Water resources have been one of the most important areas of the Bank's lending during the past three decades. Water is an increasingly scarce resource requiring careful economic and environmental management. As the demand for water increases for human, industrial and irrigated agriculture, new challenges call for new approaches to supplying water sources. This paper proposes a new approach to managing water resources built on the lessons of experience. At the core of the approach is the adoption of a comprehensive policy framework and the treatment of water as an economic good, combined with decentralized management and delivery structures, greater reliance on pricing and fuller participation by stakeholders. The paper discusses conditions and challenges in managing water; suggests improving water resources management; and discusses the Bank's role in water resource management. It also describes the Bank policy on dealing with water resources management projects.