Opinion Paper


, Volume 565, Issue 1, pp 277-288

First online:

Advancing Science for Water Resources Management

  • G. E. PettsAffiliated withSchool of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham Email author 
  • , J. NestlerAffiliated withUS Army Engineer Research and Development Centre
  • , R. KennedyAffiliated withUS Army Engineer Research and Development Centre, European Research Office

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Despite the major advances in science to underpin water resources and river management that have taken place over the past two decades, a need remains to establish a unifying framework that will lead to new, appropriate tools for water resources management. In Europe, this need has been highlighted by the promotion of the Water Framework Directive. From a scientific perspective, key questions focus on the ecological significance of flow variability over a range of timescales and the linkage between flow variability, habitat variability and biological population responses, and the biological interactions among these populations. Creation of scientifically sound tools requires development of knowledge at the level of first principles to realize sustainable developments within the context of adaptive management. Similitude analyses provide a mechanism for upscaling from fine ‘research’ scales to the coarser scales of water resource managers. Lack of appropriate data is the major obstacle to the development of these tools, especially those concerned with large rivers.


flow variability integrated physical-biological models long-term datasets science-based management water resources