Advertisement

The Gap Between Best Practice and Actual Practice in the Allocation of Environmental Flows in Integrated Water Resources Management

  • Michael E. McClain
  • Elizabeth P. Anderson

Abstract

A major component of environmental sustainability in water resource development is the explicit allocation of water to meet ecosystem needs. This environmental water allocation is commonly referred to as an environmental flow, which is the main subject of this chapter. A shift towards more consideration of water needs of ecosystems/environment in Central and South America has been more irregular, with some countries increasingly articulating and prioritizing these needs (e.g., Costa Rica and Colombia) and others not. The situation is similar in Africa, where ambitious new water policies with substantial attention to environmental protection have appeared in Eastern and Southern Africa (McClain et al., Int J Water Resour Dev 29(4):650–665, 2013) and Asia, where China stands out as a globally important country undergoing rapid change in its outlook towards environmental flows (Wang et al., Ecol Appl 21:163–174, 2009). In this chapter, we explore the status of environmental flow science and practice around the world, focusing on the gap that exists between environmental flow levels suggested by aquatic scientists and those actually protected in water regulations. With a wealth of science and different technologies to make use of, some of the most difficult challenges in applying best environmental flow practices lie in the governance processes and equitable allocation among water users and the environment. This brings us back to the promise of IWRM itself as a process to facilitate integration of these factors in a highly participatory fashion. In this chapter, we have endeavored to summarize the promise and highlight the current challenges of environmental flow assessment and implementation to enable the protection of ecosystems in the process of IWRM.

