High-level instruments

Integrated water management considers all activities implemented by humans for the protection of waters, use of water and provision of protection against water hazards from an overall perspective. Various instruments are available to facilitate the coordination of these three main water-management activities.

Schematic of integrated water management with internal and external relationships

The term ‘water management' is often only understood in the limited context of the economic use of water. The individual water management sectors have succeeded in providing major services over the last 50-100 years. However, an approach based on the pursuit of the interests of individual sectors in isolation from other objectives is no longer valid. Due to climate change, urban pressure and water demand, and the discharge of new pollutants, it is foreseeable today that we will face challenges requiring cross-sectoral solutions.

Water resource management

The pressure on the resource water is increasing with progressive climate change and settlement growth. Due to more frequent periods of summer drought and local water shortages, the Swiss water sector faces a challenge in relation to the quantitative management of water.


Integrated management of water in the catchment area - watershed management for short - is an intersectoral approach to management of water resources, water bodies and water infrastructures.

Last modification 12.12.2023

Top of page