The what, why and how of environmental flows: Presentations made during an IUCN training programme in Kathmandu, 2011

Bagmati river at Kathmandu, NepalBagmati River at Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu, Nepal (Photo: IUCN\Stefano Barchiesi)

The objectives of the workshop are as follows:

  • Understand the links between river flow regimes and economic, social and ecological impacts
  • Introduce methods for flow assessment and options for modifying flows
  • Review requirements for enabling implementation of environmental flows
  • Synthesis of components into practical designs for application of environmental flows
  • Strengthen the regional network (Asian eFlowNet)

The workshop schedule, presentations, and additional reading material are available here.

The following presentations were made during this workshop:

Principles of Eflows: An introduction by Eloise Kendy, The Nature Conservancy

This presentation provides an excellent primer to the basics of flows - their nature, the systems dependent on flows, the ways in which these are modified, the effect of such modification, the relationship between groundwater withdrawal and surface flows, and the global vulnerability of freshwater species. The importance of an environmental flow regime, as against the provision of minimum flow is explained and illustrated through a superimposition of the annual flow regime, and seasonal changes in an ecosystem. The importance of floods is also explained, as is the mechanism of basin planning.

Selecting appropriate methods and tools for developing environmental flow recommendations by Eloise Kendy, Jeff Opperman, Colin Apse, The Nature Conservancy

The various environmental flow assessment methods available are considered under the following sections:

  • Broad categories of methods
  • evolution of approaches
  • overview of holistic approaches
  • environmental flow components
  • framework for method selection

The characteristics of flow that need to be conveyed while describing a flow regime, the hierarchy of flow assessment and examples of flow regimes calculated using various modes are described.

Designing and operating a large dam cascade on Yangtze river for multiple benefits by Qiaoyu Guo, David Harrison, and Tong Lu (Presented by Eloise Kendy)

The presentation begins with an overview of the impact of dam control on the natural flow regime and the effect that this has on the ecosystem. Alternatives to the current management system such as to fulfil the three main goals of hydro-power generation, flood management, and an environmentally sound flow regime are discussed along with their economic implications.

Engaging and communicating with stakeholders for river health and environmental flow assessment: Case studies from Australia and China (Parts 1 and 2)

The international water centre's goals and work are initially described. Two case studies are then taken up:

  • South East Queensland, Australia
  • Pearl River, Liao River, Yellow River, PR China

The Australian case study describes the work done by the Healthy Waterways Partnership to increase awareness and information among citizens regarding the state of their rivers. The concept of a score card as a means of engaging with the public is described. This is followed by an overview of the Australia-China Environment Development Partnership: River Health and Environmental Flows in China.

Classifications of the rivers Gui and Liao are explained along with the chosen river health indicators.

Environmental Flows and its assessment for upper stretch of river Ganga: A WWF initiative by Nitin Kaushal

WWF India, as part of it's Living Ganga programme, had initiated an assessment of the environmental flow requirements for the upper stretch of the Ganga (from source to Kanpur) using the building block methodology. This presentation covers the following aspects

  • Introduction to WWF India
  • Living Ganga Programme
  • Environmental flows and their assessment
  • Future activities and trajectory
  • Status of environmental flows in India

International experiences with environmental flows by Stefano Barchiesi, IUCN Global Water Programme

As the title suggests, the presentation takes a look at the global experience (with a focus on the Asia-Pacific region) with environmental flows through the following four categories:

  • Policy reviews
  • Internal learning
  • New implementation frameworks
  • Past projects

It explains the importance of networks like eFlowNet to empower community based management of rivers.

Download the presentations below: