The conventional approach to river protection has focused on water quality and maintaining some ""minimum"" flow that was thought necessary to ensure the viability of a river. In recent years, however, scientific research has underscored the idea that the ecological health of a river system depends not on a minimum amount of water at any one time but on the naturally variable quantity and timing of flows throughout the year. In Rivers for Life, leading water experts Sandra Postel and Brian Richter explain why restoring and preserving more natural river flows are key to sustaining freshwater biodiversity and healthy river systems, and describe innovative policies, scientific approaches, and management reforms for achieving those goals. Sandra Postel and Brian Richter: explain the value of healthy rivers to human and ecosystem health; describe the ecological processes that support river ecosystems and how they have been disrupted by dams, diversions, and other alterations; consider the scientific basis for determining how much water a river needs; examine new management paradigms focused on restoring flow patterns and sustaining ecological health; assess the policy options available for managing rivers and other freshwater systems; explore building blocks for better river governance Sandra Postel and Brian Richter offer case studies of river management from the United States (the San Pedro, Green, and Missouri), Australia (the Brisbane), and South Africa (the Sabie), along with numerous examples of new and innovative policy approaches that are being implemented in those and other countries. Rivers for Life presents a global perspective on the challenges of managing water for people and nature, with a concise yet comprehensive overview of the relevant science, policy, and management issues. It presents exciting and inspirational information for anyone concerned with water policy, planning and management, river conservation, freshwater biodiversity, or related topics.
This book is a must read for water managers and freshwater and estuarine ecologists contending with ever-changing conditions influencing the flow of water. Angela Arthington is based at Griffith University, Queensland.
This study provides a hydrology based assessment of (surface) water resources and its continuum of variability and change at different spatio-temporal scales in the semi‐arid Karkheh Basin, Iran, where water is scarce, competition among users is high and massive water resources development is under way. The study reveals that the ongoing allocation planning is not sustainable and essentially requires reformulation, with consideration of spatio‐temporal variability and observed trends in the streamflows regarding flood intensification and decline in low flows. The development of innovative methods for quantification of the hydrological fluxes (i.e., regionalization of model parameters based on similarity of the flow duration curve and the use of areal precipitation input in the hydrological modeling) helped better understanding and modeling the basin hydrology. The investigation of scenarios for upgrading rain-fed areas to irrigated agriculture, using SWAT, recommends the promotion of in-situ soil and water conservation techniques. Conversion of rain-fed areas to irrigation causes significant reduction in the downstream flows, and requires additional considerations such as less development in the upper catchments, practicing supplementary irrigation and developing water storage. The knowledge generated is instructive for hydrological assessment and its use in water resources planning and management in the river basin context.
Water for the Environment: From Policy and Science to Implementation and Management provides a holistic view of environmental water management, offering clear links across disciplines that allow water managers to face mounting challenges. The book highlights current challenges and potential solutions, helping define the future direction for environmental water management. In addition, it includes a significant review of current literature and state of knowledge, providing a one-stop resource for environmental water managers. Presents a multidisciplinary approach that allows water managers to make connections across related disciplines, such as hydrology, ecology, law, and economics Links science to practice for environmental flow researchers and those that implement and manage environmental water on a daily basis Includes case studies to demonstrate key points and address implementation issues
Across the United States, municipalities, counties, and states grapple with issues of ensuring adequate amounts of water in times of high demand and low supply. Instream flow programs aim to balance ecosystem requirements and human uses of water, and try to determine how much water should be in rivers. With its range of river and ecosystem conditions, growing population, and high demands on water, Texas is representative of instream flow challenges across the United States, and its instream flow program may be a model for other jurisdictions. Three state agenciesâ€"the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB), the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ)â€"asked a committee of the National Research Council (NRC) to review the Programmatic Work Plan (PWP) and Technical Overview Document (TOD) that outline the state’s instream flow initiative. The committee suggested several changes to the proposed plan, such as establishing clearer goals, modifying the flow chart that outlines the necessary steps for conducting an instream flow study, and provide better linkages between individual studies of biology, hydrology and hydraulics, physical processes, and water quality.
