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Need for a sound Water Act/legislation guided by comprehensive water policy to provide legal basis for the use and sustainble management of water resources.

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Bhutan’s successive Monarchs have played a dynamic role in steering the kingdom on a path of successful socio-economic development leading to peace and stability in the country. It was under the visionary guidance of His Majesty the Fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck that “Gross National Happiness”, was introduced as a guiding principle behind all development programmes, which underscores the concept that development cannot be pursued on the premises of economic growth alone but it should also promote the happiness of the people by supporting their emotional and spiritual well-being. 

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A national water commission

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We support the development of such a commission, which would be comprised of diverse, non-federal experts representing a broad range of disciplines, including leaders of the environmental justice movement. The commission’s first task should be to develop guidelines and requirements to ensure that river basin management plans are scientifically rigorous and participatory, identify key threats and stressors to the basin’s water resources, and recommend methods for selecting projects to address those threats.

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Australian markets for water resources and pricing for water services

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Australia’s key irrigation areas are challenged by scarce and variable water supply and environmental degradation due to climate variability, historical overallocation of water resources, and use of water without regard to cost of supply. Market-based responses have included introducing markets for water resources, and implementing full cost recovery pricing for water services – to allocate water more efficiently and encourage efficient use and investment.

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Virtual water trade as a solution for water scarcity in the Arab Region

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Taking the Arab states as a case study, this paper addresses the water/food challenges facing the water-scarce region and the implications for the food economy. By accounting the volume of virtual water embedded in food imports into the countries concerned, a close relationship between water endowment and food import dependence is elaborated. The analysis also shows that although virtual water trade is ongoing in the region, it is yet to be considered as a policy option in planning and allocating water resources. It is further elaborated that considering virtual water as a policy option is often faced with scepticism and fear of economic or political control, and that regional cooperation can be the key to alleviating such fears. The culture of the Arab region constitutes an important element when discussing the need for change in current methods of planning to accommodate virtual water trade.

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