As the name says – the Global Environmental Flows Network (eFlowNet) is about Environmental Flows (eFlows), which refer to water provided within a river or wetland to maintain ecosystems and the benefits they provide for people. A useful and simple way of thinking about eFlows is that of ‘ecological water demand’, similar to agricultural or industrial water demands. eFlows is effectively a balance between water resources development and the need to protect freshwater-dependent ecosystems.
The need for a Network originated when considering that, although there is a large amount of information, knowledge and experience behind the eFlows concept, national and international environmental polices rarely take eFlows into account. Only a few countries, such as Australia, South Africa, and the UK have integrated the concept into water management. A number of countries remain completely unexposed to eFlows. The actual implementation of estimated and prescribed eFlows is even more limited. Furthermore, despite the generation of information across the globe, there was no central reference point where people can readily access or share eFlow-related information and knowledge, ranging from terminology, links or contacts to details of scientific eFlows methods, case studies, software or professional literature.