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close this bookFAO Irrigation and Drainage Paper 52 Reforming water resources policy A guide to methods, processes and practices (1995)
close this folderChapter 3 - Principles
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentWater as a scarce resource
View the documentPrinciples for water planning and allocation
View the documentEffectiveness
View the documentEfficiency
View the documentEquity and distributional effects
View the documentPublic health and nutrition
View the documentEnvironmental impact
View the documentFiscal impact
View the documentPolitical and public acceptability
View the documentSustainability
View the documentAdministrative feasibility
View the documentPolicy reform in agriculture
Open this folder and view contentsStrategic choices and trade-offs
View the documentPolicy mix


Certain policies have a once-and-for-all impact, while others have a continuing or even a growing effect. Short-term measures introduced in response to an emergency, such as a drought, may have a strong immediate impact, but one which tails off sharply when the worst of the emergency is over. Policies which make a long-term impression on water use, such as technological adaptations and changes in user habits, are more sustainable.

Best of all are measures whose impact increases over time, because their elements reinforce each other, or because they provide incentives for continuing and cumulative effects.