Improving Transboundary River Basin Management by Integrating Environmental Flow Considerations
Freshwater ecosystems provide a wealth of services to humans including food and fiber, water purification, fish and wildlife habitat, tourism and recreational opportunities, shipping routes, employment, and opportunities for cultural and spiritual renewal. To provide this range of services freshwater systems depend on the cycling of water and on functioning ecological processes and species assemblages. Water management has traditionally focused on meeting the needs and desires of a growing and changing human population without due consideration to the needs and limits of our freshwater systems. It is suggested that the first priority in any freshwater allocation scheme should be to make an “ecosystem support allocation. The ESWM framework understands the flow necessary to sustain or restore the integrity of a river, assesses human influence on water flow, and identifies areas of incompatibility between people and nature to provide a foundation for next steps.
Keywordsfreshwater ecosystems hydrologic cycle environmental flows water allocation sustainability environmentally sustainable water management
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