The Wetland Book pp 1869-1874 | Cite as

Environmental Flows and Integrated Water Resources Management

  • Ian Overton
Reference work entry


Water resources in many of the world's river basins are highly modified and over-allocated. The resulting decline in ecosystem services impacts on human well-being. Since the 1990s, the legitimacy of environmental requirements alongside economic and social needs for water has been a part of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). The environmental flows concept supports determining the required flow regimes but technical complexity, lack of ecohydrological data, institutional challenges and poor understanding of ecosystem services have restricted the implementation of environmental flows as a core component of IWRM. Integrating environmental flows into IWRM requires a participatory process with major stakeholders developing a shared vision on the interdependencies of water, food, and energy, resulting in flows for multiple benefits. Research should focus on simplified recommendations for integrated basin flow assessment, on operational rules that optimise multiple outcomes, and on uncertainties such as climate change and economic growth.


Environmental flows Integrated water resources management Stakeholder participation Ecosystem services Integrated river basin management ecohydrology 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Land and Water FlagshipCSIROGlen OsmondAustralia

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