Simply stated, water is life. Some microbial organisms, for example, can exist in the complete absence of oxygen. However, no form of life can exist and function in the absence of water. It is truly the essence of life. Thus, adequate supplies of freshwater of good quality are obviously a critical requirement for human health and well-being, and economic development. Indeed, humans use freshwater for a wide range of purposes, including drinking water, irrigation, power generation, commercial and sports fisheries, recreation and transportation.

Freshwater bodies also offer aesthetic pleasures, and are of cultural or religious significance in some cases. Indeed, life as we know it would not be possible without this irreplaceable, and unfortunately easily degraded natural resource.

Accordingly, the International Institute for Sustainable Water Resources (IISWR) was established to be an active participant in providing practical data and information, experiences, and guidance regarding freshwater issues and the integrity of the aquatic ecosystems that provide this critical resource on a local, national or international scale. Its activities focus on the accurate assessment and integrated management of freshwater resources for sustaining their life-supporting ecosystem services, including their relevant scientific, social, economic and policy aspects.