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Securing Water for Ecosystems and Human Well-being: The Importance of Environmental Flows

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Forslund, Anna; Renöfält, Birgitta Malm; Barchiesi, Stefano; Cross, Katharine; Davidson, Sarah; Farrell, Tracy; Korsgaard, Louise; Krchnak, Karin; McClain, Michael; Meijer, Karen; Smith, Mark
Conference: World Water Week
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Conf. Date: August 16-22
Date: 2009
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/5141
Sector: Social Organization
Water Resource & Irrigation
Subject(s): ecosystems
water management
human behavior
Abstract: "This report highlights the service role played by healthy ecosystems in helping water managers meet their goal of maximising the economic and social welfare of all water users in an equitable manner. Healthy ecosystems simultaneously serve multiple aspects of human well-being, especially among poor communities living close to the land-water interface. Ecosystem services have real economic value today and special importance in mitigating future problems and economic losses related to climate change. To preserve and benefit from these services, the water manager must ensure that an environmental flow regime is maintained in rivers and wetlands. Environmental flows describe the quantity, quality and timing of water flows required to sustain freshwater and estuarine ecosystems and the human livelihoods and well-being that depend on them (Brisbane Declaration 2007). Our goal is to illuminate the role of environmental flows to simultaneously improve human well-being and sustain vital ecosystems. We hope that the reader will come to understand environmental flows as essential to meeting the water management challenges we face today and into the future, including adaptation to climate change."

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