Keywords

Environmental flows IWRM biodiversity Freshwater ecosystems Ecosystem services 

References

  1. Abbasov R, Smakhtin V (2009) Introducing environmental thresholds into water withdrawal management of mountain streams in the Kura River basin, Azerbaijan. Hydrol Sci J 54(6):1068–1078CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allan JD, Abell R, Hogan Z, Revenga C, Taylor BW, Welcomme RL, Winemiller K (2005) Overfishing of inland waters. Bioscience 55:1041–1051CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anderson EP, Pringle CM, Freeman MC (2006a) Ecological consequences of hydropower development in Central America: impacts of small dams and water diversion on neotropical stream fish assemblages. River Res Appl 22:397–411CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Anderson KE, Paul AJ, McCauley E, Jackson LJ, Post JR, Nisbet RM (2006b) Instream flow needs in streams and rivers: the importance of understanding ecological dynamics. Front Ecol Environ 4:309–318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ardizzon G, Cavazzini G, Pavesi G (2014) A new generation of small hydro and pumped-hydro power plants: advances and future challenges. Renew Sust Energ Rev 31:746–761CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Arnold JG, Srinivasan R, Muttiah RS, Williams JR (1998) Large area hydrologic modeling and assessment part I: model development1. J Am Water Resour Assoc 34(1):73–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bovee KD (1986) Development and evaluation of habitat suitability criteria for use in the instream flow incremental methodology. National Ecology Center, Division of Wildlife and Contaminant Research, Fish and Wildlife Service, US Department of the InteriorGoogle Scholar
  8. Brauman KA, Daily GC, Duarte TK, Mooney HA (2007) The nature and value of ecosystem services: an overview highlighting hydrologic services. Annu Rev Environ Resour 32:67–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brisbane Declaration (2007) The Brisbane Declaration: environmental flows are essential for freshwater ecosystem health and human well‐being. In: 10th international river symposium, 3–6 September 2007, Brisbane. http://www.conservationgateway.org/ConservationPractices/Freshwater/EnvironmentalFlows/MethodsandTools/ELOHA/Pages/Brisbane-Declaration.aspx
  10. Chandler CF (1873) Report upon the sanitary chemistry of waters, and suggestions with regard to the selection of the water supply of towns and cities. Am Public Health Assoc Public Health 1:533–563Google Scholar
  11. Davies PM, Naiman RJ, Warfe DM, Pettit NE, Arthington AH, Bunn SE (2014) Flow-ecology relationships: closing the loop on effective environmental flows. Mar Freshw Res 65:133–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dessu SB, Melesse AM (2012) Modelling the rainfall–runoff process of the Mara River basin using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool. Hydrol Process 26:4038–4049CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dudgeon D, Arthington AH, Gessner MO, Kawabata Z, Knowler DJ, Lévêque C, Naiman RJ, Prieur-Richard AH, Soto D, Stiassny ML, Sullivan CA (2006) Freshwater biodiversity: importance, threats, status, and conservation challenges. Biol Rev 81:163–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gumbel EJ (1954) Statistical theory of droughts. Proc Am Soc Civ Eng 80:1–19, separate 439Google Scholar
  15. GWP (Global Water Partnership) (2000) Integrated Water Resources Management. GWP TAC Background Paper #4. GWP (Global Water Partnership), Stockholm. http://www.gwpforum.org/gwp/library/TACNO4.PDF
  16. Hightower JE, Harris JE, Raabe JK, Brownell P, Drew CA (2012) A Bayesian spawning habitat suitability model for American Shad in southeastern United States rivers. J Fish Wild Manag 3:184–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hobbs RJ, Arico S, Aronson J, Baron JS, Bridgewater P, Cramer VA, Epstein PR, Ewel JJ, Klink CA, Lugo AE (2006) Novel ecosystems: theoretical and management aspects of the new ecological world order. Glob Ecol Biogeogr 15(1):1–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hobbs RJ, Higgs E, Harris JA (2009) Novel ecosystems: implications for conservation and restoration. Trends Ecol Evol 24(11):599–605CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) (2011) Summary for policymakers. In: Edenhofer O et al (eds) IPCC special report on renewable energy sources and climate change mitigation. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  20. Keating BA, Carberry PS, Bindraban PS, Asseng S, Meinke H, Dixon J (2010) Eco-efficient agriculture: concepts, challenges, and opportunities. Crop Sci 50(Suppl 1):S-109–S-119Google Scholar
  21. King JM, Tharme RE, de Villeers MS (eds) (2000) Environmental flow assessments for rivers: manual for the building block methodology, Water research commission report no.: TT 131/00. Freshwater Research Unit, University of Cape Town, Cape TownGoogle Scholar
  22. King J, Brown C, Sabet H (2003) A scenario-based holistic approach to environmental flow assessments for rivers. River Res Appl 19(5–6):619–639CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Le Quesne T, Kendy E, Weston D (2010) The implementation challenge: taking stock of government policies to protect and restore environmental flows. The Nature Conservancy and WWF, GodalmingGoogle Scholar
  24. Matalas NC (1963) Probability distribution of low flows, Professional paper 434-A. U.S. Geological Survey, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  25. McClain ME, Kashaigili JJ, Ndomba P (2013) Environmental flow assessment as a tool for achieving environmental objectives of African water policy, with examples from East. Int J Water Resour Dev 29(4):650–665CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. McClain ME, Subalusky AL, Anderson EP, Dessu SB, Melesse AM, Ndomba PM, Mtamba JOD, Tamatamah RA, Mligo C (2014) Comparing flow regime, channel hydraulics, and biological communities to infer flow-ecology relationships in the Mara River of Kenya and Tanzania. Hydrol Sci J. doi: 10.1080/02626667.2013.853121 Google Scholar
  27. Milhous RT, Wegner DL, Waddle T (1984) User’s guide to the physical habitat simulation system (PHABSIM). Department of the Interior, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  28. Mims MC, Olden JD (2012) Life history theory predicts fish assemblage response to hydrologic regimes. Ecology 93:35–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Moore M (2004) Perceptions and interpretations of “environmental flows” and implications for future water resource management: a survey study (MSc). Linköping University, LinköpingGoogle Scholar
