Approche écosystémique et mise en œuvre de débits environnementaux dans la gestion intégrée des ressources en eau

Translated title of the contribution: Implementing environmental flows in integrated water resources management and the ecosystem approach

I. C. Overton, D. M. Smith, J. Dalton, S. Barchiesi, M. C. Acreman, Juliet Stromberg, J. M. Kirby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

In many of the world's river basins, the water resources are over-allocated and/or highly modified, access to good quality water is limited or competitive and aquatic ecosystems are degraded. The decline in aquatic ecosystems can impact on human well-being by reducing the ecosystem services provided by healthy rivers, wetlands and floodplains. Basin water resources management requires the determination of water allocation among competing stakeholders including the environment, social needs and economic development. Traditionally, this determination occurred on a volumetric basis to meet basin productivity goals. However, it is difficult to address environmental goals in such a framework, because environmental condition is rarely considered in productivity goals, and short-term variations in river flow may be the most important driver of aquatic ecosystem health. Manipulation of flows to achieve desired outcomes for public supply, food and energy has been implemented for many years. More recently, manipulating flows to achieve ecological outcomes has been proposed. However, the complexity of determining the required flow regimes and the interdependencies between stakeholder outcomes has restricted the implementation of environmental flows as a core component of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). We demonstrate through case studies of the Rhône and Thames river basins in Europe, the Colorado River basin in North America and the Murray-Darling basin in Australia the limitations of traditional environmental flow strategies in integrated water resources management. An alternative ecosystem approach can provide a framework for implementation of environmental flows in basin water resources management, as demonstrated by management of the Pangani River basin in Africa. An ecosystem approach in IWRM leads to management for agreed triple-bottom-line outcomes, rather than productivity or ecological outcomes alone. We recommend that environmental flow management should take on the principles of an ecosystem approach and form an integral part of IWRM.Editor D. KoutsoyiannisCitation Overton, I.C., Smith, D.M., Dalton J., Barchiesi S., Acreman M.C., Stromberg, J.C., and Kirby, J.M., 2014. Implementing environmental flows in integrated water resources management and the ecosystem approach. Hydrological Sciences Journal, 59 (3-4), 860-877.

Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)860-877
Number of pages18
JournalHydrological Sciences Journal
Volume59
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2014

    Fingerprint

Keywords

  • IWRM
  • ecosystem approach
  • environmental flows
  • implementation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology

Cite this

Overton, I. C., Smith, D. M., Dalton, J., Barchiesi, S., Acreman, M. C., Stromberg, J., & Kirby, J. M. (2014). Approche écosystémique et mise en œuvre de débits environnementaux dans la gestion intégrée des ressources en eau. Hydrological Sciences Journal, 59(3-4), 860-877. https://doi.org/10.1080/02626667.2014.897408