sector dialogue on governance needs and management approaches, targeted at sustaining water resources and enhancing land productivity.

Read: English



Urban Groundwater - Policies and Institutions for Integrated Management, No. 5 (2013)

This paper presents an overview of the benefits of urban groundwater use, together with some harmful and persistent problems that groundwater can present for urban development.

 Read: English




 Groundwater Resources and Irrigated Agriculture, No. 4 (2012)

This paper provides an overview of the current situation in patterns and drivers of intensive groundwater use, the ways in which sustainability can be improved in “groundwater-only” irrigation areas and conjunctive use in major alluvial canal commands, and considers the future outlook.

Read: English Spanish



Water in the Green Economy, No. 3 (2012)

Water is not just part of the economy; it is embedded within the economy. Without it the economy could not function. Thus water will be central to the innovative thinking and effective solutions required to establish the green economy. In this paper (6MB), GWP sets out the case for an IWRM approach to water security and its potential to lead the process of ‘greening’ the world’s economies.

Read: English Spanish


 Increasing Water Security - A Development Imperative, No. 2 (2012)

This paper considers what we have learnt about our water challenges since 1992 and suggests key interventions to help communities and countries to achieve the goal of water security. 

Read: English Spanish




Towards Integrated Urban Water Management, No. 1 (2011)

If left unattended, the twin engines of urbanisation and resource depletion will undermine efforts to achieve and sustain water security: water availability and access will be eroded and conflicts over use will escalate.

Read: English Spanish