  30. Moyle PB (2013) Novel aquatic ecosystems: the new reality for streams in California and other Mediterranean climate regions. River Res Appl n/a-n/aGoogle Scholar
  31. Naiman R, Dudgeon D (2011) Global alteration of freshwaters: influences on human and environmental well-being. Ecol Res 26:865–873CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Nilsson C, Reidy CA, Dynesius M, Revenga C (2005) Fragmentation and flow regulation of the world’s large river systems. Science 308:405–408CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Orsborn JF, Allman CH (1976) Instream flow needs, vols I and II. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, Mary, 551 and 657ppGoogle Scholar
  34. Pahl-Wostl C, Arthington A, Bogardi J, Bunn SE, Hoff H, Lebel L, Nikitina E, Palmer M, Poff LN, Richards K, Schlüter M, Schulze R, St-Hilaire A, Tharme R, Tockner K, Tsegai D (2013) Environmental flows and water governance: managing sustainable water uses. Curr Opin Environ Sustain 5(3–4):341–351Google Scholar
  35. Poff NL, Allan JD, Bain MB, Karr JR, Prestegaard KL, Richter BD, Sparks RE, Stromberg JC (1997) The natural flow regime. Bioscience 47(11):769–784CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Poff NL, Richter BD, Arthington AH, Bunn SE, Naiman RJ, Kendy E, Acreman M, Apse C, Bledsoe BP, Freeman MC, Henriksen J, Jacobson RB, Kennen JG, Merritt DM, O’Keeffe JH, Olden JD, Rogers K, Tharme RE, Warner A (2010) The ecological limits of hydrologic alteration (ELOHA): a new framework for developing regional environmental flow standards. Freshw Biol 55(1):147–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Pringle CP (2003) What is hydrologic connectivity and why is it ecologically important? Hydrol Process 17:2685–2689CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. RoC (Republica de Chile), Ministerio de Medio Ambiente (2012) Dicreto 14: Abrueba reglamento para la determinación del caudal ecológico mínimo, 22 May 2012. Available online at http://www.dga.cl/legistlacionynormas/normas/Reglamentos/Reglamento_Caudal_Ecologico.pdf
  39. Ricciardi A, Rasmussen JB (1999) Extinction rates of North American freshwater fauna. Conserv Biol 13:1220–1222CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Richter BD, Baumgartner JV, Powell J, Braun DP (1996) A method for assessing hydrologic alteration within ecosystems. Conserv Biol 10(4):1163–1174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Richter BD, Davis MM, Apse C, Konrad C (2012) A presumptive standard for environmental flow protection. River Res Appl 28(8):1312–1321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Rood SB, Samuelson GM, Braatne JH, Gourley CR, Hughes FM, Mahoney JM (2005) Managing river flows to restore floodplain forests. Front Ecol Environ 3(4):193–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Sala OE, Meyerson LA, Parmesan C (eds) (2008) Biodiversity change and human health. Island Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  44. Santos PVCJ, da Cunha AC (2013) Outorga de recursos hídricos e vazão ambiental no Brasil: perspectivas metodológicas frente ao desenvolvimento do setor hidrelétrico na Amazônia. Rev Bras Recur Hidr 18(3):81–95Google Scholar
  45. Sarmento R (2007) Estado da arte da vazão ecológica no Brasil e no mundo. UNESCO/ANA/CBHSF, UNESCOGoogle Scholar
  46. Stalnaker CB (1990) Minimum flow is a myth. In: Ecology and assessment of warm water streams. Biol Report 90(5):31–33Google Scholar
  47. TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) (2012) Chapter 298 – Environmental flow standards for surface water subchapter C: Sabine and Neches Rivers, and Sabine Lake Bay. Available online at http://www.tceq.texas.gov/assets/public/legal/rules/rules/pdflib/298c.pdf
  48. Tennant DL (1976) Instream flow regimes for fish, wildlife, recreation, and related environmental resources. Fisheries 1(4):6–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Tharme RE (2003) A global perspective on environmental flow assessment: emerging trends in the development and application of environmental flow methodologies for rivers. River Res Appl 19(5–6):397–441CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Tobin KJ, Bennett ME (2009) Using SWAT to model streamflow in two river basins with ground and satellite precipitation data1. J Am Water Res Assoc 45(1):253–271CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Trihey EW, Stalnaker CB (1985) Evolution and application of instream flow methodologies to small hydropower developments: an overview of the issues. ed. Symposium on small hydropower and fisheries, 1985, Bethesda, MD, pp 176–183Google Scholar
  52. UNEP (UN Environment Program) (2012) The UN-Water status report on the application of integrated approaches to water resources management. United Nations, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  53. USACE (US Army Corps of Engineers) (2012) Water in the U.S. American West: 150 Years of Adaptive Strategies. Available at http://www.building-collaboration-for-water.org/
  54. USEPA (US Environmental Protection Agency) (1997) Technical guidance manual for performing wasteload allocations, Book II: Streams and rivers – Part 1: Biochemical oxygen demand/dissolved oxygen and nutrients/eutrophication. EPA DOCUMENT NUMBER: EPA-823-B-97-002Google Scholar
  55. Wang X, Zhang Y, James C (2009) Approaches to providing and managing environmental flows in China. Water Resour Dev 25(2):283–300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Waters A, Post DM (2011) How low can you go? Impacts of a low-flow disturbance on aquatic insect communities. Ecol Appl 21:163–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. WFD (European Water Framework Directive) (2000) Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:32000L0060:EN:NOT
  58. Yates D, Sieber J, Purkey D, Huber-Lee A (2005) WEAP21—a demand-, priority-, and preference-driven water planning model. Water Int 30(4):487–500CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UNESCO-IHE Institute of Water EducationDelftThe Netherlands
  2. 2.School of Environment, Arts and SocietyFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA

Personalised recommendations