The crisis in water pollution is exerting social and economic pressure everywhere in the world and this has been worsened by frequent waves of droughts and hence water shortages, and floods and hence too much water. In addition, to the recurrent wave of droughts and floods, water pollution is also due to poor management of the wastewater, under-investment, unfair allocation of water, rampant deforestation, and a huge population explosion. Management of the quality of both surface water and groundwater should therefore be integrated with management of the quantity of water as part of implementation of IWRM as well as in planning and management frameworks at local, national and transboundary levels. This focal area therefore aims at improving the understanding and knowledge of the quality of world’s water resources for human wellbeing as well as instituting water pollution licensing and enforcement systems for sustainability in order to address water quality and pollution issues.
Furthermore, in the context of IWRM, effective water pollution control and water quality management requires an enabling environment in the form of policy, legal and institutional frameworks. Appropriate water and environmental laws and accompanying regulations such as waste water discharge regulation, environmental impact assessment regulations are key legal and regulatory instruments for governing water allocation, environmental assessment and pollution control and key water resources management activities. Consequently, this focal area also aims at enhancing legal, policy and institutional frameworks for water quality management and building institutional and human capacity in water quality management and water pollution control.
Activities under this focal area are implemented under the umbrella of the UNESCO-IHP International Initiative on Water Quality (IIWQ).