It is zero hour for a new US water policy! At a time when many countries are adopting new national approaches to water management, the United States still has no cohesive federal policy, and water-related authorities are dispersed across more than 30 agencies. Here, at last, is a vision for what we as a nation need to do to manage our most vital resource. In this book, leading thinkers at world-class water research institution the Pacific Institute present clear and readable analysis and recommendations for a new federal water policy to confront our national and global challenges at a critical time. What exactly is at stake? In the 21st century, pressures on water resources in the United States are growing and conflicts among water users are worsening. Communities continue to struggle to meet water quality standards and to ensure that safe drinking water is available for all. And new challenges are arising as climate change and extreme events worsen, new water quality threats materialize, and financial constraints grow. Yet the United States has not stepped up with adequate leadership to address these problems. The inability of national policymakers to safeguard our water makes the United States increasingly vulnerable to serious disruptions of something most of us take for granted: affordable, reliable, and safe water. This book provides an independent assessment of water issues and water management in the United States, addressing emerging and persistent water challenges from the perspectives of science, public policy, environmental justice, economics, and law. With fascinating case studies and first-person accounts of what helps and hinders good water management, this is a clear-eyed look at what we need for a 21st century U.S. water policy.
Water scarcity is spreading and intensifying in many regions of the world, with dire consequences for local communities, economies, and freshwater ecosystems. Current approaches tend to rely on policies crafted at the state or national level, which on their own have proved insufficient to arrest water scarcity. To be durable and effective, water plans must be informed by the culture, economics, and varied needs of affected community members. International water expert Brian Richter argues that sustainable water sharing in the twenty-first century can only happen through open, democratic dialogue and local collective action. In Chasing Water, Richter tells a cohesive and complete story of water scarcity: where it is happening, what is causing it, and how it can be addressed. Through his engaging and nontechnical style, he strips away the complexities of water management to its bare essentials, providing information and practical examples that will empower community leaders, activists, and students to develop successful and long-lasting water programs. Chasing Water will provide local stakeholders with the tools and knowledge they need to take an active role in the watershed-based planning and implementation that are essential for water supplies to remain sustainable in perpetuity.
Law's ideas of nature appear in different doctrinal and institutional settings, historical periods, and political dialogues. Nature underlies every behavior, contract, or form of wealth, and in this broad sense influences every instance of market transaction or governmental intervention. Recognizing that law has embedded discrete constructions of nature helps in understanding how humans value their relationship with nature. This book offers a scholarly examination of the manner in which nature is constructed through law, both in the 'hard' sense of directly regulating human activities that impact nature, and in the 'soft' manner in which law's ideas of nature influence and are influenced by behaviors, values, and priorities. Traditional accounts of the intersection between law and nature generally focus on environmental laws that protect wilderness. This book will build on the constructivist observation that when considered as a culturally contingent concept, 'nature' is a self-perpetuating and self-reinforcing social creation.
Filling a long-standing need for a desk reference that synthesizes current research, Land Use Effects on Streamflow and Water Quality in the Northeastern United States reviews and discusses the impact of forest management, agriculture, and urbanization. The book provides a gateway to the diverse scientific literature that is urgently needed to understand and solve ubiquitous watershed management problems. The authors use an in-depth approach that focuses on the science behind sound management principles and practices. The book begins with a summary of the scientific principles and processes that define and govern the interactions between activities on land and conditions in streams, lakes, and estuaries. Building on these principles, later chapters progress from basic science to small-scale, controlled field experiments to landscape-scale studies and their watershed management implications. This nested format parallels the development of watershed management projects and solutions. The deliberate integration of land use history, ecology, hydrology, chemistry, and resource management avoids the artificial separation of inter-related watershed characteristics and tracks causes and effects over realistic time scales. The authors present the hydrologic and water quality principles on which to construct management plans for water supply watersheds across a wide range of sizes, configurations, and time scales. Rigorously reviewed by a distinguished panel of scientists and watershed managers, the book benefits from their collective experience across the full range of watershed science and management. It provides a diverse audience with the opportunity to update and expand their knowledge in critical areas of watershed science and management.
