Water Resources Management and Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in Cameroon


Cameroon is blessed with abundant water resources. Rapid population increase, unplanned urbanisation, intensive industrial and socio-economic development have led to poor and unsustainable management of these resources. Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) is a promising approach in ensuring sustainable management of Cameroon’s water resources. It entails management of water for various purposes and not for a single purpose which therefore involves different stake holders aiming at achieving sustainable water resources management. This paper seeks to evaluate recent efforts to implement in IWRM in Cameroon by examining the institutional framework for IWRM in Cameroon, conditions for the implementation of IWRM and proposes reforms for improving IWRM in Cameroon. The paper concludes that reforms such as public participation at local council levels, recognition of water as both an economic and a social good, putting IWRM within the larger context of Integrated Natural Resource Management (INRM) and the exploitation of mathematical models within hydrological basins will improve IWRM in Cameroon.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. Abu-Zeid MA (1998) Water and sustainable development: the vision for world water, life and environment. Water Policy 1:9–19

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Aquastat (2005) Rome, food and agriculture organization. Information system on water and agriculture. http://www.fao.org/nr/water/aquastat/countries/cameroon/tables.pdf#tab3. Accessed March 2009

  3. Aquastat (2007) Rome, food and agriculture organization. Information system on water and agriculture. http://www.fao.org/nr/water/aquastat/data/query/index.html. Accessed February 2009

  4. Bhatia R, Falkenmark M (1993) Water resources policies and the urban poor: innovative approaches and policy imperatives. Water Sanitation Currents, UNDP-World Bank Water and Sanitation Program

  5. Carrera-Hernandez JJ (2008) Water resources: sustainable water supply management and basin wide modeling: participatory stakeholder management and decision making for water supply Cameroon, Project. McGill University, Canada

  6. Démo (1987) Deuxièmes recensements généraux de la population et de l’habitat du Cameroun vol 4. Résultats bruts; Tome I: République du Cameroun, 211 pp

  7. Dirksen W (2002) Water management structures in Europe. Irrig Drain 51:199–211

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Djeuda Tchanga HB, Tanawa E, Ngnikam E (2001) L’eau au Cameroun. Tome1: approvisionnement en eau potable. Presses Universitaires de Yaoundé, p 359

  9. DRAC (1998) A study of the rural water supply and sanitation situation in the South West Province. South West Development Authority (SOWEDA)

  10. DSCN (1999) Direction de le statistique et de la comptabilité nationale: annuaire statistique du Cameroun. Direction de la statistique et de la comptabilité Nationale. Ministère de l’économie et de finances. November 1999, 268 pp

  11. Dungumaro EW (2006) Improving water resources management in Tanzania. In: 3rd WaterNet/Warfsa symposium ‘water demand management for sustainable development,’ Dar es Salam, 30–31 Oct 2002

  12. Dungumaro EW, Madulu NF (2003) Public participation in integrated water resources managements: the case of Tanzania. J Phys Chem Earth 28:1009–1014

    Google Scholar 

  13. Fonteh MF (2003) Water for people and the environment: Cameroon water development report. Background paper for African Water Development Report, Addis Ababa, Economic Commission for Africa

  14. Giupponi C, Sgobbi A (2008) Models and decisions support systems for participatory decision making in integrated water resource management. In: Koundouri P (ed) Coping with water deficiency. Springer, Heidelberg, pp 165–186

    Google Scholar 

  15. Gleick PH (1998) Water in crisis: paths to sustainable water use. Ecol Appl 8:571–579

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Gleick PH (1999) The human right to water. Water Policy 1:487–503

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Global Water Partnership Technical Committee (GWP-TAC) (2000) Integrated water resources management, TAC background paper no. 4. Stockholm, Sweden

  18. GWP (Global Water Partnership) (2000) Integrated water resources management. TAC background paper no. 4. GWP, SE-105 25 Stockholm, Sweden

  19. Humberto S-H, Ignacio RM-D, María Teresa A-H, Alfredo G-O (2009) Mathematical modelling for the integrated management of water resources in hydrological basins. Water Resour Manag 23:721–730

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. InfoResorces (2003) Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM): a way to sustainability. InfoResources Focus No. 1/03

  21. Lanini S, Courtosis N, Giraud F, Petit V, Rinaudo JD (2004) Socio-hydrosystem modeling for integrated water-resources management—the Hérault catchment case study, Southern France. Environ Model Softw 19:1011–1019

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Mafany GT, Fantong WY (2006) Groundwater quality in Cameroon and its vulnerability to pollution. Taylor and Francis/Balkema, Rotterdam, pp 47–55

    Google Scholar 

  23. Merrey DJ, Drechsel P, Penning de Vries FWT, Sally H (2005) Integrating “livelihoods” into integrated water resources management: taking the integration paradigm to its logical next step for developing countries. Reg Environ Change 5:197–204

