This document is one of a series that have been prepared to help inform water resources professionals at various levels of government and different organisations of the basics of water demand management, including its relationship with integrated water resources management (IWRM). The severe pressure on water resources, particularly in the north and north-west of the country, is widely recognised. It is no longer possible to augment supply to meet the full demand. There is now a strong need to manage demand and increase the productivity of water.
Water demand management (WDM), however, is much more than simple application of conventional technical measures for water saving - it also addresses the incentives to adopt these technical methods and ensures that individual activities contribute to the overall objectives. WDM may also be strongly influenced by other programmes or policies. For example; policies and incentives for industrialization will have an impact on demand for water. It should be noted that WDM has been a major area of activity in many western countries for the last 10 to 20 years. The switch from supply side development and management to (water) demand management resulted from the realisation that continuous resource development was unsustainable, being often the worst option in economic term whilst also being environmentally damaging. Water demand management is defined as - The adaptation and implementation of a strategy (policies and initiatives) by a water institution to influence the water demand and usage of water in order to meet any of the following objectives: economic efficiency, social equity, environmental protection, sustainability of water supply and services, and political acceptability.
WRDMAP. Water Demand Management – an International Perspective [Overview Paper 2]. WRDMAP, China (2010) 248 pp