Message from the IWRA president

Over the years, one of the main objectives of the World Water Congresses of the International Water Resources Association (IWRA) has been to provide a platform for open discussions and debates between scientists, practitioners and policy-makers from developed and developing countries, who are interested in the advancement and application of knowledge to solve the water-related problems of the world.

Right from its very beginning, IWRA has consistently promoted the fact that different approaches and processes for effi cient and equitable water management can best be formulated by crossfertilisation of ideas between engineering and social sciences. In fact, IWRA is the fi rst international professional association that has promoted a holistic and multiuse approach to water management that is multisectoral and multidisciplinary in nature. Accordingly, the Association has encouraged dialogues, interactions and debates among sectors and disciplines on established paradigms, prevailing wisdoms, and future directions. We have always believed the world is heterogeneous, countries are at different stages of development, scientifi c and technological developments are continuous, and the future conditions will be very different compared to the past or present. This is, there are no universal solutions since one size does not fi t all. Solutions, even for the same region, may vary with time to account for changing and evolving boundary conditions. IWRA has consistently used all the avenues that are available to it to promote generation, synthesis, application and dissemination of knowledge, including the World Water Congresses. Cost-effective and timely solutions for increasingly more complex water problems of the world can only be found through innovative ideas, open mind-sets, rapid scientifi c and technological advances, and free and frank discussions and debates between all stakeholders. As any student of history of scientifi c thoughts knows, knowledge does not advance through consensus.

From the perspective of IWRA, it is important to recognise that there are limits to what can be achieved within the current framework of dominant worldviews, paradigms and ideologies. Accordingly, whenever necessary or appropriate, these should be challenged and reassessed in order to achieve continuous fi ne-tuning and evolution of thoughts. Current conceptual frameworks and theories on water development should be carefully analysed, and if necessary, reconsidered and modifi ed. Such analyses and open discussions are essential to improve knowledge and contribute to more effi cient water management in the coming years. In this day and age, when many unidisciplinary professionals tend to defend narrow, ineffective and non- implementable, or partially implementable, approaches and solutions, we must actively promote serious and regular debates on different global views, ideologies, paradigms, practices and solutions on a transdisciplinary and multisectoral basis, with the ultimate goal to fi nd better solutions than those that are currently available. The Montpellier Congress has been very specifi cally planned to ensure a high level of scientifi c content with the above philosophy in mind. I am confi dent that we shall go a long way to achieve these goals.

On behalf of the Association, I would like to acknowledge the extraordinary effort of Dr. Pierre Chevallier, Director Languedoc, Research Institute for Water and Environment; Dr. Bernard Pouyaud, President of the Association VERSeau Développement; and Dr. Eric Servat, Director of Hydrosciences of the Montpellier Laboratory, as well as all the other members of the Team at Montpellier, for having made this Congress a reality. We express our most sincere appreciation to Dr. Olli Varis, Vice President of the IWRA and Chair of the International Scientifi c Committee, as well as to the other members of this Committee, for their hard work to ensure a high scientifi c level for this Congress. Last but not least, our thanks go to all the participants who have contributed to the realisation of the Congress and without whom this event would not have been possible.

Our next triennial Congress will be held in Brazil in 2011. We shall be looking forward to meeting many of our members there and continue with the dialogue that started in 1972, when our Association was fi rst established.


Cecilia Tortajada
President of the International Water Resources Association, 2007-2009
Atizapan, Mexico and Zaragoza, Spain

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