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. MINEE (Ministry of Water and Energy) (2005) Définition du Processus d’Elaboration du Plan d’Action de Gestion Intégrée des Ressources en Eau du Cameroun. Yaoundé, Octobre 2005, 45 pp

  25. MINEF (Ministry of Environment and Forests) (1996) Plan national de la gestion de l’environnement, volume II: analyse des secteurs d’intervention. MINEF, Yaoundé, Cameroon

  26. MINEF (Ministry of Environment and Forests) (2000) Law No 96/12 of 5th August 1996 relating to environmental management in Cameroon. Permanent Secretariat for environment, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Yaoundé, Cameroon

  27. MINMEE (Ministry of Mines Water and Energy) (1997) Alimentation en eau des populations rurales du Cameroun: Synthèse globale et par province des données extraite de progrès, Yaoundé, Juin 1997, 12 pp

  28. MINMEE (Ministry of Mines Water and Energy) (2004) Water for African cities phase II: programme d’appui à la ville de Douala. Ministry of Mines, Water and Energy, Yaoundé, Cameroon

  29. Neba AS (1999) Modern geography of the Republic of Cameroon, 3rd edn. Neba, Bamenda

    Google Scholar 

  30. NIS (National Institute of Statistics) (2001) Cameroon statistical yearbook 2000. Ministry of the Economy and Finance, Yaoundé

  31. Olivry JC (1986) Fleuvres et rivières du Cameroun. Collection monographie hydrology 9. Ed. MESRES-ORSTOM, Paris

  32. OSU (Oregon State University) (2002) Trans-boundary freshwater dispute database: Africa; Internationalriverbasinregister. http://www.transboundarywaters.orst.edu/publications/register/tables/IRB_Africa.html

  33. Serageldin I (1995) Toward sustainable management of water resources. The World Bank, Washington, DC

    Google Scholar 

  34. Sigha-Nkamdjou L, Sighomnou D, Lienou G, Ayissi G, Bedimo JP, Naah E (1998) Variabilité des regimes hydrologiques des cours d’eau de bande méridionale du plateau sud-camerounais. In: Servat E, Hughes D, Fritsch JM, Hulme M (eds) Water resources variability in Africa during the XXth century. Proceedings of the Abidjan’98 conference held at Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. International Association of Hydrological Sciences, Publication no. 252, pp 215–222

  35. Sigha-Nkamdjou L, Sighomnou D, Lienou G (2002) Vers une approche globale de la gestion de la resource comme solution aux crises d’eau des dernières décennies au Cameroun. In: Van-Lanen HA, Demuth S (eds) FRIEND 2002-Regional hydrology: bridging the gap between research and practice. Proceedings of the 4th international FRIEND conference held at Cape Town, South Africa, March 2002. International Association of Hydrological Sciences, Publication no. 274, pp 337–343

  36. UN (1992) Report on the international conference on water and environment. Dublin, Ireland

  37. UN (2002) United Nations human rights document. www.un.org/rights/. Accessed June 2009

  38. UNESCO (2003) Water for people, water for life: the United Nations world water development report (WWDR). UNESCO and Berghahn, New York

    Google Scholar 

  39. UNESCO (2009) Facing the challenges: the United Nations world water report 3. Case studies volume. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), London

  40. UNDP, UNEP, WB, WRI (2000) World resources 2000–2001: people and ecosystems: the fraying of the web of life. World Resource Institute, Washington, DC

    Google Scholar 

  41. WHO/UNICEF (2008) Coverage estimates: improved sanitation, Cameroon. Joint monitoring programme for water supply and sanitation. http://documents.wssinfo.orgdownload?id_document. Accessed March 2009

  42. World Bank (2007) 2007 world development indicators online. World Bank, Washington, DC. http://go.worldbank.org/3JU2HA60D0. Accessed February 2009

  43. World Resources Institute (WRI) (2007) Earth trends: environmental information. WRI, Washington, DC. http://www.earthtrends.wri.org. Accessed February 2009

  44. World Water Council (2002) UN consecrates water as public good, human right. www.worldwatercouncil.org/download/UM_water_public_good.pdf. Accessed June 2009

  45. Yilma E, Donkor SMK (1997) Strategic issues for freshwater management in Africa United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (U.N.E.C.A)

  46. Zhang B, Geiger WF, Kaden S, Kutzner R, Wang Z (2006) Overall effective measures for sustainable water resources management in the coastal areas of Shandong Province, China—case study the Huangshuihe River Catchment of Longkou City. J Ocean Univ China 5(4):339–344

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Zehnder Alexander JB, Yang H, Schertenleib R (2003) Water issues: the need for action at different levels. Aquat Sci 65:1–20

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Andrew Ako Ako.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Ako, A.A., Eyong, G.E.T. & Nkeng, G.E. Water Resources Management and Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in Cameroon. Water Resour Manage 24, 871–888 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11269-009-9476-4

Download citation


  • Water resources management
  • Integrated Water Resources Management
  • Cameroon