Advanced river flow management vital to facing climate challenge

Stockholm, Sweden, 16 August, 2009  – Improved river flow management will be vital to protecting communities from the worst impacts of climate change and to achieving international goals on poverty reduction, according to a new report issued on the eve of World Water Week.

Report - Securing Water for Ecosystems and Human Well-being Photo: Swedish Water House

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

The report was launched at the Swedish Water House booth at World Water Week in Stockholm. The launch followed a seminar on environmental flows for sustainable development, poverty alleviation and biodiversity conservation that IUCN and partners of the Global Environmental Flows Network (eFlowNet) convened in a full afternoon session.

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