home > FAQ


Frequently Asked Questions

What does 3R mean?
3R stands for Recharge, Retention and Reuse - the main elements in managing the water buffer.

Why is 3R important for climate variability and climate change?
With climate change it is expected that there will be more lows and highs in water availability. Also the rainy season is vital as in parts of the world the rainy season is expected to become more erratic. All this requires a better management of the water buffer in the systems.

What is the link between 3R and IWRM?
3R complements IWRM and shares its integrated perspective. 3R adds an operational dimension and includes a large number of instruments and financing mechanisms.

Is 3R mainly for arid areas?
3R is for arid areas as well as high rainfall areas. In humid areas buffer management is equally important and some of the instruments between arid and humid areas are the same.

Is 3R for secure drinking water supplies or for food security or for both?
For both and for many other functions served by a well-managed water buffer. For this reason 3R should be part and parcel of regional planning, urban planning and all land use management.

Can 3R be described as the up-scaling of small scale solutions, such as sand dams and rooftop water harvesting?
3R is that but also much more than that. 3R also includes buffer management at scale. Examples are conjunctive use in large scale irrigation or flood compartimentalization by road design etc etc. The important thing is to work at scale and improve buffer functions through a range of simple measures.

What does extending the chain of uses mean?
In water management we sometimes focus on allocating water between different uses. In 3R we think that water scarcity can also be addressed by extending the recirculation of water through storage and retention – including the management of water quality.

How to get started in an area?
Ideally one works on the basin of a sub-basin and makes a scan of the 3R situation and local priorities. The different improvements in buffer management are then identified and implemented.

Who pays for 3R?
There will be, as in many large scale operations, a mix of funding sources. Several 3R activities however can pay for themselves, as with 3R.

Who is behind the 3R initiative?
3R is started by a core group of organizations working in groundwater and local water storage. We welcome however all organizations to join the initiative and introduce better buffer management and profess the philosophy of an open network.