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Visions for River Basins


by Dennis Von C. Custodio

IWRM Specialist and RETA 6470 Coordinator (Consultant)

Asian Development Bank


From 2009 to 2011, ADB in collaboration with NARBO, the Center for River Basin Organizations and Management, and local counterpart agencies conducted a series of stakeholder consultation workshops for the challenging yet rewarding preparation of IWRM investment roadmaps for strategic river basins across the region. The overall aim was to further encourage basin water investments.


The IWRM investment roadmap is a concise action plan on proposed investments in relevant water-related sectors, with the river basin as the planning unit. It contains a list of objectives, what to do, who will do, and when. It is guided by a vision for the basin, whose formulation is the first step in the goal-setting exercise to prepare the investment roadmap. 


'Why is visioin needed for the river basin?'

The vision embodies the common long-term hopes and aspirations of the stakeholders for the basin. It describes the desired destination for the basin years ahead into the future. It provides a guide and basis to identify direction, formulate the mission statement, develop investment projects, and set priorities.


The whole exercise of visioning provides an opportunity for basin stakeholders to think out of the box, thus break them out of boundary thinking for more creative ideas and solutions. It alerts the stakeholders about the needed change in the basin. It promotes an increased interest, commitment, and ownership. It helps to build confidence.



'What are the visions for the river basins?'

Each basin is unique with its own set of needs, challenges, and priorities, as well as varying degree of development. Unexpectedly, the visions for each of the river basins vary in depth and length (Table 1).  



Some commonalities though exist in terms of a ‘healthy river basin’ (common to the visions for 4Ps, Mananga, and Vu Gia-Thu Bon), and addressing the needs of the people or communities.


Table 1 Vision for the River Basins


River Basin




4Ps, Cambodia


‘A healthy river basin with integrated sustainable development plans implemented jointly by the people and the government primarily for the benefit of the 4Ps people’

Bengawan Solo, Indonesia


‘Right and proper public works infrastructure services in water resources in the basin of Bengawan Solo for maintaining water resources conservation, and a productive and sustainable life for people who live in the Bengawan Solo Basin’


Combado-Lusaran, Philippines


‘Combado Lusaran, full of trees and other natural resources and clean water that provide for the holistic needs of its communities towards sustainable socio-economic and environmental development’


Kotkot, Philippines


‘Sustainable, safe and accessible water supply through integrated water resources management’


Mananga, Philippines


‘A healthy river basin with general access to water, sanitation and electricity; adequate and sustainable livelihoods; and protection against human and natural threats to the environment enjoyed and managed by an empowered community of stakeholders’


Vu Gia-Thu Bon, Viet Nam


‘A healthy river basin, prospering from its rich resources, with access to water for those who need it for households, livelihoods and production, and protection against floods and drought’