China is home to half of the world's large dams and adds dozens more each year. The benefits are considerable: dams deliver hydropower, provide reliable irrigation water, protect people and farmland against flooding, and produce hydroelectricity in a nation with a seeimingly insatiable appetite for energy. As hydropower responds to a larger share of energy demand, dams may also help to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, welcome news in a country where air and water pollution have become dire and greenhouse gas emissions are the highest in the world. Yet the advantages of dams come at a high cost for river ecosystems and for the social and economic well-being of local people, who face displacement and farmland loss. This book examines the array of water-management decisions faced by Chinese leaders and their consequences for local communities. Focusing on the southwestern province of Yunnan—a major hub for hydropower development in China—which encompasses one of the world's most biodiverse temperate ecosystems and one of China's most ethnically and culturally rich regions, Bryan Tilt takes the reader from the halls of decision-making power in Beijing to Yunnan's rural villages. In the process, he examines the contrasting values of government agencies, hydropower corporations, NGOs, and local communities and explores how these values are linked to longstanding cultural norms about what is right, proper, and just. He also considers the various strategies these groups use to influence water-resource policy, including advocacy, petitioning, and public protest. Drawing on a decade of research, he offers his insights on whether the world's most populous nation will adopt greater transparency, increased scientific collaboration, and broader public participation as it continues to grow economically.
With chapters on food, water, energy, the politics of consumption and redefining the good life, Worldwatch’s award-winning research team asks whether a less-consumptive society is possible—and then argues that it is essential.
River restoration projects are designed to recreate functional characteristics within a context of physical stability. They tend to focus on the development and application of geomorphic principles for river restoration design. Due to different models obtaining different results on the same problem, incomplete or absent data, and climatic/social/cultural changes, the designers and managers of such projects frequently face high levels of uncertainty. This book will provide a systematic overview of the issues involved in minimizing and coping with uncertainty in river restoration projects. A series of thematic sections will be used to define the various sources of uncertainty in restoration projects and how these show at different points in the life cycle (design, construction and post-construction phases) of restoration projects. The structure of the book will offer a rational theoretical analysis of the problem while providing practical guidance in managing the different sources of uncertainty. A wide range of case studies will be included from Europe, North America and Australasia
State of the World 2006 provides a special focus on China and India and their impact on the world as major consumers of resources and polluters of local and global ecosystems. The report explains the critical need for both countries to "leapfrog" the technologies, policies, and even the cultures that now prevail in many western countries for the sake of global sustainability—and reports on some of the strategies that China and India are starting to implement. Besides the focus on China and India, State of the World 2006 looks at actions corporations can take to be more socially responsible; examines the potential socioeconomic, health, and environmental implications of nanoscale technologies; assesses the impacts of large-scale development of biofuels on agriculture and the environment; describes mercury sources, industrial uses, and health hazards worldwide; and provides an overview of the need to safeguard freshwater ecosystems, with examples of proven approaches in cities, villages, and farming regions around the world.
Since 1909, the waters along the Canada-US border have been governed in accordance with the Boundary Water Treaty, but much has changed in the last 100 years. This engaging volume brings together experts from both sides of the border to examine the changing relationship between Canada and the US with respect to shared waters, as well as the implications of these changes for geopolitics and the environment. Water without Borders? is a timely publication given the increased attention to shared water issues, and particularly because 2013 is the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation. Water without Borders? is designed to help readers develop a balanced understanding of the most pressing shared water issues between Canada and the United States. The contributors explore possible frictions between governance institutions and contemporary management issues, illustrated through analyses of five specific transboundary water “flashpoints.” The volume offers both a historical survey of transboundary governance mechanisms and a forward-looking assessment of new models of governance that will allow us to manage water wisely in the future.
First appearing on early Spanish maps as the Río Escondido, or hidden river, and later named Río de las Nueces after the abundant pecan trees along its banks, the Nueces today is a stream of seeming contradictions: a river that runs above and below ground; a geographic reminder of a history both noble and egregious; and a spring-fed stream transformed into a salty, steep-sided channel. From its fresh, clear headwaters on the Edwards Plateau, Margie Crisp and William B. Montgomery follow the river through the mesquite and prickly pear of the South Texas Plains, to the river’s end in Nueces and Corpus Christi Bays on the Gulf of Mexico. With vivid prose and paintings, they record their travels as they explore the length of the river on foot, kayak, and fishing boat, ultimately weaving a vivid portrait of today’s Nueces. Capturing the river’s subtle beauty, abundant wildlife, diverse culture, and unique history of exploration, conflict, and settlement, they reveal the untold story of this enigmatic river with passion, humor, and reverence. To learn more about The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, sponsors of this book's series, please click here.
An analysis of the relationship between water management, environmental conditions and public policy.

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