Water is not only a resource important for the survival of humanity, but is also indispensable for economic development and, further, as a basic element of the ecosystem. Water, an environment in itself, which supports life and facilitates livelihood activities and urban life, is in crisis all over the world. The crisis originates from the fact that water, a circulating resource, is influenced by global warming, acid rain and desertification, and that consequently both water quantity and quality have reached a critical point.
Actually most water issues are said not to be related to water quantity issues like water resource development, but to be related to water quality issues of non-sustainable and inefficient use of water. The systematic inappropriateness of water resource development stems from the lack of uniformity of principles that guide water policies or of value system.
Against this backdrop, integrated water resources management is required as a basic principle of water policies these days. Arguments on the fundamental structure of the concept of integrated water resources management or on conformity with and dissimilarity to similar policy ideas are not nonexistent, but the concept embraces various principles that have recently caused a small paradigm shift in water policies, and may as well be called an index of future water policies.
Meanwhile, in Japan in a bid to promote measures for the maintenance and recovery of sound water policies, the Basic Act for Water Circulation, which may be called the Constitution of Water, was established on April 2, 2014 and entered into force on July 1 of the same year.
In short, water is a resource essential for the life of the people to the point of being called 'water for life'. Handing over water in a sound condition to future generations is our responsibility and liability. Consequently, in response to climate change, we think Korea should improve its water-related legislation to the direction of elevating integrated water resources management to a higher level.