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Environmental Management in Arid Regions:The Question of Water

Authors: Yousef Bakhbakhi, Mourad Boumaza


Only recently have water ethics received focused interest in the international water community. Because water is metabolically basic to life, an ethical dimension persists in every decision related to water. Water ethics at once express human society-s approach to water and act as guidelines for behaviour. Ideas around water are often implicit and embedded as assumptions. They can be entrenched in behaviour and difficult to contest because they are difficult to “see". By explicitly revealing the ethical ideas underlying water-related decisions, human society-s relationship with water, and with natural systems of which water is part, can be contested and shifted or be accepted with conscious intention by human society. In recent decades, improved understanding of water-s importance for ecosystem functioning and ecological services for human survival is moving us beyond this growth-driven, supplyfocused management paradigm. Environmental ethics challenge this paradigm by extending the ethical sphere to the environment and thus water or water Resources management per se. An ethical approach is a legitimate, important, and often ignored approach to effect change in environmental decision making. This qualitative research explores principles of water ethics and examines the underlying ethical precepts of selected water policy examples. The constructed water ethic principles act as a set of criteria against which a policy comparison can be established. This study shows that water Resources management is a progressive issue by embracing full public participation and a new planning model, and knowledgegeneration initiatives.

Keywords: water resources, environmental management, publicparticipation.

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