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The Value of Water

The valuation of water is a useful approach to inform decision-making processes as it places water in an economic context, enabling its comparison with other natural resources. The box below is a definition of the Valuation of Water provided by the United Nations Statistics Division.

This section looks at the value of water in the Limpopo River basin with regards to:

The Value of Water

The need to treat water as an economic good has been recognised as an essential component of sustainable water management. Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), a globally endorsed concept for water management, identifies maximising economic value from the use of water and from investments in the water sector as one of the key objectives along with equity and environmental sustainability (Global Water Partnership 2000). This principle was reconfirmed at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, the 2003 Third World Water Forum in Tokyo, and the 2005 Millennium Project Report to the UN. The prices charged for water recorded in the national accounts often do not reflect its full economic value.

Source: UNSD 2006

Chapter Summary

This chapter covers the following concepts and material:

  • The role of economic valuation of water in the Limpopo River basin states
  • The concept of Virtual Water and its implications for SADC and water policy in the Limpopo River basin
  • The future outlook for water supply and cost recovery in the basin states
  • Environmental cost accounting
There is a need to treat water as an economic good (Oliphants, South Africa).
Source: ©iStockphoto/ Meyer 2009
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